The DCM Blog

5 Steps to Get Business Applications Under Control

By Mikko Juola

April 26, 2022
5 Stairs

Business Applications is one of the most important CIs in your CMDB and one of the most logical places to start your CSDM alignment. So how do you get them under control?

Before CSDM was even released, we introduced a “5 Steps Model for Better Data Quality.” This concept included the idea that we focus on one Data Domain at a time and secure specific key details before moving forward. You can get the background here:

5 Steps to Better Data Quality (Especially in CMDB)

We’re also adamant that ownership is essential for any success in data quality management, let alone CSDM initiatives. We’ve written about this and continually discuss the topic with our customers. Catch up on establishing ownership here:

How to Establish Ownership in Your CMDB

This article will apply the 5 Steps Model to Business Applications with a concrete example. It should give you an idea of using the model for different CIs in your CMDB.

5 Steps Model for Better Data Quality

This is what the 5 steps model looks like on the surface:

5 Steps Overview

… and here are the same steps opened up with more detail.

5 Steps Details

Steps for Business Applications

We chose Business Applications as our example domain, so let’s see how the 5 Steps Model would work with them:


1. Select Domain

  • Select Business Applications as the Domain.
  • Agree that the Business Application Portfolio owner will act as the Data Domain owner for Business Applications.
  • Using Data Content Manager, you can update these details into a “data domain” record.
Set Responsibilities for Data Domain

2. Define Providers

  • Agree that “Application owners” will act as data providers. (This information is available in the “IT Application Owner” field on the Business Application form in your CMDB)
  • Agree to use “Application Management” groups as the secondary data provider. They are referenced with a “Managed by Group” field on the Business Application form.
  • If using DCM, include these details in the Data Provider Config part of your DCM Blueprint

3. Minimum Viable Data

 Define minimum requirements for Business Application records.

  • If needed, narrow down the scope and agree to focus on critical business applications first or pick one of the Business Units to participate in a proof-of-concept.
  • Follow the CSDM and use the Crawl phase as your minimum requirement. This means:
    • a handful of important attributes from the Business Application class,
    • a couple of references to Foundation data defining responsibilities,
    • a mandatory downstream CI relationship to Application Services, and
    • an optional CI relationship to SDLC Component.
  • If you are using Data Content Manager, these details would go in the same blueprint as the data provider configurations.

 A DCM blueprint that defines all of the above would look like this:

Business Applications Blueprint

Let’s take a break – Are you Crawling?

In the context of CSDM, you’ve now done what’s required for the Crawl phase. You’ve defined the minimum required data model for the Business Application CI Class, and you can start working on data according to the above.

At this point, we should also define the same for other data domains within our scope. Regarding the CSDM Crawl phase, that would mean:

  • Application Services
  • Servers
  • Applications
  • SDLC Components, if planned to be in use
  • Possibly other technical CI classes like Databases or Application Servers
  • Related Foundation Data if not already in scope.

We recently wrote an article about following up on CSDM compliance with the “CSDM Data Foundations Dashboard” or using our product.

You can read the article here: Happy to Crawl with CSDM Data Foundations Dashboard?

4. Target Model

Your target model will probably rely on the Run and Fly phases of CSDM. More attributes are included in the scope and relationships to Business Capabilities, Information Objects, and Business Services are also required.

Again, you can simply draw another DCM blueprint to define the target model.

5. Refine & Repeat

Things change. Requirements change. New use cases come along and ServiceNow may release new versions of the CSDM and build new features that rely on new data. Therefore, the Refine & Repeat step will never end. Maintaining the achieved level of data quality requires constant work.

Latest at this point, you can expand the scope to include more data domains. Each revised model can be defined as a new DCM blueprint and related data audits can be configured to follow the latest published version. You can also keep auditing different versions in parallel.

By the way, our free CSDM Content Pack includes Blueprint Templates for all CSDM implementation phases, such as the one below.

CSDM Fly Blueprint Template

Wrapping up

As you can see, the 5 Steps model is a simple way of getting your Business Applications under control. It is generic, so you can apply it to any data domain or any data model, not just CSDM.

We reference DCM a lot in this article for a reason. It simply helps you get this done. Not only does it help you with visualizing your intended data models, but it also allows you to audit your existing data against the models.

When you have defined your data models and assigned ownership, it will provide you with powerful tools to get control of your data to increase the efficiency of your platform.

Learn More

If you would like to see how this works in practice, we would be happy to show you. Just grab some time with us to get started.

Mikko Juola

Mikko Juola

Chief Product Officer at Qualdatrix


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