Home > How CMDB Data Inaccuracies Affect Organizational Processes

How CMDB Data Inaccuracies Affect Organizational Processes

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It seems so obvious – the quality of your ITSM is directly related to the quality of the CMDB data that it depends upon. Yet even with this simple bit of common knowledge, CMDB data inaccuracies still account for serious problems in organizations all over the globe. How do you deliver the highest quality service, drive user engagement and stakeholder satisfaction, and make quality decisions regarding your infrastructure as an organization if the data underpinning your organization isn’t of the highest quality? The answer is simple: you can’t. Problem data, or inaccuracies in the CMDB data model, can have tremendous and costly effects across your organization. Everything from security, governance, organizational efficiency, and your bottom line is potentially at stake. In this post, we will examine a handful of the major problems that CMDB data inaccuracies and incomplete data can cause, and how those problems can impact your ITSM.  

At the Organization Level

Let’s begin at the macro level and take a look at the organizational impacts of CMDB data inaccuracies. The ways that inaccuracies and poor data quality can impact processes and systems across your organization are as varied as they are serious. These problems can arise from issues in asset management, change management, and incident and problem management. They can result in lost productivity caused by downtime, and may even impact supply chain management, financial management, and any other organization-wide system, depending upon your industry and your organization.   

Problems With Asset Management

Data inaccuracies and incomplete data can cause tremendous problems in IT asset management. One key problem caused by CMDB data inaccuracies is the errors they can cause in the reporting license usage. And while that financial impact may be large enough on its own to merit taking problems with your CMDB data model seriously, the reality is that’s not where the asset management problems stop. Asset refresh problems, issues with understanding usage, and even equipment losses can all be attributed in some cases to poor quality or incomplete data.     

Problems With Change Management

Sound decisions regarding organizational change depend upon good quality and complete data. Understanding the impacts of proposed changes, no matter how small, is essential to making a proactive change that enhances ITSM. Can you make simultaneous changes across the organization? How will one change affect the others? Without good, complete data in your organization’s CMDB, you can’t possibly know the answer. Changes that are not based on sound data are ones that have a tendency to create problems and incidents, and problem and incident management are where the most visible impacts of CMDB data inaccuracies typically occur.

Problems in Incident and Problem Management

But how do you respond effectively to incidents? How do you manage problems when you’re working from a position built upon incomplete or inaccurate data? A bad or incomplete CMDB gives you little insight into the potential and emerging impacts of an incident, make it harder to link incidents to their underlying problems, and lead to an incorrect classification of the effects of incidents – which in turn leads to greater inaccuracies.    

What Can Be Done: Protecting the CMDB Data Model

If all of this seems a bit overwhelming, it is – by design. The myriad of problems caused and exacerbated by issues with your CMDB should be taken very, very seriously. But, the news isn’t by any means all negative. In fact, you can do something (many things) to protect your CMDB. Maintaining a complete CMDB loaded with high-quality data is not only possible, it’s essential. Automating Business Processes with the Service Catalog free whitepaper 
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Joseph Brown
Joey Brown is a product manager in the SolarWinds ITSM business unit. He works on particular areas of product feature sets and functionality, testing new…
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