ITIL 4 Service Configuration Management Practice

Posted by Marbenz Antonio on November 17, 2023

Ensuring accurate and reliable information about the resources available for delivering effective products and services lies at the core of ITIL 4’s Service Configuration Management Practice. This practice, among the latest to be refreshed, is now part of the new Practice Manager certification scheme.

The typical level of capability in service configuration management varies widely today. According to Antonina Klentsova, co-author of the revised 2023 practice guidance, some organizations operate at a higher level of capability, while many others lack any significant capability in this regard.

For those who have initiated service configuration management, the approach often involves maintaining a spreadsheet with lists indicating the connections between configuration items. However, this practice is commonly confined to a team level and lacks integration. Klentsova notes that, for instance, a server team might not be aware of all the applications running on the system.

Inadequate performance in service configuration management can be attributed to the high cost associated with implementing a Configuration Management Database (CMDB). Antonina Klentsova, co-author of the revised 2023 practice guidance, emphasizes that implementing a CMDB is one of the most expensive practices, underscoring the importance of financial considerations. Success in this practice involves continually optimizing the costs of providing configuration information.

While start-up businesses may not immediately recognize the value of investing in service configuration management during their initial stages of development, scale-up organizations and large enterprises, dealing with a greater complexity of products and services, undoubtedly find this practice essential.

What is ITIL’s Service Configuration Management Practice designed to do?

The service configuration management guidance serves as a support system for those implementing the practice, aiming to efficiently provide valuable information to the organization. This involves instructing individuals on leveraging a Configuration Management Database (CMDB) and establishing procedures and processes for data verification. Crucially, the practice adopts a holistic approach to management across the four dimensions of service management in ITIL 4.

Antonina Klentsova emphasizes that without adopting the practice guidance, individuals may resort to learning through trial and error, working intuitively. This approach could potentially lead to underestimating the importance of the connection between configuration items.

The Service Configuration Management Practice 2023 revision – what’s new?

The updated 2023 practice guide introduces new elements aimed at enhancing the sustainability of service configuration management for practitioners and their organizations.

One key aspect involves considering the sustainability of configuration management itself, recognizing that each byte of data carries a carbon footprint. Unnecessary data left unmanaged can contribute to a growing environmental impact. Adding sustainability attributes, such as energy consumption and carbon emissions, to configuration items enables organizations to make more informed decisions regarding the overall carbon impact of their services.

The guidance also places a new focus on tools, aiming to create a more comprehensive view of the types of tools applicable in service configuration management. This includes an examination of the scope required for automation.

Additionally, the guidance provides a step-by-step guide for conducting a capability self-assessment for the practice. This assessment helps evaluate how well the practice is fulfilling its purpose and contributing to the organization’s service value system.

Recommendations for practice success

The final section of the practice, consistent with all the revised ITIL 4 practice guides, provides specific recommendations along with explanations and links to the ITIL Guiding Principles.

For instance, the recommendation to “demonstrate business value” underscores the importance of focusing on value by measuring and reporting on the practice—an aspect often overlooked by teams. Antonina Klentsova emphasizes the necessity to measure and showcase how the practice contributes to improvements, such as decreased incidents and enhanced service quality.

Similarly, the recommendation to provide service configuration information to stakeholders addresses the risk of not updating data, which can have a cascading effect on others relying on this information.

Ensuring that the practice remains uncomplicated serves to minimize the risk of over-investment and the addition of unjustified complexity.

Overall, by demonstrating business value through the use of existing data, the latest ITIL 4 guidance provides an opportunity to assess and evaluate the value of service configuration management as a practice in your organization.


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