Configurations must be correct, or your company will not be able to deliver the promished offering.

Configurations must be produced fast or your customer will go to the competition.

Configurations must be optimal, or an offer might not be attractive to your customer.

Configuration Management (CM)

Configurator ScreenHenry Ford reportedly said that his customers could have their cars in any colour as long as it was black. Today, no car company could survive with such a narrow range of choices. Although products are still mass-produced, customers demand adaption to their own requirements. This applies to large business-to-business products, such as machinery or buildings, as well as business-to-consumer products ranging from cars to personal computers.

Configuration Product ChoicesCompanies often start a web presence with either a static website or a shopping cataloque. More and more companies are realizing the benefits of providing a customised product or service offering. Using e-Commerce, such offerings have to be configured, validated and checked online through web servers.

A web based CM solution is an "automated sales support tool on the web". CM can also be used for e-business upselling opportunities. Any company which attempts to meet customer needs to order by configuring customised products from a set of standard components is a candidate for CM. For example:

  • Discrete product manufacturing for Configure-To-Order.
  • Pharmaceutical companies for arranging customer orders based on discount schedules and profitability.
  • Insurance companies for assembling coverage booklets from a set of standard "paragraphs".
  • Furniture companies for configuring offices.
  • Transportation companies for configuring cargo areas.
  • Wholesalers for putting together attractive package deals.
  • Car companies for configuring the car you want.

Computer hardware configuration management

Computer hardware configuration managementComputer hardware configuration management is the process of creating and maintaining an up-to-date record of all the components of the infrastructure, including related documentation. Its purpose is to show what makes up the infrastructure and illustrate the physical locations and links between each item, which are known as configuration items.

Computer hardware configuration goes beyond the recording of computer hardware for the purpose of asset management, although it can be used to maintain asset information. The extra value provided is the rich source of support information that it provides to all interested parties. This information is typically stored together in a configuration management database (CMDB).

The scope of configuration management is assumed to include, at a minimum, all configuration items used in the provision of live, operational services.

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