Should everyone be allowed to create CIs

By ITIL® from Experience ©

Not everyone should be allowed to create Configuration Items (CIs). Otherwise, as soon as a user cannot find a CI, a new one will be created causing a proliferation of duplicate records thus, render the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) useless. (At one organization, every CI in their CMDB had, on average, 14 records!).

Some CMDBs gets their CIs from an auto-discovery tool or from other data sources. In this case only the individuals responsible for resolving these discrepancies should be creating CIs. Moreover, a CI should only be created after the cause of the discrepancy has been understood (e.g. batch import did not run, the process to create CIs or the Change Management process was not followed). ITIL® calls these people Configuration Librarians1 . Their role is more important than to simply correcting records. Investigating what caused the discrepancy ensures that the source data is valid and that if can be trusted as an authoritative source (this investigation in itself is a form of continuous improvement).

From an ITSM tool perspective it may be prohibitively expensive to provide this functionality to every user due to the additional cost required to use the CMDB module.

Nonetheless, allowing every user to create CIs would require the tool to be able to:

  1. Enforce the Configuration Item (CI) naming convention
  2. Limit the user to create CI records only in the specific branch of the CMDB they are entitled to
  3. Prevent the user from editing CIs they are not authorized to modify
  4. Make some fields mandatory
  5. Prevent the user from modifying the CMDB structure

Thus far, we have not encountered a tool with all this functionality.

Allowing all users to create CIs hides process gaps and makes it difficult to hold people accountable to the process. Finally, the more open the system the more controls and audits are required to ensure that the CI records are valid to ensure that the CMDB adequately supports the various ITIL® processes.

Published on: 2014-02-08


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