IT Configuration Management is a process for establishing and maintaining information around the performance, functional and physical attributes of hardware assets e.g. servers and desktops.
This information is commonly stored in a central database tool, providing support to other processes such as the service desk, refresh, transformation, break fix, billing and patching. This data is updated and maintained in a number of ways and if it becomes inaccurate, the validity of the processes using it becomes reduced.
Understanding if your data is complete and accurate can be very time consuming, as the most effective way is to compare several data sources and understand what the ‘true’ picture is of any particular asset. Using this information correctly will lead to improvements being made in processes that feed and maintain the data; hence having a positive effect on other dependent processes.
A well proven method of optimising Configuration Management is to engage with a supplier who can provide a data reconciliation service coupled with some advisory support. The case study below shows an example of how this can progress.
This customer engagement started with an initial advisory project to evaluate the existing ITAM maturity. The customer is a multi-national banking sector corporation with approximately 10,000 seats. During this engagement, it was found that there would be a large transformation project for the majority of the companies’ IT hardware.
Phase 1 included delivery of a workshop, detailing a Service Design Overview (with descriptions and RACI), identification of the data sources supporting the operational configuration management function and in-depth analysis as to how the transformation will be run, and the effect of it on the current mode of operation. Data quality was clearly an area for improvement to ensure the assets to be supported were known and that the new configuration database could be populated with fit for purpose, accurate information.
Phase 2 the data sources identified in phase 1 (e.g. AD, CMDB, AV & Discovery) were fed into a ‘Data Hub’ where a reconciliation exercise was carried out. The analysis identified where data was incorrect and in which sources the processes needed to change to update existing information and to put in place actions so the data did not deteriorate; support was provided in this area. An advisory group was set up with all involved stakeholders so that the optimisation would be felt across all the operational areas and the buy-in would support the actions. Benefits were realised such as correction of asset status, removal of duplicates and populating missing fields, increasing the overall accuracy of data. On-going full technical and data services were provided for the customer in support of this work. Tangible savings will be realised when maintenance and support contracts are based on more accurate data.
If you have a question regarding any of the points raised, would like more information on ‘Data Hub’ our IT Asset Data Reconciliation Service, a demonstration of the capabilities of the service or to investigate a no risk no fee engagement, please call ITAMS on +44 (0)1582 464740 or email your enquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.