Configuration Management How To (Part 2)

Following on from our previous article, this week we’ll take a look at Configuration Management baselining and control.

Configuration Baselining

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First up we have the identification or baselining step in our Configuration Management process. This is a baselining process, taking a snapshot of our critical services and their key dependencies so that we know exactly what makes up the service. The purpose of a baseline is to take a measurable part of the service so that it can be added to a CMDB (Configuration Management Database) or CMS (Configuration Management System). As it’s a snapshot of the state of a service at a point in time, it can be used as part of Change Management as if the service has changed there will need to be a valid, authorised RFC against it as well as being a stable reference for future planned works.

So how do you carry out a baselining exercise in real life? My advice? Start with your most critical service. You know the one. The system that if there is even a hint of slowness or performance issues your Service Desk is inundated with calls and the angry mob are off out finding their flaming torches and pitchforks. That’s the one. Start by talking to everyone involved with the service from support teams to the business. If it requires third party support, consider asking your supplier for their guidance for what data should be captured in a CMS for example if you ever need to log a support call with them, what are the top ten things they will ask for?

Don’t try to capture too much data at first – you can always build things up later but if you try to go into too much detail when starting out you might run out of time and money. Also bear in mind, the more detail you capture, the more work it will be to maintain. As a starter for ten, here are some useful CI attributes to capture:

  • Unique Identifier
  • CI type eg server, network device, software package
  • Version Number
  • Support Details
  • Vendor Details
  • Licence Details
  • Purchase Date
  • Owner
  • Location
  • Warranty Details
  • Relationships to other CIs

You also don’t necessarily need an expensive tool – I used to work for a small bank during its UK start up and the IT budget was really tight. We desperately needed a CMS to support Incident and Change Management but didn’t have a tool. I went round to every support team and techie I could find and used a spreadsheet to build up a basic CMDB of our key services then created a business case over the following few months to demonstrate the benefits (I was able to demonstrate tangible reductions in Change failures and Incident resolution times) to secure funding for an ITSM tool that included a CMDB.

Remember any CMDB, no matter how basic, is better than nothing. If you are going down the spreadsheet route then talk to your techies. If discovery tools such as SMS or Alteris are in place then they could be used to help you build a basic CMDB.

Configuration Control

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Configuration Control goes hand in hand with Configuration identification and baselining. Having control in place means that there is appropriate support in place to ensure that when a CI (Configuration Item) is updated, that the CMS is updated so that what you have in the CMS matches exactly what you have in your production environment. Nothing will make your Configuration Management process fail quicker than your CMS having incorrect or out of date information so control is a critical aspect of Configuration Management.

Work closely with Change Management to make sure your processes are aligned; for example you could put a process step in place where a Change can only be closed off as successful when the CMS is updated. Sounds basic I know but you would be amazed at how many times I’ve seen people forget to update documentation following Change activity so if you have it formally built in to the process, nothing can be missed or forgotten about. Also, if you’re not part of the CAB meeting, get yourself invited so you can add subject matter expertise around service relationships and dependencies during impact assessments.

Work with Change Management to consider putting Change freezes in place during key process points such as baselining or audit exercises so you’re not trying to hit a moving target. Believe me, there is nothing more stressful in an audit situation than having a last minute panic about the version information of a CI being up to date following a Release the previous night.

These are our top tips for Configuration baselining and control. What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

 

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Enterprise Service Management Online Training

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Our 2016 ITSM Enterprise Service Management Training Programme will consist of a complimentary mix of live (and recorded) free to view monthly webinars with useful and compelling content to help ITSM Professionals propel the business case for ITSM.

 

Who should attend?

  • Process Owners
  • Process Managers
  • Change Managers
  • Release Managers
  • Configuration Managers
  • Service Desk Managers
  • Incident Managers
  • Problem Managers
  • Service Catalogue Managers
  • Supplier Managers
  • Project Managers
  • Service Delivery Managers
  • Developers
  • Software testers


Why you should attend

  • Cost – The Webinar is FREE.
  • Convenience– You can participate in the webinar from a location of your choosing. No travelling/ travel costs involved.
  • Interaction– You have the opportunity to communicate and ask questions with the presenter and peers.

2016 Webinar Programme

28th January 2016 – Change Management

The process that ensures Changes are applied consistently, safely and with as little adverse business impact as possible. The agenda will include:

  • Introduction to ITIL
  • Introduction to Change Management
  • Practitioner guidance
  • COBIT & process maturity

Click here to register for the recording

25th February 2016 – Release Management

The process that deploys packaged Changes safely into the production environment. The agenda will include:

  • Introduction to Release Management
  • Practitioner guidance
  • Governance
  • Quality Gates

Click here to register for the live session at 2.00pm GMT or to view the recording

31st March 2016 – Configuration Management

Knowing how your services are made up. The agenda will include:

  • Introduction to Configuration Management
  • Practitioner guidance
  • Planning
  • Identification / Baselining
  • Control
  • Status Accounting
  • Verification

The link to register for the live session or recording will be available shortly

28th April 2016 – Knowledge Management

The process of capturing, sharing and using organisational Knowledge effectively. The agenda will include:

  • Introduction to Knowledge Management
  • Practitioner guidance
  • The Dick Whittington model

The link to register for the live session or recording will be available shortly

26th May 2016 – Incident Management

AKA our super heroes on the front line. Incident Management is the process restores normal service as quickly as possible and with as little adverse impact as possible whilst ensuring nothing is lost, ignored or forgotten about. The agenda will include:

  • Introduction to Incident Management
  • Practitioner guidance
  • Major Incidents
  • Overview of the SDI standard

The link to register for the live session or recording will be available shortly

30th June 2016 – Problem Management

Getting to the root cause and preventing recurrence. The agenda will include:

  • Introduction to Problem Management
  • Practitioner guidance
  • Problem solving techniques
  • Proactive Problem Management

The link to register for the live session or recording will be available shortly

21st July 2016 – Service Catalogue Management

Having a clear menu of your live, production business services. The agenda will include:

  • Introduction to Service Catalogue Management
  • The Service Portfolio
  • Practitioner guidance
  • Using the Service Catalogue to drive transition
  • How to make sure your Service Catalogue is effective

The link to register for the live session or recording will be available shortly

29th September 2016 – Service Level Management

The process that ensures we are accountable to the rest of the business in clear, tangible effective way. The agenda will include:

  • Introduction to Service Level Management
  • Practitioner guidance
  • SLAs and OLAs
  • How to run effective service review meetings

The link to register for the live session or recording will be available shortly

27th October 2016 – Supplier Management

The process that looks after 3rd party suppliers, vendors and partners. The agenda will include:

  • Introduction to Supplier Management
  • Practitioner guidance
  • Contract Management
  • Value model
  • SIAM

The link to register for the live session or recording will be available shortly

24th November 2016 – Capacity Management

AKA performance and throughput. The agenda will include:

  • Introduction to Capacity Management
  • Practitioner guidance
  • Link to Demand Management
  • Business Capacity Management
  • Service Capacity Management
  • Component Capacity Management
  • Capacity Plan

The link to register for the live session or recording will be available shortly

15th December 2016 – Availability Management

The name of the game is uptime! The agenda will include:

  • Introduction to Availability Management
  • Practitioner guidance
  • Link to Problem Management
  • Proactive Availability Management

The link to register for the live session or recording will be available shortly

 

Webinar: Change Management – 28th January 2016

Enterprise Service Management events

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The programme enables worldwide ITSM professionals to attend monthly, one hour, webinar sessions to learn about key elements of ITSM from the comfort of their own workspace. Each session is free and the first module will be on Change Management.

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Module 1 – Change Management

Change Management

About This Event

This is the 1st module in the series covering an Introduction to Change Management. This webinar was presented live by Vawns Murphy on 28th January 2016. If you missed the live session or enrolled late… No problem, all sessions are recorded for future playback. Register below to view the recording of this session.

Learning Objectives

1. Goal and objective

2. Types of Change, CAB meetings, and implementation planning

3.  Change Management process; a practitioners guide

Who should attend? 

  • Change Managers
  • Change Analysts
  • Project Managers
  • Service Delivery Managers
Why you should attend
  • Cost – The Webinar is FREE. Convenience – You can participate in the webinar from a location of your choosing.
  • No travelling/ travel costs involved.
  • Interaction – You have the opportunity to communicate and ask questions with the presenter and peers.

REGISTER HERE

 

For details of the full Enterprise Service Management Training Programme, click here.