In this tutorial, we will discuss about the ITIL Service Asset and Configuration Management Process (ITIL SACM). Here in this chapter, you will learn about the Definition, Objective, Scope, Activities, Roles, and Sub-Process of Service Asset and Configuration Management (SACM) - ITIL V3 Process.
What is ITIL Service Asset and Configuration Management Process?
ITIL Service Asset and Configuration Management (ITIL SACM) is a combined process made up of two different and implicit processes:
(i) ITIL Asset Management: This process addresses those assets you use to deliver IT services.
(ii) ITIL Configuration Management: This process tracks the configurations and relationships between various components (configuration items or CIs) of your various IT services
According to ITIL, SACM is described as:
"The process responsible for ensuring that the assets required to deliver services are properly controlled, and that accurate and reliable information about those assets is available when and where it is needed. This information includes details of how the assets have been configured and the relationships between assets."
This SACM (ITIL V3) process is responsible for maintaining an up-to-date and verified database of all Assets and Configuration Items (CIs) throughout the IT Service Management Lifecycle. It is done so that the updated data can be made instantly available to other service management processes whenever needed.
SACM process is one of the most important processes of IT Service Management (ITSM) and the central reference point of all other ITIL processes.
This is the 2nd part of Service Asset and Configuration Management (SACM) Process. Before going through this chapter please read the previous chapter [What is Configuration Items (CIs), CMDB, CMS and DML?], which describes Service Assets, Configuration Items (CI’s), Configuration Management database (CMDB), Configuration Management System (CMS), and Definitive Media Library (DML). You must be familiar with all these terms in order to understand this chapter properly.
ITIL Service Asset and Configuration Management Objective:
The primary objective of ITIL Service Asset and Configuration Management Process (ITIL SACM) is to identify, document and administrate all the Configuration Items (CIs) required for delivering IT services, including their relationships and dependencies.
Other objectives of SACM (ITIL V3) are:
- Identify, control, record, report, audit and verify every attribute of services and other configuration items (CIs), such as versions, baselines, constituent components, and relationships.
- Managing and protecting the integrity of CIs through the service lifecycle by working closely with change management and ensuring that only authorized components are used and only authorized changes are implemented.
- Maintain the integrity of Service Assets & CIs by establishing and maintaining an accurate and complete configuration management database (CMDB) and configuration management system (CMS).
- Maintain updated configuration information about historical, planned and current state of services and other CIs.
ITIL Service Asset and Configuration Management Scope and Benefits:
Every asset that you use during the Service Lifecycle, it typically falls under the scope of ITIL SACM process. But there are a few exceptions.
Service assets that are not CIs, will not be managed by ITIL Service Asset and Configuration Management Process and excluded from the scope. For example, any knowledge used by an experienced IT Engineer to solve incidents will not fall within the scope of SACM.
So any assets, such as the information stored on a server or non-IT assets, that are not considered or manageable by the change management are not included in the scope of this process.
As a whole, the scope of SACM (ITIL V3) process includes management of the complete lifecycle of every CI. This also includes interfaces to external and internal service providers where there are assets and configuration items that need to be controlled.
This process is quite valuable to the business and some of the major benefits of SACM are:
- Improved cost management of services
- Better planning and delivery of changes and releases
- More efficient resolution of incidents and problems, meeting SLA targets more frequently
- Lowering the risk of non-compliance to important legal, regulatory, and procedural standards
ITIL Service Asset and Configuration Management Sub-Process:
As defined in ITIL v3, Service Asset and Configuration Management (ITIL SACM) process has six sub-processes operating under it. Below are the objectives and description of those sub-processes, followed by a diagram illustrating the SACM Process FLow:
1) Management and Planning:
A well-managed Service Asset and Configuration Management Process requires thorough planning and proper management, for the operation of the SACM process to work.
The primary objective of this Management and Planning sub-process is to define the strategy, policy, scope, objectives, processes, procedures, Roles, and Responsibilities for SACM process.
This sub-process is the central reference point of the entire ITIL SACM process.
2) Configuration Identification:
This sub-process deals with the selection, identification, labeling, and registration of CIs. It is responsible for determining what CIs will be recorded, what their attributes are, and what relationships exist with other CIs.
This process maintains the underlying structure of the CMS so that it can hold all required information on Configuration Items (CIs).
Potential attributes you may want to capture include:
- The unique CI identifier and CI type - ITIL recommends that every CI should have their unique identification number.
- The name and description of the CI
- Version numbers, since multiple versions or releases of the same CI often exist
- Location and owner information, so that you know where to find it
- Current status (ordered, in development, in production, etc.)
- When necessary, supplier information, related documentation, etc.
3) Configuration Control:
The main purpose of ITIL Configuration Control is to review the modifications made to the Configuration Management System (CMS) to protect the integrity of the database. It ensures that the information stored in the CMS is complete and the modification was done by authorized personnel only.
This sub-process is initiated whenever there is an alteration made to the CMDB or in the RFCs received from change management process.
4) Status Accounting and Reporting:
It is the means of fetching & reporting of all current and historical data concerned with each CI throughout its lifecycle.
It can fetch & provide data on configuration baselines, latest software versions, CI’s change/incident history, and about the person who changed the status of CI.
A Status Reports typically include things like:
- An inventory of CIs and their baseline configurations
- An itemization of any unauthorized CIs
- Updates on recent changes or exceptions
- An itemization of hardware and software assets
5) Verification and Audit:
Responsible for running an audit to review and verify the existence of CIs and checking that if they are correctly recorded in the CMDB. It also checks for any difference between the documented baselines and the actual environment to which they refer.
Verification and Audit is generally a periodic job, but in some cases, this job is manually initiated, such as before & after any major change, after recovery from disaster, and detection of any unauthorized CIs.
The output of this process is Configuration Audit Report.
6) Managing information:
This sub-process ensures that the integrity of your configuration and asset data is maintained properly.
As part of the ITIL Service Asset and Configuration Management process, you need to regularly back up the CMS and CMDB, maintain detailed records about archived and historical CI versions, and take appropriate actions to ensure data integrity throughout the entire lifecycle.
The diagram shown below describes the full process flow, inputs and outputs:
Important Terminologies and Definitions of SACM (ITIL V3):
Change Request to CMS Structure:
- A request from other Service Management process to change the CMS structure.
- This request is sent to ITIL Service Asset and Configuration Management Process if new CIs or attributes are to be recorded but the current CMS's structure is not adequate for holding the new data.
CMS Change Policy:
- A set of rules used to define authorization to modification rules for modifying the structure and contents of the CMS.
Configuration Audit Report:
- A report showing the results of a CMS audit, highlighting revealed differences between CMS records and actually installed CIs.
- Configuration Baseline is the Configuration details captured at a specific point in time.
- This captures both the structure and details of a configuration, and is used as a reference point for later comparison (e.g. after major changes, disaster recovery etc).
For terminoigies specifically related to CI, CMDB, CMS, and DML please visit previous chapter [What is CI, CMDB, CMS, and DML?]
ITIL Service Asset and Configuration Management Roles:
- This Configuration Manager role is the Process Owner of this ITIL SACM Process.
- In some cases, depending on organization this role also referred to as Service Asset Manager or Configuration Manager.
- The Configuration Manager is responsible for maintaining information about Configuration Items required for delivering IT services.
- This role is also responsible for providing a logical model of the services, assets, and infrastructure by recording the relationships between service assets and configuration items. By doing this he ensures that the control procedures are in place to protect the integrity of Configurations.
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