ServiceNow CSDM: Evolution & CSDM Examples - Data Content Manager (2023)

by Mikko Juola | Feb 15, 2022 | Articles, CSDM |

ServiceNow CSDM: Evolution & CSDM Examples - Data Content Manager (1)

(This article was originally published in 2019, republished in 2021 and updated according to CSDM 4.0 in 2022)

ServiceNow published the Common Service Data Model over three years ago. Ever since the ServiceNow community has been craving for CSDM examples and more details on how to implement the model in the real world.

In February 2019, I wrote a blog post discussing the model from the Service Portfolio’s perspective and trying to figure out how to interpret the whitepaper in practice. I thought now would be a good time to rewrite that post and think about how the model has evolved and how the Business Service Portfolio part looks like today.

You can read the original post here and see how things have changed, or have they?

The Evolution of CSDM

ServiceNow has updated their Common Service Data Model (CSDM) whitepaper a few times since the original publication in 2018:

  • Version 1.0 introduced the model and split it into three different domains: Business, Service, and Application together with high-level data model diagrams and relationships.
  • Version 2.0, released in 2019, updated the domains to Design, Manage Technical Services, and Sell / Consume. It also introduced the implementation phases Crawl, Walk, Run and Fly and emphasized the value of implementing each phase.
  • Version 2.1 wasn’t really a new version of the whitepaper. It was rather a set of “Product views” or “Use cases” on how CSDM relates to other ServiceNow Products such as ITSM or Incident Management.
  • Version 3.0 is was released in September 2020. This release introduced Foundation Data as a new domain and set some Key Principles. Product-wise, CSDM started to show as CSDM related features on the platform (e.g. dashboards, navigation, form views, etc).
  • Version 4.0 draft is the latest version and was published in January 2022. This release introduced a new Build domain, relationship to Service Portfolio also from the Technical Services and some new elements and ideas related to Foundation data and Life Cycles.

In October 2020 we had the pleasure of co-presenting a series of Webinars on the 3.0 version together with Mark Bodman from ServiceNow. You can find our thoughts and a summary of the CSDM 3.0 Webinar Series from here.

And again a year later, we had a CMDB 4.0 Examples for a Data-Driven Portal webinar together with Venni Mäkäräinen also from ServiceNow.

All our previous webinars are available as recordings on our Webinars page. Please take a look.

ServiceNow CSDM: Evolution & CSDM Examples - Data Content Manager (2)

Figure 1 Evolution of the Conceptual model from CSDM 1.0 to 4.0

Consistent Key Messages Across the Whitepaper Versions

Since 2018, updates to the whitepaper have continued to provide more details and CSDM examples while the overall idea and message has remained the same. Here are some of the key messages from different versions of the whitepaper:

  • Service-related definitions span the ServiceNow product portfolio and the New Platform. (CSDM 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0)
  • Customers should follow the model in order to utilize the platform to its full potential, realizing a full value chain alignment, improved quality, transparency, better insights, automation, and lower costs. (CSDM 1.0)
  • ServiceNow products are standardizing their use of data from the CMDB. That standard is the CSDM. (CSDM 2.0, 3.0, 4.0)
  • Without this data in prescribed tables, you may not receive the full value of the ServiceNow platform. (CSDM 2.0, 3.0, 4.0)
  • CSDM should be used as a reference for mapping your IT services in ServiceNow. (CSDM 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0)

In the original post I talked about the lack of an actual data model. The whitepaper only provided a very high-level conceptual model and a list of actual tables vs. the conceptual model, and a list of relationships to be used between the classes. Therefore, I also gave some CSDM Examples.

We will talk more about the data models later, but here is a quick blast from the past, the CSDM Conceptual Model v1.0:

ServiceNow CSDM: Evolution & CSDM Examples - Data Content Manager (3)

Figure 2 Conceptual data model from the CSDM 1.0 whitepaper 2018

(Video) Platform Office Hour 41 CSDM 4.0 Overview What's New Best Practices

Evolution Towards Tables

Later CSDM versions include more details in their still conceptual data model diagrams and, most importantly, differentiate between Technical and Business services. This evolves towards a model where these records would be managed in different tables instead of just using a Service Classification on a common Service CI Class.

Since CSDM 2.0, technical and business services belong to their own domains and different stakeholders are identified for each. Version 4.0 introduced a new Build domain, but relationships to Services via Application Services still remained the same.

The picture below illustrates the services part of the 2.0 and 3.0 versions which are equal for this part. The same applies to 4.0, since the Build domain is optional between the Business Application and Application Service classes.

Application Focus

CSDM has a very heavy focus on Applications. This has been criticized quite a lot. Different customers are eager to see more common CSDM examples and use cases that do not necessarily involve Business Applications as prescribed.

4.0 version emphasizes applications even more with the Build domain that is only related to application-related services.

I personally feel that “Application Service” could be replaced with a “Configuration Item” where, depending on the service, any CI could be directly related to Service Offerings, also on the Sell / Consume domain.

Therefore, one interpretation of a more generic model could be like this:

ServiceNow CSDM: Evolution & CSDM Examples - Data Content Manager (5)

Figure 4 Generic version of the CSDM for any Configuration Item

I left the Design and Build domains out of this CSDM example picture on purpose, mainly to highlight that there can be services without a relationship to Application Services or Business Applications.

Think about End User Services, for example: a single Workstation CI should be directly linked to the Business Service Offering that describes exactly how that Workstation is delivered to a consumer, and what Catalog Items, Service Levels and other commitments are related to the service.

Different types of Service Relationships

This also brings up the question of the relationship type used between the Business Service Offering and the Application Service: Depends on. This is a logical relationship type when a business service depends on an application (or any other CI) in its delivery. However, what about the CIs that are “Provided by” the service? Like the end-user devices in the earlier example.

This is something worth considering when implementing a service portfolio. If you decide to use different relationship types for different use cases, then just stick with it. Only change if some out-of-the-box feature requires you to do so and you’re truly using that feature. In any case, it is easy to make changes to a data model, once you have one and you’ve been following it.

Business Applications, such as Microsoft SCCM or Intune can relate to Workstations from the technical point-of-view. Different CIs managed under same Technical Service Offerings can still be packaged to end-users with different terms and commitments. In this sense, a “Standard Workstation” Business Service Offering can Depend on SCCM for example, but it also Provides or Delivers, or Supports the actual Workstation CIs.

From Conceptual to Logical Data Models

The actual data model is still on a quite high level and you need to combine details from different pages to come up with an ERD-like data model diagram.

Figure 5 below shows the actual tables in ServiceNow against the conceptual model described as the CSDM.

ServiceNow CSDM: Evolution & CSDM Examples - Data Content Manager (6)

Figure 5 Conceptual Model to Physical Model according to CSDM 4.0

(Video) ServiceNow CSDM 3.0 | Share the ServiceNow Wealth

Another figure from the white paper describes the relationships between different classes as shown below:

ServiceNow CSDM: Evolution & CSDM Examples - Data Content Manager (7)

Figure 6 Prescribed Relationship according to CSDM 4.0

CSDM Examples and Actual Data Models

I have been looking for a data model that would combine all three:

  1. A conceptual model…
  2. with actual table names and
  3. relationship types

Despite ServiceNow’s intent to update the ITSM reference architecture with an ERD for CSDM (CSDM 2.0 whitepaper), I have not found one. Therefore, please allow me to try to give some CSDM examples based on the CSDM 4.0 whitepaper, out-of-the-box tables and form views.

Let’s split the CSDM into smaller pieces using Data Content Manager as the visual design tool and look at some of the key CI Classes in more detail. Starting with the Business Service Offering, according to CSDM 4.0, the data model could look like this:

This CSDM example data model has been drawn from the Service Offering’s point-of-view. Different filters on the Service Offering and Service tables connect the model to Business Services instead of Technical Services.

The whitepaper does not really describe the exact relationships between Service Offerings and Request Catalog except that Request Catalog is the sc_catalog table. In the above example, this relationship is defined via Catalog Items that are made available for the subscribers of the Service Offering and belong to a particular Catalog.

More information about the Request Catalog relationships in our CSDM 4.0 webinar from November 2021.

Adding Foundation Data to the CSDM Example Model

The latest version of the CSDM puts more focus on Foundation Data but does not define how, exactly, Foundation Data should be related to the rest of the model. This part probably varies the most between organizations, depending on how they are structured and how responsibilities have been defined.

Below is an example, where I have simply added some User and Group references to the model to ensure that responsibilities are in place.

ServiceNow CSDM: Evolution & CSDM Examples - Data Content Manager (9)

Figure 8 Business Service Offering data model with Foundation Data references

My Differing Opinions

A Service Portfolio can include many more details like SLA definitions and Service Commitments, Subscribers, and so on. One thing that still bothers me a bit in this model, is the prescribed relationship between Business Service Offering and the Application Service classes.

Another detail, where I have a slightly different opinion, is the relationship between Services and Business Capabilities. I would put that relationship on the Service Offering level, instead of Service. The same Service can have multiple different offerings where some of them relate to a capability and some maybe to a different capability.

Doing the relationship on a Service level means that you lose this flexibility in defining dependencies between different offerings of the service and business capabilities those offerings are providing.

Final Service Portfolio Model

My final version of the CSDM example model (as seen below) changes the Application Service into a more generic Configuration Item class and includes the Service Commitment and Subscriber relationships as additional examples. I left the Business Capability relation to Service as defined by CSDM. Overall, I consider my changes to be additions or extensions to the model and I’ve tried to keep it compliant with the original definitions.

(Video) Breaking Down the Common Service Data Model (CSDM) | GlideFast on Air

ServiceNow CSDM: Evolution & CSDM Examples - Data Content Manager (10)

Figure 9 More generic Business Service Offering data model with CIs, Subscribers and Commitments

All the additional relationships shown in these examples are based on an out-of-the-box setup of the Rome release, but not described as part of the CSDM. I cannot guarantee that these relationships will ever be part of the official model. However, they are already available Out-of-the-Box.

If your implementation is already at this level, then congratulations! You are one of the few and you probably have quite a mature Service Portal also utilizing all these wonderful service details and related capabilities.

CSDM Examples, Blueprint Templates & CSDM Content Pack

We have created these types of data models and CSDM examples as blueprint templates in our CSDM Content Pack. The Content Pack is freely available from the ServiceNow Store. You do need to have the Data Content Manager application installed to view the models, but there is a Free Trial available.

The current version of the Content Pack includes ~20 different blueprint templates for the CI classes mentioned in the CSDM whitepapers. They are organized according to the different implementation phases and domains. The templates can be used as CSDM examples and as starting points for tuning the model to your specific needs.

Implementation Phases for Services?

All in all, the CSDM example data models presented above are quite demanding and are indicative of a rather mature service portfolio model. Therefore, it’s advisable to approach this topic with small steps and ensure you are on the right track from the very beginning to the very end. Data Content Manager can be an extremely useful tool for this.

Business Services are introduced in the model only when you are already in the Run phase. However, in my opinion, you can implement each CI Class with a similar model where you start small and increase the complexity as your maturity to handle it grows. Related to this idea, you might also want to look at our 5 steps model for data management.

One way to “crawl” is also to limit the scope of data by selecting a subset of all your services before launching the model for everyone.

Crawl Phase Data Model for Services

In the beginning I showed a CSDM example data model for the Business Service Offerings in Fly phase of the CSDM. If your focus is Services (maybe related to Customer Service Management), you can also start crawling from the Sell / Consume domain.

In that case, the model for Business Service Offerings could look like this:

ServiceNow CSDM: Evolution & CSDM Examples - Data Content Manager (11)

Figure 10 Business Service Offerings data model for “crawling”

(Video) CSDM Technical Service Deep Dive Discussion

Just make sure that every Service Offering has a Parent Service and you have responsible persons or groups defined. Without clearly defined (and implemented) responsibilities there is no reason to move any further. You cannot succeed with CMDB (or Service Portfolio) without proper ownership.

Read more about establishing ownership from here.

More information

If you want to know more about how to enforce ownership and maintenance of different data models on the ServiceNow platform, please do not hesitate to ask. Book a meeting with me, and I will show you how Data Content Manager can help you on your journey towards CSDM compliance, and a better return on your ServiceNow investment.

Regarding “CSDM Compliance” and how out-of-the-box tools like the “CSDM Data Foundations Dashboard” can help, you should read this comparison to DCM.

You also may want to check out our CSDM Solution page, where we have compiled all of our CSDM related things, including a short demo video on how DCM helps with CSDM.

Talk to Us

Book a meeting with us and we will show you how Data Content Manager helps you on your CSDM journey – regardless of your maturity level.

Our CSDM Webinars

ServiceNow CSDM: Evolution & CSDM Examples - Data Content Manager (12)

Mikko Juola

Chief Product Officer at Qualdatrix


ServiceNow CSDM: Evolution & CSDM Examples - Data Content Manager (13)

ServiceNow CSDM: Evolution & CSDM Examples - Data Content Manager (14)

(Video) CSDM V4 Product and Lifecycle Discussion


What are the 4 Csdm domains? ›

CSDM has 4 Domains: Foundation, Design, Manage Technical Services, and Sell/Consume. Each of these Domains include one or more products within ServiceNow. The combination of quality data across these Domains assist in the day-to-day efforts to achieve business outcomes.

What is the difference between CMDB and Csdm? ›

CSDM is the framework that helps our customers properly build out their CMDB. It applies standard terms and definitions. It provides best practices around data modeling and data management. It helps creates out of the box CMDB core tables and guidance on service modeling and details recommended mappings.

What is Csdm in ServiceNow? ›

The Common Service Data Model (CSDM) is the ServiceNow® framework and prescriptive guidance for building out your CMDB. CSDM identifies where to place service and application-related data within the CMDB.

What is DCM ServiceNow? ›

Data Content Manager - Data Content Manager. DCM.

What are the 5 Csdm domains in ServiceNow? ›

The CSDM conceptual model contains the following domains; Design, Manage Technical Services, Sell and Consume, and Manage Business Services. Each of these domains loosely corresponds with one or more ServiceNow products, services, or service types.

What is Csdm framework? ›

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.

Which of the following are part of the common services data model Csdm? ›

Our very own online CSDM game explains your team what the common service data model is and what phases there are: CRAWL, WALK, RUN and FLY.

What type of data model is ServiceNow? ›

What is the ServiceNow data model? ServiceNow data model is a Configuration Management Database (CMDB) framework that will enable and support diverse configuration methodologies across ServiceNow products and platforms.

What is CMDB data model in ServiceNow? ›

Gain visibility into your IT environment and make better decisions. Extend your CMDB with Service Graph, a next-gen system of record.

Why is Csdm important? ›

CSDM is considered the best practice for CMDB modeling and management—it provides direction on modeling and comes with a standardized set of definitions. It is a connection between business and technical perspectives with mapping and relationships.

What is CMDB data model? ›

The common data model of the BMC CMDB unifies the representation of configuration data. It is designed to store data about the most common configuration items (CIs), such as hardware, software, and services.

What is foundation data in ServiceNow? ›

What do I mean by Foundation Data? Many IT Service Management systems such as ServiceNow refer to common data tables which are shared between multiple applications, processes or use cases as foundation data. Usually, this refers to users, organizational structures, cost centers, locations and, groups , etc.

What is snow mirror? ›

SnowMirror allows enterprises to archive ServiceNow data in the mirror database and unload their instance by erasing unnecessary bulks of data from ServiceNow instance database.

What is pattern ServiceNow? ›

Pattern-based discovery in Service Mapping. We use cookies on this site to improve your browsing experience, analyze individualized usage and website traffic, tailor content to your preferences, and make your interactions with our website more meaningful.

How do I get explore Analytics in ServiceNow? ›

Explore Analytics Application for ServiceNow ITSM - YouTube

Which services do application services underpin ServiceNow? ›

A technical service is a service type that is published to service owners. It typically underpins a business or application service.

Are business applications operational ServiceNow? ›

Business Applications are strategic and not operational. They are not directly linked to Incidents, Problems or Changes, and are not version-specific. Important to note that the actual software versions are linked to the Application service layer.

How does discovery work ServiceNow? ›

ServiceNow® Discovery discovers your entire IT infrastructure, creating an accurate and up-to-date record in your ServiceNow® CMDB. It discovers both physical and logical components, including virtual machines, servers, storage, databases, applications, and more.

What is in a CMDB? ›

A configuration management database (CMDB) is a file -- usually, in the form of a standardized database -- that contains all relevant information about the hardware and software components used in an organization's IT (information technology) services and the relationships between those components.

Which is sell consume persona? ›

What is Sell/Consume? Sell/Consume is a CSDM Domain that represents those tables currently utilized by Service Portfolio Management (SPM) and Customer Service Management (CSM). Additionally, they represent the business portfolio of services that may sell/consume elements of the manage technical services domain.

What are the three key tables in the CMDB? ›

  • The Base Configuration Item [cmdb] table, which is the core CMDB table for non IT CIs (descending classes are non IT CIs).
  • The core Configuration Item [cmdb_ci] table, which stores the basic attributes of all the CIs. ...
  • The CI Relationship [cmdb_rel_ci] table, which defines all relationships between CIs.
5 Feb 2020

How do you check CI relationships in ServiceNow? ›

The relationships between the CIs can be defined from the relationships tab. To access the Relationships tab of a CI, Click CMBD tab in the header pane. Select the CI Type from the Configuration Items block.

What is single data model in ServiceNow? ›

Each ServiceNow instance has its own database and is used to store data in tables comprised of various columns. While each application has their specific set of tables and columns, there are some tables like users, cmdb_ci , and tasks shared by many different applications.

What is the difference between CMDB and asset management? ›

The major difference between CMDB and Asset Management is that CMDB contains Assets as Configuration Items (CIs), whereas, Assets, by themselves, are standalone items that have intrinsic financial value to an organization. Thats the long and short of it.

Who is responsible for CMDB? ›

It is highly recommended that there is one owner for the whole CMDB. This should be a person who can (and should) make decisions when needed. While it is sometimes said that “co-ownership” is not ownership at all, it is still better than nothing.

Which database is used by ServiceNow? ›

ServiceNow uses PostgreSQL as one of its platform databases today and intends to use it more broadly moving forward, Davis said.

What is branded domain? ›

A Branded Domain is the first part of the branded link (customized short link). For example, in rebrandly. xyz/content-curation - 'rebrandly. xyz' is the Branded Domain. It is a customized domain, that a person or company has purchased for themselves or their business, to use for all their shared links.

What is the best type of domain name for a new business to use? ›

Obviously, .com is the most popular choice for a domain extension—unless you're working or starting a business in the tech world. It's usually the most popular choice for a business domain name because it's the most recognized and accessible brand.

How do you brand a domain name? ›

A simple way to ensure this is with secure domain branding.
Build awareness with white label surveys
  1. Highlight your brand assets.
  2. Make custom branded templates.
  3. Create custom URL branding.
11 Aug 2017

What is a branded short domain? ›

Branded short links are links which have a custom URL. To make them, you can use a dedicated root or subdomain, and edit the slug of your link.

Which domain ending is best? ›

Com Is Still the Best Option. In general, .com is still the best option for a domain extension for most websites. It's familiar, it has decades of trust under its belt, and it's easy for people to remember. That's not to say that other newer extensions can't get there, but many haven't reached that level yet.

Which domain is best? ›

org, . net, and so on. For many sites, .com is the best choice, since it's what most visitors will expect and is easiest to remember. However, it's getting harder and harder to find quality .com domain names, and users are becoming more accustomed to other extensions.


1. What's new in CMDB and CSDM for our San Diego release
(ServiceNow - Now Community)
2. CSDM Use Case Discussion - End to end cloud app creation and management
(ServiceNow - Now Community)
3. How Change Management Leverages CSDM
(ServiceNow - Now Community)
4. CSDM / CMDB Discussion: The black art of extending the CMDB and how we support the full lifecycle.
(ServiceNow - Now Community)
5. New in ServiceNow: Breaking Down the Common Service Data Model 3.0 | GlideFast On Air
(GlideFast Consulting)
6. NEW Rome CMDB Data Manager feature Walkthrough
(ServiceNow - Now Community)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kimberely Baumbach CPA

Last Updated: 02/09/2023

Views: 6427

Rating: 4 / 5 (41 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kimberely Baumbach CPA

Birthday: 1996-01-14

Address: 8381 Boyce Course, Imeldachester, ND 74681

Phone: +3571286597580

Job: Product Banking Analyst

Hobby: Cosplaying, Inline skating, Amateur radio, Baton twirling, Mountaineering, Flying, Archery

Introduction: My name is Kimberely Baumbach CPA, I am a gorgeous, bright, charming, encouraging, zealous, lively, good person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.