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Set technology and data foundations


  • Put your desired CMDB model in place before you implement new capabilities.
  • Define a clear reference architecture to guard against future technical risks.
  • Define clear standards for instance management based on your desired outcomes.

Start with the CMDB

Once you’ve defined an implementation sequence, it’s time to assess whether the right technology and data management foundations are in place to support your implementation. No matter what the sequence, the most critical foundation is the CMDB. This is true whether you’re using an existing system or the CMDB capabilities in the Now PlatformTM.

When should we focus on the CMDB?

What should not entail comprehensive CMDB population

When you aim to be comprehensive, particularly in the absence of robust discovery tools, your efforts are likely to result in excessive maintenance costs—and fail to deliver clear insight and value. Instead, guide your CMDB population and management by the business outcomes articulated in Stage 1 and the information needed to support the to‑be processes you mapped in Stage 2.

How to populate the CMDB

The boundaries of the CMDB data model (for the purposes of Now Platform support) should be guided by your desired business outcomes and the planned implementation sequence of your required capabilities and to‑be processes. Ask the following questions to define the right CMDB model:

  • What is the (limited) set of relevant configuration items we need to define and track to enable our business outcomes and the processes that support them? Configuration items should be scoped to the asset types (such as servers, storage devices, endpoint devices, and software) and environments (production versus test and development) that are most relevant in enabling a capability and process targeted for implementation.

Examples of configuration item scoping

  • What information about configuration items will provide the greatest practical use?  Configuration item data can reflect:
    • Core asset identifiers
    • Contextual information for ad hoc value and ease of use
    • Controls required for audit purposes
    • Capability information that directly supports decision‑making

    Ideally, you should focus on identifying capability data, with minimally sufficient data for core identifiers, context, and controls.

A checklist for successful CMDB planning

Examples of configuration item scoping
  • Application servers and storage only—to support basic service mapping
  • Full-stack scoping around a specific or critical platform or system—to support change or problem management
  • Assets related to employees (such as office location)—to support HR workflow management
When should we focus on the CMDB?

Correctly timing CMDB modeling and population is critical to sustaining the momentum of your Now Platform implementation. Two quick questions can help guide your timing:

  • Do we need to move quickly and demonstrate early wins? When speed and visibility are more important, implement capabilities that are not dependent on the CMDB to deliver initial value. See Stage 4 for additional information.
  • Do we need to build maturity in our existing capabilities or build maturity to support new capabilities? Focus on the CMDB when you need to improve your existing capabilities.
A checklist for successful CMDB planning

Support your CMDB implementation with a documented configuration management (CM) or service asset and configuration management (SACM) plan. A successful plan should include the following actions:

  • Define a desired CMDB end state based on decision-making use cases, such as evaluating the risk of changes in a production environment. Socialize use cases with stakeholders to ensure they align with your goals and priorities.
  • Charter a configuration control board to define governance roles and responsibilities, and ensure they align with your goals and priorities.
  • Decide what configuration items, associated data, and dependencies you need to fulfill these use cases.
  • Identify and apply consistent naming standards for configuration items.
  • Define policies and procedures for integration with change management, verification and audit, status accounting, interface control, and supplier/subcontractor management.
Examples of configuration item scoping
  • Application servers and storage only—to support basic service mapping
  • Full-stack scoping around a specific or critical platform or system—to support change or problem management
  • Assets related to employees (such as office location)—to support HR workflow management
When should we focus on the CMDB?

Correctly timing CMDB modeling and population is critical to sustaining the momentum of your Now Platform implementation. Two quick questions can help guide your timing:

  • Do we need to move quickly and demonstrate early wins? When speed and visibility are more important, implement capabilities that are not dependent on the CMDB to deliver initial value. See Stage 4 for additional information.
  • Do we need to build maturity in our existing capabilities or build maturity to support new capabilities? Focus on the CMDB when you need to improve your existing capabilities.
A checklist for successful CMDB planning

Support your CMDB implementation with a documented configuration management (CM) or service asset and configuration management (SACM) plan. A successful plan should include the following actions:

  • Define a desired CMDB end state based on decision-making use cases, such as evaluating the risk of changes in a production environment. Socialize use cases with stakeholders to ensure they align with your goals and priorities.
  • Charter a configuration control board to define governance roles and responsibilities, and ensure they align with your goals and priorities.
  • Decide what configuration items, associated data, and dependencies you need to fulfill these use cases.
  • Identify and apply consistent naming standards for configuration items.
  • Define policies and procedures for integration with change management, verification and audit, status accounting, interface control, and supplier/subcontractor management.

Define a clear reference architecture

Support your Now Platform implementation with a reference architecture that defines technology standards and policies that guard against future risk. At a minimum, a clear reference architecture should include:

  • Explicit mapping of ServiceNow capabilities to IT and your business goals
  • Guidelines and standards for partner integration (such as LDAP, REST/SOAP web services, and MID Server)
  • Guidelines and standards for customization and configuration (such as scoped applications and application inheritance)
  • Data models and standards
  • Standards for security controls
  • Standards for performance

An architectural review board (ARB) should oversee the reference architecture development and activation. ServiceNow generally recommends dividing the ARB into two primary membership groups. The first group should be accountable for the responsibilities outlined above, as well as the formation of specific working groups. Ideally, membership should be cross‑functional (including customer representatives, architects, and other technical experts). The second group is the ARB‑Extended team, which is a resource pool of subject matter experts and technical resources that can be formed into specific working groups as needed.

The ARB is organization ensures that you consider a complete range of inputs, and it promotes cross‑functional accountability. It can source working groups from an ARB extended team of subject matter experts and technical resources on an as‑needed basis. Figure 6 outlines a recommended membership structure for an ARB for IT service management.

Looking beyond the ARB – A strategy governance board for ServiceNow

Develop a strategy governance board with IT and business stakeholders that can:

  • Articulate the roadmap for Now Platform utilization, features, and functionality to maximize value and ROI
  • Establish strategies that align key stakeholders across business functions and IT, account for resource and funding plans, and forecast budget requirements
  • Create an organizational change management plan with supporting activities to drive successful transition and adoption
Looking beyond the ARB – A strategy governance board for ServiceNow

Develop a strategy governance board with IT and business stakeholders that can:

  • Articulate the roadmap for Now Platform utilization, features, and functionality to maximize value and ROI
  • Establish strategies that align key stakeholders across business functions and IT, account for resource and funding plans, and forecast budget requirements
  • Create an organizational change management plan with supporting activities to drive successful transition and adoption

Organization

ITSM ARB role/representation

Voting seat

Service management

ITSM ARB chairperson

Yes

Service management

Process architects

Yes

Enterprise architecture

Enterprise architects

Yes

Application / development

Application development

Yes

Customer success

Voice of customer

Yes

Enterprise technology services

Enterprise technology

Yes

Security operations

Security operations

Yes

Extended team / technical advisory committee

Service management

ITIL expert (provisionary member)

No

Service management

IT4IT expert (provisionary member)

No

Figure 6: Recommended membership structure for an ITSM ARB

Looking beyond the ARB – A strategy governance board for ServiceNow

Looking beyond the ARB – A strategy governance board for ServiceNow

Develop a strategy governance board with IT and business stakeholders that can:

  • Articulate the roadmap for Now Platform utilization, features, and functionality to maximize value and ROI
  • Establish strategies that align key stakeholders across business functions and IT, account for resource and funding plans, and forecast budget requirements
  • Create an organizational change management plan with supporting activities to drive successful transition and adoption

 

Looking beyond the ARB – A strategy governance board for ServiceNow

Develop a strategy governance board with IT and business stakeholders that can:

  • Articulate the roadmap for Now Platform utilization, features, and functionality to maximize value and ROI
  • Establish strategies that align key stakeholders across business functions and IT, account for resource and funding plans, and forecast budget requirements
  • Create an organizational change management plan with supporting activities to drive successful transition and adoption

 

Define standards for instance management

Similar to architectural guidelines, support Now Platform implementation by developing and communicating processes for instance management, including:

  • Managing security controls such as  access management
  • Managing performance and operations to include guidance for IT infrastructure and help desk staff
  • Defining and overseeing SLAs and OLAs with business stakeholders

As with the CMDB, guide your investment in the right resources for instance management by an explicit set of objectives (and the value you want to see) for implementation and by the level of oversight and effort required to support those objectives.

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