CMDB is like a linked digital phonebook, and just as pointless for most
In the old days a phonebook was a list of names and numbers, like an asset database.
Now we have numbers on phones, with people search. Say I want to ring Gary at Safeness. I don't have a number for him but I know his company, and for others at that company I have the switchboard number. Wouldn't it be cool if people were linked to a company entity and we recorded the company numbers once for that entity so it could be found for everyone in that company?
Now we have the analogous equivalent of a CMDB (or a normalised database for the old farts amongst us).
So what percentage of us would get a productivity return from adding and maintaining those links between people and companies in our digital phonebooks, especially with companies spanning countries and multiple offices? Imagine yourself doing it. As compared to just working it out in our head on the rare occasions when we need to walk the relationships to find a number. And as compared to those of you who do it because they get off on being so organised and technical. I'm betting less than 5% of you - most of you would be sales people and headhunters - could show a real benefit: the Five Percent Club. The rest who claim a benefit are just rationalising your own neuroses (there goes another thousand readers).
Now, those anal folk who like maintaining pretty complexity for the sake of it can do so at their own expense on their own phone book. They don't have to show ROI beyond their own satisfaction. Not so a CMDB (in properly managed companies).
For most of us, a complex interlinked phone book isn't worth the effort. A simple list will suffice. So it is with configuration management: an asset database will do.