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Heretical Views on ITIL Configuration Management

Now it’s time to have fun with arguments. Who doesn’t love a good one? Today AITS delves into Rob England’s The IT Skeptic blog for a little “back and forth” about ITIL. The debate in question revolves around a swarm of negative feedback generated by blogger Stephen Mann’s “heretical” post to Servicenow. Here is the heart of Mann’s proposal:

…reconsider the ITIL process we call “configuration management” and, rather than just looking at its worth, consider it from a real-world perspective.

… People might find configuration management hard to justify and therefore hard to resource in cash-strapped IT organizations…if all they are doing is configuration management for configuration management’s sake then does it really matter?


… to have any chance of really working it needs to be embedded within business processes rather than being a discrete and disconnected activity that in reality never gets done.

…By all means we can still talk of configuration management. It could even be a sub-process of the ITIL-espoused processes that people do actively use.

Mann’s post was followed with a slew of reactionary comments by the “defenders of ITIL”, who drowned out the commentary of advocates. England’s blog is therefore a reaction to the ITIL evangelist’s outrage. England argues that SM (service management) is present at all organizations to some capacity, and that very few (10% at most) actually use a full CMDB. He sits squarely with Mann in the belief that ITIL should be integrated as a subset of other practices, and argues extensively to that point.

3 Criteria for Needing CMDB

One final gem of wisdom to this quarrel, England establishes three criteria for the small enclave of businesses he believes will actually need CMDB:

  1. Hosting an immensely complex service configuration.
  2. Having a business case for better tracking of relationships.
  3. Possessing the available funds.

If you happen to have your own opinion on this topic, feel free to read the entire post at: http://www.itskeptic.org/content/heretical-views-itil-configuration-management

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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