EMA CMDB research: where's the wave?

Recent "research" (in the analyst sense of the word) from EMA shows that even amongst those who say they are working on a CMDB [which other numbers indicate is 10%-30% of the ITIL population], those with functional CMDBs remain a minority. This confirms our recent assertion that CMS and SKMS and CMDB represent best practice blue sky. There is nothing "generally accepted" about CMDB practice: about 2%-5% of IT shops I reckon. In true market-hyping fashion Dennis Drogseth of EMA is fond of referring to the "CMDB tidal wave". Based on their own numbers I gotta ask: where's the wave Dennis?

The paper says

"Our new research reveals that CMDB deployments are at a fundamentally different stage than just two years ago, as they move from the planning stage to value-driven initiatives," explained Dennis Drogseth, vice president at EMA... Drogseth and his team gathered 174 quantitative survey responses and conducted more than 15 in-depth focal interviews with IT professionals actively involved in the planning or deployment of their organization's CMDB.

[As an aside: What is with this modern thing for "more than"? "more than 15 interviews". They don't know how many "in-depth focal interviews" they did? Some might or might not count? Was it 16? Go on, say "16". I'm a grownup: I can handle numbers that aren't a multiple of 5.]

The respondents were 90 percent from North America, but focal interviews reached out to deployments ranging from Australia to the U.K.

[90% of "more than 15" = about 2. So all the interviewees were from North America except one Pom and one Skippy]

Key study findings include:
-- Most CMDB deployments are less than two years underway, with 43 percent less than a year underway and 68 percent not yet in full production.

I'll resist the temptation to do the usual demolition of analyst "research" and use of statistics. I'll just take these numbers at face value.

Recall that these numbers apply to those "actively involved in the planning or deployment of their organization's CMDB". So even if we take the more optimistic numbers of say 30% of sites working on a CMDB, then 68% of them haven't got one yet. That means, best case about 10% of sites have something working that they are willing to label a CMDB.

What proportion would meet the ITIL definition of a CMDB? Less than half I bet.

Furthermore, allow for the fact that the population analysts talk to tends to be skewed towards larger sites (read: MONEY), and those who are active with vendors, and those willing to talk to analysts (read: more successful at implementing).

Add all that up and I reckon you have to go a LOOOOONG way to find a working example of an "ITILly-correct" CMDB - I reckon 2%-5% of IT shops - which confirms our experience when we asked for anecdotes of any seen in the wild. Once again, a "tidal ripple" I'd say.

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