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Displaying articles for: March 2010

How Long Should a CMDB / CMS Take to Build? Part 3: Process Engineering

This is the third post in the "How Long Should a CMDB/CMS Take to Build" series.


 


Today's tagline: YOU must make the final journey to the right process.  No one else, not even a cherished trusted vendor or analyst, can make it for you.  But they can act as a spiritual advisor.


 


ITIL Process engineering is the second most important part of the deployment, the most difficult to get right except for people and cultural change.  The only reason process engineering is slightly easier than these is because you at least have better measurement tools.


 


And I'm talking about ITIL processes here, for which additional complexities apply.


 


There aren't many vacant lots left in downtown ITIL.  I'm talking about process RE-engineering as well, because almost none of you are building a data center from scratch.  You already have some kind of processes, bethem manual or dysfunctional.  Part of the process-building involves assimilation and demolition of parts of the earlier generation processes.


 


So what do you start with:  Needs, goals, plans, budget, vendors, tools?  Turns out it's not so straightforward.


 


It's a paradox.  You can't easily build your processes without a tool in mind or you will not be able to find a tool that does everything you want.  Don't believe me?  Go ahead, try, you'll spend a ton of money on column fodder and end up picking the vendor that can just fill in the most columns - a disappointing and possibly unwise strategy.


 


However, you don't want your processes to be tool-driven because you will end up locking out the most important KPIs which are fulfilling your use cases exactly. 


 


So, do I pick a vendor first, or define my requirements first?  My answer:  it's an iterative process, there is no prescriptive approach that ensures success - you must have a good IDEA of your processes, then court a few vendors, then get some preliminary input to refine your idea of what config management should be, ask a few more questions, and repeat until you have a good foundation that will fulfill your use cases and is supportable by a solution you can buy and build.


 


The CMDB is a tool, maybe even a platform.  The CMS is a deployed operational solution.  You must still operate it with your own processes and people.  Good luck with ITIL.  You'll need more than that.  But I digress.


 


If you expect your vendor to supply all the processes because the tool won't work without them - you're in trouble.  You must still understand all your processes to the point where YOU are doing the service transitions and operations.  Most  vendors can't and won't care as much about how well your processes work, and at best will deliver incomplete, high-level, or overly-generic  processes, the same cartoon version of IT that ITIL already provides.


 


 As a vendor you have to work really hard to create and deliver a good process layer of best practices around your CMS and CMDB.  And while I've tried hard (that is one of my projects at HP), I cannot fool myself that we have gotten everything right, in fact or in principle.  Experience and the rigorous discipline of journal-keeping,  analysis, and continual improvement are our only lights into the future of process.  Don't let anyone else sell you otherwise.


 


Some final recommendations:



  • Get yourself some wild, angry beekeepers.  They'll keep your you, as well as your vendor, honest, and help you identify the needed, the unneeded, and the just plain stupid.

  • Come to recognize the smell of crap factoids.  Analysts and vendors, like Alpha Geeks, CIOs, bloggers, and help desk technicians, are not immune to hubris. 

  • Not all IT organizations need to "mature" all of their processes to the maximum "maturity".  Avoid unnecessary or self-fulfilling scaffolding, even if it's your vendor's favorite.  Even though ITIL says you should be doing something, you must decide for yourself whether you actually should be doing that thing.  And  it's not always easy to determine.  Read.  Study.  Know not just IT but YOUR IT.  In the vicious world of ITIL, knowledge isn't just power, it's survival.

  • Same thing I tell all the school kids I teach astronomy to: Keep asking questions.

  • Configuration management, like education, is not about filling a bucket, it's about lighting a fire.   Think, motivated, self-policing, continual service improvement.  Incent your people to seek out improvement and they will do so, to your benefit.  Too expensive?  Don't expect much help.

  • If you don't understand something but should, go ahead and ask the question.  But remember the risk.  And think about who you should ask first.


 


I hope this post touches a nerve, or gets through to someone, or even angers someone enough to post a reply.  I'd really like to hear what you think.  Thanks for your time.

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About the Author(s)
  • HP IT Service Management Product Marketing team manager. I am also responsible for our end-to-end Change, Configuration, and Release Management (CCRM) solution. My background is engineering and computer science in the networking and telecom worlds. As they used to say in Telcom, "the network is the business" (hence huge focus on service management). I always enjoyed working with customers and on the business side of things, so here I am in ITSM marketing.
  • David has led a career in Enterprise Software for over 20 years and has brought to market numerous successful IT management products and innovations.
  • I am the PM of UCMDB and CM. I have a lot of background in configuration management, discovery, integrations, and delivery. I have been involved with the products for 12 years in R&D and product management.
  • Gil Tzadikevitch HP Software R&D Service Anywhere
  • This account is for guest bloggers. The blog post will identify the blogger.
  • Jacques Conand is the Director of ITSM Product Line, having responsibility for the product roadmap of several products such as HP Service Manager, HP Asset Manager, HP Universal CMDB, HP Universal Discovery and the new HP Service Anywhere product. Jacques is also chairman of the ITSM Customer Advisory Board, ensuring the close linkage with HP's largest customers.
  • Jody Roberts is a researcher, author, and customer advocate in the Product Foundation Services (PFS) group in HP Software. Jody has worked with the UCMDB product line since 2004, and currently takes care of the top 100 HP Software customers, the CMS Best Practices library, and has hosted a weekly CMDB Practitioner's Forum since 2006.
  • Mary is a member of HP’s ITSM product marketing team and is responsible for HP Service Anywhere. She has 20+ years of product marketing, product management, and channel/alliances experience. Mary joined HP in 2010 from an early-stage SaaS company providing hosted messaging and mobility services. She also has product management experience in the ITSM industry. Mary has a BS in Computer Science and a MBA in Marketing. Follow: @MaryRasmussen_
  • Michael Pott is a Product Marketing Manager for HP ITSM Solutions. Responsibilities include out-bound marketing and sales enablement. Michael joined HP in 1989 and has held various positions in HP Software since 1996. In product marketing and product management Michael worked on different areas of the IT management software market, such as market analysis, sales content development and business planning for a broad range of products such as HP Operations Manager and HP Universal CMDB.
  • Ming is Product Manager for HP ITSM Solutions
  • Nimish Shelat is currently focused on Datacenter Automation and IT Process Automation solutions. Shelat strives to help customers, traditional IT and Cloud based IT, transform to Service Centric model. The scope of these solutions spans across server, database and middleware infrastructure. The solutions are optimized for tasks like provisioning, patching, compliance, remediation and processes like Self-healing Incidence Remediation and Rapid Service Fulfilment, Change Management and Disaster Recovery. Shelat has 21 years of experience in IT, 18 of these have been at HP spanning across networking, printing , storage and enterprise software businesses. Prior to his current role as a World-Wide Product Marketing Manager, Shelat has held positions as Software Sales Specialist, Product Manager, Business Strategist, Project Manager and Programmer Analyst. Shelat has a B.S in Computer Science. He has earned his MBA from University of California, Davis with a focus on Marketing and Finance.
  • Oded is the Chief Functional Architect for the HP Service and Portfolio Management products, which include Service Manager, Service Anywhere, Universal CMDB & Discovery, Asset Manager, Project and Portfolio Manager.
  • Olivier is Product Line Manager for the HP Configuration Management System (CMS) which is comprised of UCMDB, UCMDB Configuration Manager, the UCMDB Browser, and Universal Discovery.
  • I am Senior Product Manager for Service Manager. I have been manning the post for 10 years and working in various technical roles with the product since 1996. I love SM, our ecosystem, and our customers and I am committed to do my best to keep you appraised of what is going on. I will even try to keep you entertained as I do so. Oh and BTW... I not only express my creativity in writing but I am a fairly accomplished oil painter.
  • WW Sr Product Marketing Manager for HP ITPS VP of Apps & HP Load Runner
  • Vesna is the senior product marketing manager at HP Software. She has been with HP for 13 years in R&D, product management and product marketing. At HP she is responsible for go to market and enablement of the HP IT Performance Suite products.
  • A 25+ year veteran of HP, Yvonne is currently a Senior Product Manager of HP ITSM software including HP Service Anywhere and HP Service Manager. Over the years, Yvonne has had factory and field roles in several different HP businesses, including HP Software, HP Enterprise Services, HP Support, and HP Imaging and Printing Group. Yvonne has been masters certified in ITIL for over 10 years and was co-author of the original HP IT Service Management (ITSM) Reference Model and Primers.
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