Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New Year's CMS


New Year’s resolutions typically are about kicking a bad habit, or self-improvement of some sort. Generally this has to do with a personal goal of some type, so why not think about what you can do to improve you work environment in some capacity, after all you spend a good chunk of time in the workplace so why should your improvement journey end there?

Where to start? This is a good question without a simple answer. Everyone will have a different perspective on what might be the best place to start. For me right now since it is the New Year, I have decided to take a closer look at the Configuration Management System (CMS) that I am currently working with.

I know what you are thinking, as of late this is the farthest thing from a “buzz word”. It’s not the “cloud” or “BYOD”. But let’s take things back to fundamentals. It is the start of another calendar year and I am looking to report against last year’s performance. While my data is accurate the way that I need to report against it is not as easy as it could be. I find it time consuming and more laborious than it needs to be. Part of the issue lies in the way that my data is recorded and updated. My current CMS has some limitations, not because of the tool I am using; rather as a result of the way I track the configuration items. As a start I have identified where the gaps are in my maturity model and I can make a list of action items for the improvement cycle.  

The first step will be to “market” the idea to my team. I am going to keep this as simple as possible so that it is clear as to what activities we will (and won’t be undertaking) as well as what benefits we will see and when. At the moment I don’t have a project budget, or resources available to work on this initiative so we need to ensure that the stakeholders I discuss this with understand that the improvement efforts take away work from later activities.

First I have to determine the scope. I have decided to use only business critical services as the start, with underlying infrastructure as it applies. By using services I am looking at this from the “top dowm” from the business perspective.

Second I need to determine where the information comes from. Is the information currently  in spreadsheets or can it be obtained through discovery in a system we already own?

The third step is identifying how these items relate to one another. Where applicable a tool you may own has the ability to relate these items together in your ticketing system

Lastly we will need to ensure that there is a process for loading the information into the CMS as well as keeping it updated. Much like the New Year diet, it is easy to shed a couple of pounds but more difficult to keep it up.

Keeping things as simple as possible by starting small with key items and building on the CMS as you go should ensure success. It is important to note that every organization is different, and the level of which you implement the CMS may differ.  No matter if you have a small implementation or a large one, the end result will allow for better root cause identification, mapping of services and impact analysis to name a few.


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