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Configuration Management – Is it a Process?

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Actually, I don’t agree that Configuration Management on its own is a process in a strict BPM sense.

We can demonstrate this by asking the following simple question: What is a Configuration and how do I know when I am done managing it? Not an easy thing to answer, is it? (BPM professionals generally dislike the use of the term “manage” as a process descriptor – it is ambiguous.)

The repeatable processes look more like:

Identify CI
Change CI
Verify CI
Audit CI

But even these aren’t fitting well as “processes” in my world – they are too granular, and don’t deliver value on ther own. Instead, they are activities that slot into larger, true processes, such as

Fulfill IT Demand Request
Verify SOX Compliance

and so forth.

Configuration Management I believe needs to be built out primarily as neither a system, nor a process, but a capability or a service. As a capability, it provides a distinct set of small-grained, repeatable services/functions that can be re-used across a variety of true value-creating processes. This is essentially an SOA view of configuration management.

“Capability” is not a concept overly familiar to the ITIL discussion, but core to enterprise architecture as I practice it. (Capability contains function contains service in some views).

We’ve discussed that the ITIL discussion of data has been insufficient; what many do not realize is that the ITIL concept of process is also confused. Search Amazon on Rummler/Brache, Paul Harmon, and Alec Sharp for the state of art BPM thinking. It will make you view ITIL in a new light.

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Charles Betz is a Senior Enterprise Architect, and chief architect for IT
Service Management strategy for a US-based Fortune 50 enterprise. He is author of the forthcoming Architecture and Patterns for IT Service
Management, Resource Planning, and Governance: Making Shoes for the Cobbler’s Children (Morgan Kaufman/Elsevier, 2006, ISBN 0123705932). He is the sole author of the popular www.erp4it.com weblog.

Configuration Management – Is it a Process?
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About Charles Betz
Charles Betz is a Senior Enterprise Architect, and chief architect for IT Service Management strategy for a US-based Fortune 50 enterprise. He is author of the forthcoming Architecture and Patterns for IT Service Management, Resource Planning, and Governance: Making Shoes for the Cobbler's Children (Morgan Kaufman/Elsevier, 2006, ISBN 0123705932). He is the sole author of the popular www.erp4it.com weblog. WebProNews Writer


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