CMDB: ServiceNow’s foundation for success


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In this new series of Now on Now blogs, we share how we, ourselves, use ServiceNow products to transform our operations and create great experiences. We hope our stories  will inspire you, our customers, and partners, to achieve even greater business value and resiliency from the Now Platform®. For more information, visit the Now on Now Book of Knowledge.


Maintaining healthy IT operations has become a top priority and, thus, a hot topic, especially with the unprecedented stress on systems and businesses.

We view a CMDB as something evolved beyond the original ITIL-led, stand-alone, on-prem system. Modern CMDBs are cloud based and deeply integrated with IT tools. They provide holistic views of IT environments—a single source of truth—to help staff analyze and respond swiftly to incidents and changes, whether manually or automatically, and they are part of a single platform. We have delivered 91% automated change approvals, among other outstanding stats, with the CMDB. 

“Before 2017, when critical outages occurred, we didn’t have the complete visibility needed to quickly identify the source of the problem and its potential impact on business services,” says Joe Corpion, director, of asset configuration management. “We couldn’t then address the root cause. A CMDB was not being used across our applications in the platform. We also had many data issues with configuration items. There were duplicate CIs, in some cases, as many as 250! Also, when we began using our CMDB, its functionality was limited requiring us to make customizations to meet our IT needs. While these customizations did provide the additional functionality, they also made upgrades very challenging for us.” 

There was no centralized data repository. The subsequent data quality issues forced IT to use tribal knowledge in spreadsheets to manage devices. This was further complicated by the lack of governance about who owned what and who was responsible for managing it. 

The ServiceNow CMDB makeover 

“First we streamlined our monitoring environment to include only bringing over actual events through integrations,” says Jason Wang, director of IT workflows and Now Platform. “We then elected key business services as the first candidate in the service mapping effort. As a result, we cut P1s by almost 60% in the last two years.” 

The next step was resetting discovery to address CI data issues and establish that single source of truth. Following that was vulnerability management, which provides accurate correlation between vulnerabilities and infrastructure endpoints. “That alone has significantly improved the speed of which we operate today,” says Joe. 

In  2017, ServiceNow had 48 P1 outages compared to only 20 in 2019. “A pretty good metric,” says Joe. “But our target is to have zero outages.” Among the other metrics he shared were these: 

• 100% accurate view of critical infrastructure availability 

• 71% reduction in time to close vulnerability tickets 

• 91% of changes have an automated approval process 

• 1,250 hours saved per year by automating CMDB audit  

To learn more about ServiceNow’s CMDB strategies, check out these resources:

  • Knowledge 2020 Digital Experience Session: BRE1070 Now on Now: Healthy CMDB governance delivers 91% automated change approvals.

 

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