A CMDB is a foundational tool for managing an enterprise’s IT operations environment. They enable powerful workflows for handling a variety of business processes, such as change management, incident management, and problem management. And because they provide visibility into the interdependencies between the organization’s people, processes, applications, and IT infrastructure, CMDBs are essential for making day-to-day decisions around those processes.
But all that CMDB power relies on accurate asset data. For those sportscar fans, here’s an attempt at a bad analogy. You can think of the CMDB like a Ferrari that needs high quality fuel so it can function at top performance, which, in this case, is the accurate data on the assets across the enterprise environment.
When the CMDB is not accurate, managers can’t lock down systems securely, make change management decisions, or see how service levels are really performing. Ultimately, inaccurate CMDB data negatively impacts the organization’s trust and confidence in the data to make speedy and high-quality business decisions. And that can lead to some negative outcomes. According to Gartner, “99% of organizations using CMDB tooling that do not confront configuration item (CI) data quality gaps will experience visible business disruptions.” (1)
The hurdles to trustworthy CMDB data
So, what are the barriers, today, in obtaining accurate CIs in the CMDB that don’t have any gaps or duplicates? To identify the best approach to solve the issue, it’s important to understand the main hurdles. These include:
- Gathering CI data is largely a manual process
Pulling together asset data sources for the CMDB platform is a tedious, manual effort. According to ESG research, 73% of organizations indicate that spreadsheets remain a key aspect to managing asset inventory and attack surface info.
- It’s complex to reconcile multiple asset data sources
Building a full view of the environment comes from multiple data sources, and once those are aggregated into the CMDB, it requires expertise to consistently maintain identification and reconciliation (IRE) rules to make sense of it all. With so many asset data sources IT teams need to reconcile, the CMDB often has missing and duplicate CIs.
- The effort is time consuming, so asset data is usually outdated
The manual approach takes time to correlate multiple data sources, which means it’s not refreshed or updated that frequently. On average, organizations only conduct IT asset inventory audits every two months. (2) The result is invariably incomplete, inconsistent, and stale data visibility.
Collectively, these issues are taxing business resources, impeding managers from making decisions with confidence, and, ultimately, limiting the CMDB’s opportunity to drive meaningful value for the organization.
How to equip the CMDB with accurate data
So much of the enterprise operations and day-to-day decisions rely on the CMDB, and the further a company progresses down their CMDB journey, the greater the value they can extract from that investment.
Of course, data quality is critical to that experience. If the data isn’t accurate, managers and business leaders won’t trust it and can’t fully leverage the value the CMDB has to offer the organization. Taking proactive steps to avoid data quality issues and keep the asset information up to date and accurate will improve the value of the CMDB platform.
So, how can you achieve this? By integrating an asset management solution that is purpose-built to work with the CMDB platform. Back to our Ferrari analogy, this helps your fully loaded sports car perform at top quality and confidence by integrating the right “fuel” (aka an IT asset management solution) that specializes in building and maintaining an accurate view of the assets across the infrastructure.
For an asset management solution to create an accurate view of the asset environment and work seamlessly with the CMDB platform to deliver a fully integrated experience, it must provide enterprises with the following capabilities:
- Asset reconciliation from multiple data sources
It’s not enough to simply aggregate data sources. The solution should deeply understand how each source labels attributes of the assets to precisely reconcile duplicates and fill in the gaps.
A solution that reconciles multiple asset management sources will remove the burden of manually calculating your inventory and building correlation rules, such as ServiceNow IRE rules, within the existing CMDB platform. This will give you a complete view of the configuration items (CIs) in your CMDB.
- Real-time and automated asset management
Inventory is never static. Simple snapshots of your inventory won’t keep up with the changing details that reflect the environment, so the solution must automate the asset management process and generate real-time asset telemetry that captures the changing asset ecosystem.
This will provide a couple positive outcomes for your business. It’ll relieve the internal teams from manually capturing inventory and managing the reconciliation rules, and, most importantly, it’ll ensure you’re always working from a current and correct view of your environment, so the decisions you make in real-time based on the CMDB data can be made with confidence.
- Seamless integrations with the CMDB and data sources
When integrating a solution with your CMDB to automate and orchestrate the asset management “backbone” function, it’s important that it gives your CMDB users a seamless experience. Like most organizations, you probably have six or more data sources that contribute to identifying all the aspects of your IT infrastructure. And because environments are always evolving, you’ll likely have new asset data sources to add in the future. Your asset management solution should be adept at handling these integrations—both with your inventory sources and your CMDB platform.
Your API-driven asset management platform should provide off-the-shelf integrations with leading CMDB solutions like ServiceNow and natively integrate with a wide breadth of asset databases, including tools that reside across your cloud and on-premises infrastructure. A solution that provides an easy, no code approach for deploying in your environment will deliver rapid value.
Reaping the benefits of integrated asset management
As the enterprise environment has become increasingly complex, IT teams face an exponentially growing challenge of capturing a full view of their assets across their environments—and keeping it up to date. This issue is further compounded in fully leveraging the value of a CMDB solution when there are many hurdles in getting a complete and accurate view of the asset ecosystem.
In reality, with today’s pace of technology innovations and digital transformation, traditional approaches of manually handling and reconciling asset data for the CMDB platform are no longer viable. Just one piece of misinformation can be detrimental to the organization and its operations.
When enterprise IT teams integrate a purpose-built asset management solution with the CMDB platform, they gain a complete and correct view of the asset environment and unlock the full potential of the CMDB to support the company’s IT and business strategies. With this approach, organizations improve their CMDB value with an accurate platform on which they can further expand and mature their use cases.
Integrated asset management also helps stakeholders recoup time and resources by alleviating the need to manually manage and reconcile inventory. And, most importantly, teams will gain a trusted source of truth for the CMDB’s asset data, so the decisions they make can be made with confidence.
About Sevco Security
Sevco provides IT teams with a modern, turnkey approach for managing CIs in their CMDB—one that alleviates the CMDB data quality challenges by automatically aggregating and deduplicating unique inventory reports from multiple data sources to deliver a reliable source of truth of the enterprise-wide asset ecosystem.
1. Gartner. 3 Steps to Improve IT Service View CMDB Data Quality. Refresh April 2022.
2. ESG. Security Hygiene and Posture Management. August 202