Somewhat in response to Ron Palmer's recent CMDB critiques, I want to offer my most recent take on what the fundamental purpose and value proposition is for enterprise configuration management.
Now, before I give you this, you have to accept some premises:
- There is a distinction between enterprise configuration management and element configuration management.
- Dependency management is a fundamental function of enterprise configuration management.
If you accept these two premises (the second is consistent with ITIL; the first is not explicitly recognized by ITIL but is not inconsistent) then the fundamental purpose of enterprise configuration management is clear.
It's not about technology. It's making sure that the right people are talking to each other in IT, especially in the context of Incidents, Problems, and Changes.
How do we make sure the right people are approving the Change? Because we know what is dependent on a given Configuration Item, and who owns it.
How do we make sure the right people are on the 3:45 AM bridgeline to start restoring a service? Because we know that this Configuration Item is dependent on these others, any of which might be causing the interruption.
There are of course any of a number of other valuable and worthy purposes; well managed data is always an asset. But first and foremost, the CMDB is about enabling effective collaboration among the IT service providers.