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Using Your CMDB as a Foundation for Digital Transformation

Using Your CMDB as a Foundation for Digital Transformation

Enterprises are transforming digitally to improve business processes and drive more ROI. The Enterprisers Project defines digital transformation as “the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers.”

Nearly all (98%) of enterprises have adopted hybrid, multi-cloud cloud infrastructures to deploy new digital systems, accelerating the pace of innovation, enabling new ways of interacting with customers, and increasing business flexibility and agility. Digital systems can also transform vital back-end processes, creating greater operational stability and delivering new efficiencies.

A modern configuration management database (CMDB) can serve as a foundation for digital transformation. It provides valuable data and processes that empower IT and security teams to unlock more value from key processes, including IT asset management, service management, incident and problem management, decision making and planning, and compliance management. By evolving these processes using CMDB insights, enterprise teams can make more informed strategic decisions and bring greater clarity and control to critical operational processes. 

98%: Of enterprises are currently using or plan to use at least two or more cloud infrastructure providers, with 31% choosing to work with four or more vendors, finds Oracle

Next-generation CMDBs provide both agentless and agent-based discovery of all hardware, software, and virtualized assets, whether they are located on-premise, in private clouds, or in public clouds. CMDBs capture configuration items (CIs), easily enabling teams to evaluate which assets have been configured and changed. These tools can also provide integrated dependency mapping, enabling IT teams to see which resources, applications, and software are connected. 

Teams can use CMDBs to plan cloud migrations and modernize applications, identify and mitigate risks, optimize processes, and make constant improvements that improve performance. 

Learn more:

Harnessing Cloud Discovery and Dependency Mapping for Hybrid Infrastructure Management

5 Benefits of Using a CMDB for Digital Transformation

Using a CMDB enables enterprise teams to unlock value across multiple business processes as they transform systems and applications. These gains include:

  • Enhancing IT asset management: Modern CMDBs provide visualizations and data on computer rooms and racks, with power and capacity heat maps; the full IP connectivity and power chain; and all hardware, software, and application dependencies. In addition, they store a living legend of all configurations and changes. All of this information can be used to optimize the placement, power, and cooling of IT resources and the lifecycle management of hardware, software, and virtualized assets. Making improvements can reduce operational costs and the total cost of ownership (TCO) of systems.

    CMDBs, which provide technical data, can also be integrated with IT asset management (ITAM) tools, which offer financial information. Together, these two solutions offer holistic information that can be used to optimize lifecycle processes. ITAM solutions provide licensing data, such as software purchases and usage, agreements, expiration dates, warranties, and more. This information can help focus digital transformation strategies, such as enabling teams to prepare timeframes for migrating applications. For example, IT teams may choose to prioritize migrating applications that are end-of-life or losing service coverage over others that aren’t.

    IT asset management can be challenging, even for global IT leaders. The world’s largest virtualization company faced this problem. The company had a large IT infrastructure, and the number of servers, software solutions, applications, network components, storage devices, and other tools were ever-growing.

    The virtualization company leveraged multiple solutions to manage and track assets, which made it difficult to get a single, accurate picture of all IT devices that were used. The team used manual processes to document inventory, and processes were becoming unmanageable. In addition, information such as the dependencies between resources, applications, and business processes was not being tracked.

    The company looked at multiple solutions to solve its challenges, including centralizing documentation on Microsoft SharePoint or customizing SolarWinds or Racktables. However, none of these options met the virtualization firm’s need to deploy a solution with out-of-the-box functionality at a cost-effective price point. The company selected Device42 to automate device discovery and dependency mapping across its expanding infrastructure.

    “If you are tracking more and more data on your gear or you just want a single pane of glass to view your info from, Device42 is a fantastic option. Not to mention the top-notch support and reasonable pricing,” said a leader from the virtualization company. 

With greater clarity and control over its asset base, the virtualization company will be able to make better informed strategic decisions that help the firm maintain its market position.

Device42 Ranks #1 for IT Asset Management

  • Improving service management: In a recent survey, nearly half (48%) of teams at organizations using IT service management (ITSM) processes said they were “great” or “good,” but 27% said they were “getting there,” and 22% felt there was “still much to improve upon.” CMDBs can help these teams continually evolve processes to create world-class ITSM disciplines.

    Next-generation CMDBs integrate with leading IT service management (ITSM) platforms, such as FreshService, Jira, and ServiceNow. They provide rich information that can be used to focus IT teams’ work, such as planning major changes, configuring new devices, applying patches, reviewing change and configuration histories, and even rolling back changes when needed. In addition, CMDB data can be used to help train new staff, providing them with holistic visibility into all network assets, so they can quickly get up-to-speed on key processes.

By providing IT teams with visibility and up-to-date data on assets, CMDBs help ITSM organizations create a culture of continuous improvement that results in higher service quality.

Learn more:
The Impact of Change Management on Your IT Practice

  • Strengthening incident and problem management: Modern CMDBs prepopulate tickets with critical device information, such as name, owner, configuration and change status, and dependencies. This information is linked to incident tickets, making it easy for help desk technicians to do detective work on issues, including determining which resources and applications are affected, so they can inform stakeholders about issues and projected resolution timeframes. Technicians can use change and configuration information to identify root causes and resolve incidents faster.

    When issues do occur, ITSM teams can quickly diagnose performance issues, such as identifying servers that may have memory or CPU capacity issues, misconfigured services, database performance problems, and more. Being able to drill down to the resources that the application depends on enables teams to allocate resources accurately and solve problems as much as 10x faster, Device42 has found.

    Discover more:
    How to Improve Your IT Incident Management Processes

    How to Improve Incident Management and Minimize Business Risk
  • Enhancing decision making and planning: Integrated CMDB and ITAM data can be used to make a variety of important decisions, such as which devices and applications to retire, extend, upgrade, virtualize, and migrate to the cloud. Many organizations are seeking to consolidate data center footprints or even exit on-premise IT management altogether. Aggregate CMDB data can also point to a need to hire new staff to manage growing infrastructures or train teams on specific technologies.

In addition, CMDB and ITSM data provides insights into which applications should be prioritized for modernization. Many companies experience “burning platforms,” applications that have excessive issues or are nearing end-of-life, when capabilities are still needed.

Many enterprise IT teams are prioritizing application modernization due to performance problems. According to an EvolveWare survey, more than half (51%) already have or anticipate problems, 37% think issues will occur in the near-term, and 14% are experiencing critical issues that need to be fixed now.

Respondents to the EvolveWare survey are focusing most on modernizing only critical applications (55%) and modernizing multiple applications with few or no dependencies (55%). Modernizing critical applications, such as customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and supply chain management (SCM), can transform business processes that cross functions, customers, and geographies. Modernizing applications with few or no dependencies enables IT teams to notch quick wins, while minimizing business risks.

CMDBs can help with both priorities as well as help IT teams gain confidence in their strategies and approaches. With detailed, up-to-date data on applications and dependencies, it’s easier for IT to chart the right course, as well as update approaches to reflect new business priorities.

Leaders at a large multinational vacation rental company wanted to migrate to AWS to create a more responsive, modern IT infrastructure. The company needed to conduct a thorough assessment of its existing on-premises environment, creating a commercial view that included all devices and dependencies. A comprehensive inventory had never been attempted before, but was required to understand licenses, renewals, end-of-life technologies, and other issues.

The company’s IT partner, Wipro Limited, used Device42 discovery and service mapping to provide the deep and wide visibility it needed to properly assess the current state and design the cloud migration, completing the process 50% faster than expected. “Device42 gave us the data required to determine what could be rehosted, replatformed, rearchitected, or repurchased for AWS,” said Kiran Desai, Senior Vice President and Global Head, Cloud and Infrastructure Services, Wipro Limited.

  • Improving compliance management: IT teams help enterprises maintain compliance with industry standards and corporate, customer, and legal requirements. In the U.S., healthcare organizations are governed by HIPAA, commerce firms by PCI, financial services companies by SOX, and federal government agencies by FedRamp requirements.

    CMDBs provide an up-to-date inventory of all assets, even short-lived cloud-native tools like containers. With a better understanding of the IT environment, data, and reporting processes, IT teams can share data with other functions; report out to key stakeholders; and pass audits, risk assessments, regulatory inspections and more.

    A leading U.S. financial institution had to successfully complete an audit by the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation after executing a merger. The newly combined bank needed to document all assets, their location, connections, and interactions, showing where personally identifiable information (PII), credit card data, and other sensitive data was stored, to pass the audit.

    “From an impact perspective, we had the FDIC findings at the beginning of the year, and we were able to close the audit finding and respond to the FDIC intelligibly [by] using Device42 in roughly 90 days, which is a good look for a rising bank,” said the senior service delivery manager at the bank. The manager estimates that deploying Device42 saved his organization $65K to $400K while significantly improving the accuracy of asset information by automating discovery and reporting.

Implementing CMDBs to Spur Digital Transformation

In a recent blog, we provided a deep dive on how to implement a CMDB solution. It’s a fairly painless process that involves:

  • Selecting the services you want: Decide whether you want a CMDB with asset discovery or discovery and dependency mapping. Consider whether you would like to extend capabilities by adding ITAM and data center infrastructure management (DCIM) solutions.
  • Setting up your CMDB: You’ll download our remote collector, to automate agentless discovery, and our main appliance, to enable agent-based discovery. Next, you’ll decide whether to use or customize our preconfigured CISs and relationships.
  • Connect Device42 to your assets: You’ll then install Device42 instances from all of the public cloud services and virtualization tools that you use, connect your remote collector to a Windows Discovery Service instance, and run your first discovery job. 

Device42 will then auto-discover your assets and dependencies, providing you with valuable data you can use to optimize IT operations.

Do a deeper dive: 

Why and How to Integrate a CMDB with Cloud-Native Tools

A Guide to CMDB Automation

How CMDBs Support Companies’ Future Digital Transformation Goals

As the pace of digital transformation accelerates, CMDBs can help companies set the right priorities, execute cloud migrations, and reduce risks. Gains include:

  • Bringing clarity to network complexity: Companies are using different cloud services across multiple vendors, extending core-to-edge networks, innovating faster, and storing data locally to abide by data privacy and security standards. All of this adds up to greater complexity that makes it impossible to track assets and their status manually. CMDBs can help by continually scanning networks and providing an up-to-date inventory of assets, changes and configurations, and dependencies, even as companies add new devices and applications across different locations.
  • Increasing the pace of cloud migrations: By automating the discovery of assets and dependencies, CMDBs provide vital information that can be used to craft an overall cloud migration strategy and plan for each application. Dependency data can be used to understand the downstream impacts of migrating one application versus another, so that IT teams can create a plan that minimizes user disruption.
  • Managing transient cloud-native tools: Developers are using cloud-native tools to develop digital products and services. Tools may be transient, such as containers, or forgotten, as in the case of shadow or zombie data stores and APIs. CMDBs provide IT teams with a comprehensive way to capture all of these assets, providing intelligence that staffers can use to secure assets during usage and safely decommission them when they’re no longer needed.
  • Preventing business-critical failures: As companies develop digital businesses, they require exceptional device uptime and application performance. CMDBs can support this goal by providing critical information that IT teams can use to monitor, manage, and maintain devices, reducing the risk of failures.

    Drill down:
    How to Reduce Shadow IT Risks with Device42
    Guide to Reducing IT Mean Time to Resolution (MTTR)

Leverage CMDBs to Improve Digital Transformation Results

Over the next several years, companies will focus on accelerating digital transformation to remove common friction points, improve the user and customer experience, and increase agility and resilience. 

Companies can leverage CMDBs to transform infrastructures and applications and strengthen critical business processes. CMDB data and dependency mapping can help IT teams improve IT asset, service, incident and problem, and compliance management, while also strengthening decision making. 

Teams that choose Device42 gain a full-featured solution that provides near-real-time asset discovery and dependency mapping capabilities and scales to support infrastructure growth. They can improve digital transformation results while reducing costs and risks. 

Learn more about Device42

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Rock Johnston
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