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Is your CMDB missing something? This post unpacks CSDM - the essential Common Service Data Model framework for your CMDB.

CSDM: 4 Letters We Often Hear yet Know So Little About

Is your CMDB missing something? This post unpacks CSDM - the essential Common Service Data Model framework for your CMDB.
4
min read
|
by
Shakara Whitehead
December 1, 2022

We don’t talk about Common Service Data Model (CSDM) enough but first … What is it ? and Why should we care about it?

In reading my first blog you’ll learn that I recently completed RapDev University. Now that I’ve spent time getting acquainted with my team and learning everything I could within the ITOM realm of ServiceNow, it’s time for me to start my first project! 

For my first project, I am helping build out a healthy Configuration Management Database (CMDB) for our customer. However, I kept hearing another acronym thrown around during meetings that I had little knowledge of; you guessed it , the CSDM

I never realized how important the CSDM is to the CMDB. Before we even get into that, what is it? Let’s go through a breakdown, shall we? 

The Configuration Management Database (CMDB) is a database that provides a single overview of an organization's IT assets and configuration items. It is essential for it to remain accurate at all times because it helps an organization keep track of an asset's usage and value over time and no one likes to waste money! CSDM stands for Common Service Data Model, which can be described as a framework for the CMDB that gives a guideline or best practice on how to better manage and maintain the CMDB for the best outcomes. By using CSDM, you can pinpoint where to place application-related data within the CMDB. In the picture below, you can see how the data models of the CSDM correlate to the core tables and CI classes of the CMDB in ServiceNow as well as the required relationships between the models in the CSDM. No need to make a custom table as it is already built in and maintained by ServiceNow. That’s a win in my book!

It is important to mention that the CSDM is not an application or code you can install or a one-size-fits all guide. You will certainly need to modify it to align with your organization's business goals. What’s great is that you do not need to purchase new modules or licenses to be able to use CSDM; everything is readily available for you to use from ServiceNow. 

At this point, you might be asking yourself, “Okay this sounds nice , but what are the benefits of implementing CSDM?” 

First things first, the CSDM helps you utilize the ServiceNow platform to its highest potential, making your ROI even greater. Have you ever found yourself learning about a new feature on your phone that you didn't know existed and you realize that you are not using your phone to its fullest capacity? That is what the CSDM can do for the CMDB, amongst other modules within ServiceNow. The CSDM also ensures data is mapped correctly, improving consistency and helping avoid errors such as duplicates or out of date information. This in turn will help make future upgrades easier and audits smoother. Don’t we all want a great audit?! 

When you first look at the picture below, it gives you overloaded information about how the CSDM operates as a whole. (Don’t worry, I also had no idea what I was looking at until I broke it down into smaller parts). The CSDM is based on the idea of what a service (on-prem AD/AzureAD, AWS, other cloud services etc.) lifecycle should look like and it begins with the 4 domains you see below : Foundation, Design, Manage Technical Service, Sell/Consume and the newest domain, Build. Think of the orange box (Manage Technical Service) as the way a business operates, the green box (Sell/Consume) as the way a business sells and consumes services, and the blue box represents how the services are planned. The white squares within each box represent the out-of-box ServiceNow tables that are already incorporated into the ServiceNow platform. The diagram depicts the full potential of how each of the applications factor into each other. I think I could take up many more blogs going in depth on this chart alone.

I continue to learn more about the CSDM as I dive further into my projects and I hope that I was able to convey how important it is to implement it . The CSDM will continue to evolve and be a critical need to help administer the CMDB. As we continue into an innovative future , the CSDM will be a key component for digital transformation. 

Written by
Shakara Whitehead
Boston
Servicenow engineer with experience in ITSM, ITAM and now ITOM! Born and raised in New Jersey, Shakara can be found looking for her next adventure around the world, professional food taster and a part-time anime lover.
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