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ITAM: A Prerequisite for Building a CMDB (Part 6/6) – “Back to the Apollo 13 Story”

John Swigert Jr - Returned Safely From the Apollo 13 Mission

John Swigert Jr - Returned Safely From the Apollo 13 Mission

This article series has been contributed by Peter Salfi at Provance.

In this series Peter explains why an Asset Registry, created within an IT Asset Management program, comprised of the appropriate mix of people, process and technology, is often an overlooked prerequisite to creating a CMDB.

It describes a less painful approach to creating a reliable and accurate CMDB that allows organizations to realize a high return on their investment in time, effort and expense.

Part Six – Back to the Apollo 13 Story

A disabled spacecraft is on the brink of perishing with a high likelihood of taking the lives of three astronauts.  To resolve the incident, the astronauts interacted directly with the Command Center on the ground – their Service Desk: “Houston, we have a problem!”  The “Service Desk” relied on the flight engineers to know exactly what was on board, where it could be found and what each item’s capabilities or limitations were.  The flight engineers participated in an Asset Management program, using the right technologies to:

Effectively and efficiently manage the complete set of asset information (an Asset Registry) for those items onboard;

  • Manage their operational status;
  • Control, organize, centralize and up-to-date the information; and
  • Use the appropriate information to make critical and key business decisions.
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The Asset Management program allowed the astronauts, as participants in the Configuration Management program to:

  • Quickly locate the needed items onboard;
  • Be aware of the usage details and any functional limitations that could cause greater problems; and
  • Configure the assets to create a service that allowed the air to be cleansed for their safe return to earth.

CMDB-vs-ITAMThe flight engineers identified the dots and the astronauts connected the dots to create a service – in that order!

Consider the consequences if the Asset Registry, the IT Asset Management program and the appropriate technologies had not been in place.  Everyone – both those on the ground and those in space – would have wasted precious time scrambling to identify, understand and come to terms with the available assets, where they were located and how they should and could be used.  The wasted time could have cost the lives of the men onboard the spacecraft as well as the reputation and future of the entire space program.

Asset Management First

Peter Salfi

Peter Salfi

Responsible IT professionals and ITIL practitioners recognize that “the cart cannot come before the horse;” nonetheless, many still pursue a Configuration Management program first and attempt to create a CMDB before establishing the necessary prerequisites.  Creating a CMDB does not have to be time consuming, labor-intensive and costly.  The journey begins by first establishing an IT Asset Management program, enabled by the right technologies, and whose key output is a comprehensive, consolidated, accurate and up-to-date Asset Registry.

This approach is critical to the realization of an effective, efficient and economical CMDB that will achieve the purpose it was designed to serve.

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Identify and understand all of your “dots” first.  Have a strategy on how they are to be managed, and only then, start to connect them.  The creation of an accurate Asset Registry through a reliable Asset Management program and the appropriate technologies are prerequisites for creating and realizing an effective, efficient and economical CMDB that provides operational value in serving your customers.

This article series has been contributed by Peter Salfi. To find out more about Provance IT Asset Management for Microsoft System Center visit Provance.


About Martin Thompson

Martin is owner and founder of The ITAM Review, an online resource and community for worldwide ITAM professionals.

Martin is also author of the book "Practical ITAM - The essential guide for IT Asset Managers", a book that describes how to get started and make a difference in the field of IT Asset Management.

On a voluntary basis Martin is a contributor to ISO WG21 which develops the ITAM International Standard ISO/IEC 19770.

Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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