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An Introduction to IT Asset Management and Configuration Management Databases

Complex network of IT Asset Management and Configuration Management Databases with a dashboard

IT Asset Management (ITAM) and Configuration Management Database (CMDB) have been around for a long time, but in recent years, with organisations now prioritising asset management and utilisation, there has been a catapulted interest in managing assets to maintain productivity with diluted budgets.

If you haven't embarked on your asset management journey yet, don’t worry, now is the right time and this will be the perfect introduction for you.

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Let's set sail on a journey to uncover the fascinating world of ITAM and CMDB.

What is IT Asset Management (ITAM)?

Imagine a labyrinth where hardware, software, licences, and contracts reside in a balance of harmony and chaos. ITAM should be seen as the beacon of order within the digital clutter. ITAM is a holistic approach that enables organisations to obtain visibility, control and governance over their IT assets throughout their lifecycle. From the moment an asset has been requested, right through to purchase, deployment, maintenance and retirement - everything should be tracked. ITAM provides a structured framework to understand asset utilisation and mitigate risks whilst minimising additional costs and maximising return on investment.

What is Configuration Management Database (CMDB)?

Within the vast expanse of ITAM lies Configuration Management Database (CMDB). CMDB serves as the heart of IT infrastructure, housing a repository of information about configuration items (CIs). These CIs can encompass anything such as hardware, software, network devices, applications, services and even buildings or employees. CIs can have relationships between them and each CI can have a set of attributes. CMDB acts as a single source of truth, offering an integrated view of the IT landscape, fostering effective change enablement, and facilitating seamless troubleshooting. 

The capabilities of ITAM and CMDB:

The capabilities of this dynamite duo are vast. With ITAM, IT professionals can track the inventory of IT assets, manage software licences, and monitor hardware usage. They can also automate asset discovery and tracking, saving time and reducing human error risk. With CMDB, IT professionals can understand the dependencies between different IT assets, which helps them identify potential problems before they occur. They can also use CMDB to manage change, ensuring that all IT infrastructure changes are recorded and tracked.

The complementary couple of ITAM and CMDB offers organisations a myriad of opportunities to empower them to gain control over their digital ecosystem. Let's take a deeper dive into their capabilities:

Asset discovery and inventory management: ITAM utilises automated tools and processes to discover and catalogue all IT assets within an organisation, providing a comprehensive inventory spanning hardware, software, and licences. CMDB orchestrates this by capturing intricate interdependencies between the assets, enabling a holistic understanding of relationships within your organisation's IT landscape.

Licence compliance and optimisation: ITAM ensures organisations remain compliant with licensing agreements and optimises licence allocation by tracking software deployments and usage. CMDB aligns this information with the overall IT infrastructure, providing a clear picture of licences to ensure they’re renewed to prevent unnecessary penalties or service downtime. 

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Change and configuration management: CMDB facilitates effective change enablement by tracking the relationships and dependencies between configuration items. It enables organisations to implement changes with minimal disruptions and empowers them to assess the impact of changes before implementation.

Risk mitigation and security: This combination of practices works hand in hand to enhance risk mitigation and cybersecurity efforts. By maintaining an up-to-date inventory and understanding the dependencies and any potential weakness of or between assets, organisations can swiftly identify vulnerabilities and potential security breaches, enabling you to take proactive measures to safeguard your digital ecosystem.

Gap analysis: Having a bird's eye view of your complex asset network and understanding their interactions poses an opportunity. CMDB allows organisations to know where the existing assets are not fulfilling the organisation's needs, reducing the chances of over-subscribing to unnecessarily feature-heavy platforms when shopping for additional assets.

The capabilities of ITAM and CMDB are extensive and are not limited to the ones we have mentioned above. When it comes to ITSM practices, they play a significant role. From aiding the resolution of incidents using the information on IT assets provided by CIs to supporting request management enquiries. CMDB and ITAM add provide invaluable insight into your IT infrastructure.


This introduction to ITAM and CMDB will have given you a good overview of the practices. We’ve explained what they are and delved into how they could support your organisation. This should have given you some ideas into where ITAM and CMDB can fit into your organisation's digitalisation initiatives.

Adaptavist is a leader in shaping ITSM solutions that deliver value to organisations and their customers. Learn more about how we can support your organisation in achieving your digital transformation goals, incorporating ITAM and CMDB into your solution.

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