The Configuration Management System (CMS) – The Service Management Linchpin

Over the years as a practitioner it seems as though I keep repeating myself like a broken record referring to the CMS (Configuration Management System) on the ability to take process “x” to the next level. No matter where in the life cycle it has been I always seem to find myself saying “how does the CMS apply to this”?


Despite the fact that for some I will be preaching to the choir, I feel a sense of obligation to share a few examples on where this integration point can take the delivery of customer service to the next level. Overall the CMS should really tie into all Service management processes, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We can start with a few of the obvious ones:


Incident Management

Both Incident and Problem management should have the ability to pull information from and input info into the CMS. Just think about how detailed information would allow the service desk to improve on its delivery of service. They would have the visibility needed to see what makes the service tick. It would allow the analysts to see the known issues and any workarounds that would be associated to a configuration item. From a service perspective this may allow us to drive down first line resolution.


Change Management

This is probably more obvious but there needs to be solid ways to ensure that whatever configuration items (CI) we already have are updated as part of any change we put into our systems. With a solid link we can ensure that the available information in the CMS is as accurate as we need it to be. In some cases the ability to graphically see the relationships between configuration items which would easily identify any potential risks as the result of any upcoming changes


Knowledge Management

The CMS, which in reality is the base for your knowledge management system, should provide the details that will enable people to make better informed decisions based on quantifiable data.  This requires that your knowledge management policy supports these activities.


So why don’t we do this more often than not

Because it’s hard! As we know all things worth doing may not be easy. Remember that in these relationships while one thing may be the glue that binds it will open new possibilities and challenges along with it. One comment I had heard recently was that with the “Cloud” we won’t need to manage CI’s this way. Not quite, we just need to make sure we manage them in a way that makes sense. We need to make sure that where we can this is not a hard process to manage – simple is best. Automate where possible. Ensure that you choose the proper scope. For example, what business outcomes will we need to support through this process.


Keep in mind that as you make any improvements you may need to review the other processes to ensure we are still on track from an overall improvement perspective.