Clearing the Fog Around ServiceNow’s Common Service Data Model (CSDM) & Its Benefits

Perhaps the term Common Service Data Model (CSDM) has left you scratching your head, wondering what this acronym really means. Many ServiceNow customers are unfamiliar with recent discussions on the CSDM which continues to evolve; it is currently at version 3 with CSDM 3.0.

What is the CSDM?

In a nutshell, the CSDM is a framework for CMDB data modeling and data management that provides a foundation for connecting both business and technical aspects of services across the enterprise. Released fairly recently, in the last 2 years, it allows you to link IT CIs in the CMDB to various services, users, costs and so on. Building your CMDB with CSDM best practices provides in-depth visibility of both infrastructure and services improving control of your environment and more informed decision-making. It supports true service level reporting and several configuration strategies.

Despite this definition, many ServiceNow customers still wonder “Is the CSDM really necessary?” or “What are the benefits of the CSDM?” We’ll take a look at some of the fundamental benefits of the CSDM to illustrate how it can unlock greater value for your organization.

Key Benefits of the CSDM

1. Optimize Your CMDB

Leveraging the CSDM optimizes your CMDB making it much easier to utilize and maintain in the long run. The effort needed to maintain a CMDB over time is often overlooked by many ServiceNow customers. Prior to CSDM, the CMDB could not instantly map initial business outcomes. However, the CSDM overcomes this delay by connecting business perspectives to the technical foundation in a clear-cut manner. This ranges from business capabilities, business applications, service portfolio, technical services and more to the core tables in the CMDB.

Thus, the CSDM clearly defines the technical, physical underpinnings of your business models and reworks how these models relate to each other, optimizing them. This ensures that reporting is correct and comprehensive meeting standards using standardized tables that ServiceNow maintains. This has the advantage of eliminating the requirement for custom tables that often break during upgrades. It standardizes the processes for all data. This optimizes your CMDB making it robust and maintainable for the long-term.

2. A Higher Degree of Connection with a Unified Data Model

Having a single, unified data model is advantageous whether you’re using multiple ServiceNow modules or just have its popular Information Technology Service Management (ITSM). Creating a CMDB base table that every other base table can extend covers all customer-facing services and internal processes. This functionality makes it easier to manage similar data types, allowing a more efficient single source of truth that connects customer-facing services and internal technical services. This drives better decision making as it encompasses both business and service data, streamlining it. This supports business operations and technical teams. Following CSDM’s framework shifts operations to a more connected perspective that spans both upstream and downstream functions, giving service teams greater insight. This helps optimize workflows and remedy and issues faster and better.

This means that you can operate under one source of truth and make better decisions. Essentially, this operational makes sense because you can reduce costs and have a higher quality output when used correctly.

3. Enhance Services & Minimize Costs

A unified data model with a comprehensive perspective enhances services providing a higher quality of output when utilized appropriately. This enables numerous improvements such as:

  • Better business and IT partnerships.
  • Greater IT accountability.
  • End-to-end visibility of services.
  • Simpler business processes and better customer experiences.

Ultimately, this leads to greater ROI from your ServiceNow instance. It also helps reduce costs as improving workflows identifies opportunities for increasing productivity and cost savings. Improved visibility also facilitates better analysis of costs related to operating your business, so you can gain better insights into cost reduction opportunities.

4. Enables Greater Innovation & Scope for Agility

Harnessing ServiceNow’s CSDM best practices provides enterprise-wide improvements in terms of operations and business outcomes. It also enables businesses to enhance their agility and ability to innovate. The improved visibility allows faster decision making and adapting to new opportunities. After achieving improved business outcomes by leveraging the CSDM, the next step to drive sustainable success is to pursue innovation with an agile stance that allows you to improve across the board – from increasing productivity, providing simpler workflows and processes for your teams and reducing costs further.

A phased approach is the best practice for implementing CSDM for your CMDB. The typical stages are crawl, walk, run and fly. Crawl typically identifies core CIs and classes, CI types and defines attributes to get trustworthy information into the CMDB. Crawl sets up structure, while the walk stage defines processes, roles and responsibilities to ensure that the CMDB is kept up to date. It entails Service Mapping and Event Management. The run stage usually involves running audits on the CMDB and leveraging dashboards to ensure compliance. It focuses on expanding and identifying other CI types, continuing to map technology services and business functions. Lastly, fly entails defining end-to-end processes that encompass service offerings.

If you would like to leverage ServiceNow for your organization, Advance Solutions would be glad to help. As an Elite ServiceNow partner with 15+ years of experience, we have unparalleled ServiceNow implementation expertise and have been instrumental in significant success for our clients worldwide. We provide Scalable, Maintainable and Upgradable solutions for our clients that drive digital transformation for long-term success. We are also a leading ServiceNow Managed Service Provider.

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Advance has been in the IT business for over 15 years and a dominant force in the ServiceNow ecosystem. Over this short period of time, our innovative ideas and expertise made a huge mark in driving momentum across ServiceNow’s portfolio of products across the ServiceNow Landscape.

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