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The importance of configuration management roles in building your CMDB

The importance of configuration management roles in building your CMDB
2012-07-172013-04-11IT managementen
In my previous blog post, I described some key activities of the configuration management process to provide the expected value add of the CMDB. Nevertheless, without clear and defined roles to control, perform or updates these activities (configuration management activities), it will be...
Published July 17, 2012 by Sebastien Rivory in IT management
the importance of configuration management roles in building your CMDB

In my previous blog post, where to start when building an efficient CMDB/CMS, I described some key activities of the configuration management process to provide the expected value add of the CMDB. Nevertheless, without clear and defined roles to control, perform or updates these activities (configuration management activities), it will be difficult to implement and maintain a successful CMDB/CMS.

So what are these key roles and their main tasks?

 the project manager

 The project manager has a fundamental role in setting up the CMDB, ensuring that the proper activities will be in place for the lifecycle of the configuration management process and the CMDB. He is involved in all the phases of the CMDB implementation:

  • defining CMDB objectives,
  • defining the structure and the data sources
  • defining the target data model
  • defining the processes
  • defining the required organization

To be successful the project manager will have to ensure good communication and to get not only the full support of the IT department but also decision makers in other parts of the business.

the process owner

The process owner is in charge of the definition and subsequent updates of the Configuration Management Plan. This plan should not only be aligned with the global strategy of the IT organization but also any IT plans such as the security ones. This role is a strategic role and not an operational one. He will make sure that the process is always aligned with the IT organization as well as the needs of the business units.

the configuration manager

The configuration manager ensures that the configuration plan is well applied and implemented. He will work in close collaboration with the process owner to provide him with insider’s information. The configuration manager is fully involved in the operations of the CMDB. This role covers the following activities:

  • contributing to the initial upload of data
  • maintaining the data model (attributes, classes..)
  • ensuring data integrity by putting controls in place as defined in the configuration plan
  • generating and analysing reports as defined in the configuration plan
  • detecting issues
  • launching corrective actions where needed (with the support of the process owner in some cases)
  • ensuring training for the team on processes and their respective roles

the configuration item (CI) owner

In most organisations no CI owners have been put in place, meaning that nobody is really in charge of these data, which could lead to a lack of accuray of the data within the CMDB. The configuration item (CI) owner ensures a control (quality) on the configuration item he is responsible for and is responsible for the accuracy of these configuration items.

Any modification to a configuration item should go through the change process, but the update within the CMDB could be either done by the configuration item owner or by a dedicated team (once the modification has been agreed by the configuration item owner). Each configuration item should be assigned an owner; this role is purely operational.

Assigning an owner can be done in different ways depending on organization. Two approaches are usually used: one based on technology (network, servers, applications…) and the other based on geography (country, region…).

Some organizations combine these two approaches while sometimes adding internal organization parameters such as supported business line(s) or user departments. Based on my experience, a key ingredient for success is to split the role of the configuration item owner across multiple people, and not have only one person responsible for the full scope. This will ensure the involvement of the whole support team.

Apart from the roles I’ve described above, do you have other roles in place around configuration management?

5 Comments

  • June 11, 2013
    2013-06-11
    by

    Thank you for these great comments, challenge is to make sure people have time to handle their tasks!

  • June 11, 2013
    2013-06-11
    by

    Thank you for these great comments, challenge is to make sure people have time to handle their tasks!

  • June 11, 2013
    2013-06-11
    by
    Ritika Bajaj
    I think you have defined all the roles very clearly , and are roles hvae importance of their own , Nice post
  • May 14, 2013
    2013-06-11
    by
    ISO Standards Ireland
    Awesome blog about Business. Thanks for sharing.
  • September 29, 2012
    2013-06-11
    by
    John Hawoard
    No, the positions you have mentioned are enough to conduct the managerial activities. The most important thing is the team building activities which will eventually determine how successful a organizational body be. The way you enlisted all the different tasks and roles of every position had made a clear picture of an ideal management. And the two approaches are just appropriate. Most of the organization follow these approaches. Indeed a well analyzed and well thought post. Keep it up Rivory .

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