5 Steps to make your CSDM CRAWL phase a success

3 minutes

The Common Service Data Model (CSDM) is an essential part of the ServiceNow data model. It’s the foundation of all ServiceNow Workflows—from ITSM, ITOM, PPM, Application Portfolio Management, CSM, SecOps, Governance to Risk & Compliance, etc. There is a standard approach for CSDM provided by ServiceNow, consisting of the steps Crawl, Walk, Run and Fly. This means that a phased population of the data model is regarded as best practice. In doing so, we strongly advise you to seek guidance from a ServiceNow expert. Because you cannot apply this approach to your complete IT landscape. In a series of four blogs, I—Dylan Veerman—will provide you some tips to make your CSDM journey successful. So you can ultimately start Flying! Let’s start with some tips on the CSDM Crawl phase first.

Create an overview of your Business Applications and Application Services

This seems trivial, but a complete overview of all applications is often missing, especially in large enterprises. This first step is essential for you to get started on CSDM. So, make sure all of your Business Applications and Application Services are in ServiceNow.

Understand ownership and responsibilities for Business Applications and Application Services

It is key to understand who is accountable (ownership) for a Business Application and responsible for Application Service quality and operations. Don’t forget external suppliers to whom you have outsourced the responsibility for an Application Service, who might be hosting the services in their own (cloud) data centre.

Tip: During your CSDM Crawl efforts, focus on the services that you manage yourself.

Determine business criticality of Application Services

Now that we have a list of Application Services that you are responsible for, it is important to understand how critical they are to the business. Because not all application services are equally critical. Focus on highly critical services first. Manage them properly, and implement changes in a controlled manner.

To determine criticality, involve the Business Application Owners to perform a Business Impact Analysis (BIA) and score your services. In case you’re not using the custom tables provided in your ITSM bundle, you could use them to support this process to collect input from your service owners. Want to know which questions to ask or how to do a Business Impact Analysis? Please ask us for our best practices in this area.

Tip: Start your journey with the top 25 most critical Business Applications.

Critical CIs first

Now that we’ve got a list of 25 critical Business Application that you’re responsible for, we should now focus on getting the critical Configuration Items (CIs) in place.

You need to work with your Application Owners and the groups responsible for supporting your services to identify the right data. The trick is to train these people in what the CSDM is and how to maintain this data in ServiceNow themselves. The CSDM game we developed is a nice way to ensure teams understand the meaning and importance of the CSDM. This game can be played virtually or hosted in our office, whichever you prefer.

During the CSDM Crawl phase, focus on critical components like your Load Balancers, Application servers, Database Servers, key network equipment and other major components. Create simple dependencies between these Critical CIs. Ensure they’re related to the right Application Service and that the Application Services are related to the right Business Application.

Tip: Less is more. Especially when you need to maintain this data manually.


Now that you have your CSDM populated for your 25 most critical services, identify the next batch of Business Applications / Application Services to populate.

TIP: Looking for tips on the next phase too? Read our blog 5 Steps to make your CSDM WALK phase a success