What is Configuration Management?
Configuration Management (CM) is the governance and systems engineering process for making sure the consistency of an operational environment that hosts logical and physical assets. In order for CM to work, a tool is required to both store and manage all information that it controls, popularly known as a Configuration Management Database (CMDB). Today, mechanisms used to perform CM are not referred to as CMDB but Configuration Management System (CMS). This was done because a CMDB was only promoting a single massive uniform for a repository, whereas the CMS is more conceptualized and can incorporate multiple databases that are interchangeable and will support the needs of the control process.
In my experience, I worked for a company who was launching a global video service. This capability relates to the same type of video communication service such as Skype. I was hired to develop their CM process. In doing so, I had to gather all of their data to include their CIs, Configuration Control Board (CCB) member information, and their hierarchy for decision-making. SharePoint was the main source of record and a Network Change and Configuration Management System, known as NCCM, was the repository for secured CIs. This was not manageable as the organization could not only properly track changes to their environment, but also track at the pace that mirrored the improvements constantly happening in the testing, development, and production settings. To rectify the issues and help the organization to move forward, I was able to identify and suggest a more conducive way to both, consolidate and track changes that would meet the needs of the organization, and keep up to speed with technology for a more automated process.
How can Configuration Management Benefit Your Company?
CM is a great way for your enterprise to stay organized and accurately track not only CIs, but also processes and documentation. Maintaining consistency in product performance and functionality is vital to your environment for expediting CM tailored to your work space. It can also be used by management and engineers to check which components have been changed and why, ensuring an audit trail of changes done to the system. Today, utilizing CMS databases provides a more foolproof and automated technology that allows multiple systems to communicate with each other, analyze data, and provide real-time results.
CM is now evolving into a more digital thread that will reduce corrective action and unnecessary costs so that companies can increase their profits. There’s also more room for creativity and less rework, which would save corporations more than 50% in revenue on resources used to fix problems. This transition is called Enterprise Configuration Management, also known as CM2. According to the Javelin article, “Making plans for digital transformation for Industry 4.0” (2018), CM2 establishes the roadmap that facilitates an organization’s ability to create a world-class enterprise Digital Thread. This is achieved through the application of a set of proven principles and techniques. When properly applied, this improved business model enhances the development, structuring, and managing of requirements throughout the enterprise. Organizations continually struggle to define a fast and efficient change management process. This can be achieved by what’s known as the Integrated Process Excellence (IPE). IPE goes beyond the normal prototype that’s associated with CM. It promotes the concept of collaborating with not only CM professionals, but also engineers, developers, project managers, quality assurance managers, and more. It allows the expansion and creation of requirements so they are more clear, concise, and assure the validity of both content and results. They break the barriers of being limited to what was done in the past and allow the enterprise continued growth in technology over time. Because of this forward integration, CM has become even more of a hot commodity that can be tailored to any business infrastructure.