• Luke Sorensen

CSDM 3.0 is here! Part 1 - CSDM Essentials

As part of the Paris release, ServiceNow have released version 3.0 of the Common Service Data Model (CSDM). If you're looking to leverage ServiceNow for Digital Transformation, think of CSDM as the backbone of your Digital Operating Model (something we will discuss in future blogs).


Why is the CSDM important?

The CSDM provides a uniform framework on the ServiceNow Platform allowing organisations to holistically manage service portfolios and service lifecycles. It provides a unified view of services internally (to both the business and IT), and acts as an external interface for consumers and suppliers.


By aligning to the CSDM, your organisation can be confident in its ability to quickly take advantage of new Platform features.


What is the CSDM?

To describe the CSDM, we are going to have to break it down. Its value and use cases are multidimensional. A one or two sentence overview just won't do it justice (I did try).


We will go into each of these in detail, but breaking it down, the CSDM is:

  • Centred around the concept of a service

  • A collection of out-of-the-box (OOB) ServiceNow tables

  • A framework of five domains that support an end-to-end (E2E) service lifecycle

  • Supported by prescriptive implementation and product use case guidelines


Furthermore, as ServiceNow reiterate, the CSDM is not:

  • A process or product implementation guide (e.g. ITSM, ITOM, ITBM, etc)

  • A package, application or plugin to be installed

  • A set of reports

  • An automatic fix for past implementations

  • A SKU or product sold by ServiceNow


What is a service?

As the name suggests, the CSDM centres around the concept of a service.


The CSDM white paper references the ITIL definition of a a service...

"A service is a means of enabling value co-creation by facilitating outcomes that customers want to achieve, without the customer having to manage specific costs and risks."

In practice, defining application, business and technical services for your organisation can be challenging. This topic alone has led me to a whiteboard more times than I can remember. But once you have a shared understanding of a service, you are well on your way to aligning their importance with the overall business strategy.


Aside: If you've got a keen eye, you'll notice a subtle name change from version 2.0 - the "s" has been dropped from Service in CSDM. Personally, this is great for me, it turns out I've had it wrong for awhile, nothing to see here...


Domains (Logical) and Tables (Physical)

The CSDM conceptual model is pictured below. At first glance, there is a lot to consume. Personally, I find it helpful to break it down into the physical and logical components.



Domains (Logical)

The best place to start is the domains. There are five colour coded domains that each represent the ability to support the E2E service lifecycle. The following diagram summarises the focus of each domain.


Tables (Physical)

The white squares represent the OOB ServiceNow tables. It's important to note that as of the Paris ServiceNow release, all of these tables are 100% part of the core ServiceNow Platform. With the introduction of the Foundation domain, it is quite clear there is an established relationship from CSDM through the CMDB and into Assets & Contracts.


At a very high-level, I like to look at it like this.


We can help you get started

ValueFlow have, and continue to, help many organisations design their ServiceNow CSDM to support their entire IT workflow. In many cases, this is part of a broader digital transformation or Digital Operating Model initiative. It is an important part of the Plan and Design stages of our 5 Steps to Transforming Service Operations.


If you would like to know more, please contact us.


If you're after some self-paced learning, the best place to start is the CSDM 3.0 Fundamentals course on NowLearning.


Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3

In part 2, we will use an example and screenshots to make it real. This will step through the implementation stages of the CSDM: Foundation, Crawl, Walk, Run and Fly. This will include a run through of the new Dynamic CI Group and Application Service Wizard.


In part 3, we will focus on how the CSDM can support your digital transformation, and how the IT4IT reference architecture can be used hand-in-hand with the CSDM to build a Digital Operating Model.

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