Creating a kick-ass ITOM roadmap after discovery: Part 1

At the beginning of February 2021, Einar & Partners hosted a webinar with iTSM Group about the factors to consider when moving beyond discovery in ServiceNow ITOM. Many organizations that purchase ServiceNow find themselves stuck in moving beyond the basic CMDB and ITSM setup.

This article is an in-depth report by Einar & Partners on how to move away from stagnation to harvest the benefits of IT Operations Management.

Welcome to our deep-dive about creating the ultimate ServiceNow ITOM Roadmap after Discovery.

Before we get started – let’s define a roadmap

When approaching ITOM transformations in the industry, one will often find that a roadmap is drafted and created based on the available ServiceNow ITOM modules, or sometimes – the licensing model.

Such as ITOM Visibility, Health & Insights.

Although this approach is not wrong, we argue that it does not constitute a roadmap per se, but rather a module- or license ramp-up model.

In other words, a roadmap should not be driven by when functionality is enabled, but by the needs of the organization (and therein lies the priorities).

Ultimately the ITOM modules or licensing ramp-up should come as a result of a planned roadmap – not the other way around.

To give a practical example, think of the difference “In 6 months, IT should be doing automatic impact analysis” compared to “In 6 months we are going to activate licenses for Service Mapping”.

The former is the driver, the latter is the result.

Simplifying the ITOM portfolio

Perhaps you are a decision-maker who is planning for ServiceNow ITOM, or perhaps you are a consultant that finds yourself embarking on the ITOM journey advising a client. Regardless of your job or purpose for being interested in an ITOM roadmap – let’s try to first simplify the ITOM portfolio.

Have a look at the blueprint below. As you can see there are many modules to take into consideration (click on the images for larger size).

Functional blueprint ServiceNow ITOM

To make things simple, regardless of which modules we are interested in – the road we take after discovery can generally be categorized in one of two areas; Business- or IT Innovation.

In this article, we will cover the first area of business innovation. One assumption before we continue is that your organization already is using ITSM and have a basic CMDB coming from ServiceNow Discovery.

Business innovation in ServiceNow – what’s that?

Business innovation might sound like a fuzzy concept made out of buzzwords, so let’s debunk what it means in the context of ServiceNow ITOM. With business innovation the primary benefits are:

  • Moving to a service-minded mindset as an organization – defining service portfolio, mapping IT services and application portfolio management. The framework encompasses everything from enterprise architects to service owners, application owners, IT staff & end-users.
  • The ability to measure, report and benchmark business KPI’s
  • Internal billing & cost calculations
  • Accurate and up-to-date mapping of IT services and what role infrastructure play in the bigger picture

Business innovation aims to have clear definitions of what services an organization provides to internal- and external users. Thanks to a service-oriented definition throughout the organization, internal billing, support, reporting & impact analysis can be made a reality (as a few examples).

In the ServiceNow ITOM language this means getting started with CSDM tightly followed by Service Mapping (to map IT services).

Avoiding budget overspend for CSDM & Service Mapping

Starting with CSDM (common service data model) and Service Mapping is an organizational effort more than anything else. As the ServiceNow team embarks on the journey to implement an application- & service portfolio, pretty much the entire organization will be involved in one capacity or another.

The bulk of the effort is coordinating between different stakeholders. Such as service owners, application owners, enterprise architects, process owners, technical staff, and the support organization. With the end-goal of defining the service- & application portfolio (including IT services).

Many organizations find this journey overwhelming and hire expensive consultants to do the work for them, but the reality is that the determining success factor is an organization’s involvement and ability to bring together, prioritize and agree upon definitions more than anything.

Average implementation time

When starting with CSDM and service mapping to build a portfolio, the time to completion might vary greatly depending on several variables (like with any project). It is essential to understand that CSDM and Service Mapping is an ongoing journey with no real end-date as such, but merely different milestones. It is expected that elements will change, iterate and be refined upon over time.

The main factor determining the implementation time and budget is the organization’s existing maturity of service awareness. An organization that already has a certain degree of “service-minded” definitions, albeit informal, will have a more comfortable journey than a fragmented organization that starts from a large legacy.

See example below:

Service Mapping Implementation time

Notice how the size of the organization necessary isn’t a variable, or play a big part. Global organizations of thousands of employees can be quicker than small regional organizations if the conditions are right.

Build- & maintaining CSDM & Service Mapping

During the build phase of “Business Innovation” typically 1 FTE is required. The primary work of this person would be to map IT services with Service Mapping. Most of the time the FTE translated to a Service Mapping Specialist familiar with the product.

There’s also an internal investment spent with agreeing on services & definitions from a broader perspective. During the maintenance phase of Service Mapping, the ongoing up-keep typically translates to 0.5 FTE.

We recommend training an in-house resource for maintaining Service Mapping and formalize the role (Service Mapping Specialist).

The cost of implementing CSDM & Service Mapping

With the right approach, consultancy companies should be engaged on a strategic “need for”-basis. For example, the initial efforts of mapping services and assisting with framework/governance structure for CSDM. Too many organizations fall into the pitfall of having consultants start to finish when it comes to CSDM. If the conditions are right, with good coordination and buy-in from leadership – consultants can be used smartly.

The majority of the budget allocation is an organization’s internal effort when defining services and engaging infrastructure teams for mapping the IT services. The cost of configuration and development is neglectable in the grand scheme of things.

Keep in mind that to utilize Service Mapping discovery must first be in place (providing a basic CMDB).

Licensing cost

From a ServiceNow licensing perspective the ITOM package called “ITOM Visibility” is the more strategic choice for most organizations, as it includes a bundle of both Discovery- & Service Mapping licenses. The rest of CSDM comes without licensing costs as it is part of the normal CMDB.

Tip: Consider combining ITOM modules for better “deals” at ServiceNow

Many organizations stuck on the CMDB plateau

We meet some clients and organizations who feel “stuck” on the basic ITSM with some discovery data in place. Often the question is how to proceed and if it pay’s off to start with CSDM & Service Mapping.

Below we can see an example of the most common setup driving the need for change.

Progressing beyond Discovery ServiceNow

To get “out of the CMDB plateau”, we suggest following the previously mentioned tips- & recommendations. They are summarized below.

  • Simplify the priorities and try categorizing them according to business- or IT innovation
  • For business innovation (CSDM & Service Mapping) the majority of the effort will be an internal one
  • Agreeing on definitions and how to describe services tend to engage multiple different teams and require much input
  • The maturity of where the organization already are in regards to service-oriented thinking will also determine the timeline
  • The most important factor is the ability to coordinate, tightly followed by leadership buy-in

Ultimately, embarking on a journey of CSDM is a cultural shift in mindset. The goal is to have the business & IT agreeing upon a standard method for describing the services they provide in the organization.

Next steps from here

Our next article will dive into the “IT Innovation” part and how it relates to business innovation. We recommend our readers to familiarize themselves with the topic by watching our webinar below about ITOM roadmaps (on-demand).

Any questions? Feel free to contact us without any strings attached.

Discovery ServiceNow ITOM

Succeeding with ServiceNow Discovery & ITOM

Having a successful discovery project is not easy, as a matter of fact, it is one of the most challenging areas of ITOM to “get right”. ServiceNow Discovery serves as one of the main tools to create a reliable data layer used in other processes. Through using discovery organizations get their meta-data, cloud/PaaS & infrastructure in order. Yet how come so many organizations fail in this endeavor? In this article we deep-dive into the most critical areas to succeed with ServiceNow Discovery.

The three strategic pillars of discovery

Discovery typically comes as an exercise for the entire enterprise and leadership team. We have chosen to categorize the different topics into three strategic pillars through our Einar & Partners experience. Each pillar is of equal importance yet many customers, enterprises, and experts focus on just a few. As the old cliché goes, sometimes one can’t see the forest from the tree’s.

Discovery Best Practice ITOM ServiceNow
Our quick reference chart of the most critical areas to keep in mind


The perhaps most important pillar is the organizational one. Discovery is not so much a technical exercise as it is organizational. Based on our experience, over 80% of failed discovery projects fails due to neglect in this area.

Security Policies

Security and discovery go hand-in-hand. It is of critical importance to align with the security team at an early stage. This is especially common if you are an organization with a lot of legacy IT. Exposing your entire infrastructure inventory in the cloud can be sensitive. Then there’s also the questions about credentials, encryption, security and access. Failure to involve the security team early might cause unpleasant discussions at best and a complete stop of the project at worst.

Political buy-in

Political buy-in does not necessarily mean the management team, although that’s also important. It’s more about finding champions within the organization that can work as diplomats. If you do not already use a discovery tool or have a CMDB, there’s a large probability that it will become a politically sensitive topic. Why? You might ask. Job security is the answer based on our experience.

When introducing a discovery tool people fear their relevancy and role. Silo’s of data is often a thinly hidden veil of a firm’s internal boundaries. Different departments within a company, afraid of relinquishing power, are loth to share their data or change what they collect and how. There for getting the political influencers and buy-in is extremely critical and one of the more difficult tasks.

Roles & Responsibilities

Expecting a successful discovery project? Then expect to allocate budget for some new roles and responsibilities. Failure to do so results in little to no accountability and frustration from co-workers who suddenly are expected to help without formal approval. Setting expectations towards the organization, assigning the right roles and who is in the driver seat is a must.


Having solid processes are critical to succeed with discovery. After all, we’re trying to coordinate potentially hundreds of data sources and stakeholders into one data lake at the end of the day. Not streamlining the processes regarding how to execute is dangerous. Thinking one can do things “ad-hoc” as the need arises? A critical mistake too many organizations fall victim to.

Access & Credentials

Tightly aligned with the security policies and team, this is one of the more critical pieces. How will credentials be created, facilitated and stored for discovery? When a new system or source is connected so must the credentials be. Following a rigid process for handling of credentials regarding discovery is a critical puzzle piece.

Firewall changes

When working with discovery there is a need to allow access and open firewalls. Some organizations have a very fragmented network or have strict segmentation. Relying on a process for how to maintain firewall openings suddenly becomes very important. The right ports, the right subnets and the right protocols must be documented and managed. Without it you’re running into the risk of constant errors, access issues and long lead-times to get a successful discovery going.

Rollout method

We’ve seen discovery projects complete in two months and we’ve seen them finish in two years. It all depends on the rollout method and how you plan around it. When rolling out discovery it can be done in many different ways. Yet one common factor is the coordination between different teams and sign-off by CI owners. Choose the right rollout method and stick to the planning.


The last pillar of the discovery strategy is to get your house in order from a technological perspective. Neglecting this part might lead to a successful discovery project but without anybody using the data or caring about it.

Scoping CI Classes

One of the first and most crucial step is to scope the appropriate CI classes. Meaning, what do we want discovery to discover for us? This determines which key stakeholders to involve. Who investigates and inspect the data, and who uses it? Having a clear scope of CI classes to include, preferably in a stepped approach is our recommendation.

Subnets and sources

Once CI classes are scoped it’s time to dig deeper into the different network segments and sources. Where is the data residing and how to we access it? Where are the credentials stored and how can we optimize the discovery schedules? If you are a global company with data centers spread across the world, multiple clouds and local differences, this exercise tends to be the most time-consuming. Optimize the discovery for which networks and sources to target (and when) ensures stability and consistency.

Sign off by CI owners

Different CI owners also have different requirements. Some owners might be concerned on the impact of the network. Others on the impact on CPU & Load. Meanwhile the third team might be worried about the data quality and individual attributes. In other words, it’s essential to have a governance process for CMDB and to have CI owners inspect and sign off discovery results. This way they also feel more connected to the project and are more likely to use the data.

Conclusion – making discovery successful

As we can see, there are many elements to a discovery rollout that need to be in place for success. The one’s mentioned above are just a few with many more puzzle pieces in the equation. More than anything it is indeed an exercise of politics, coordination and careful planning. Spending adequate time in the preparation phase is key to having a long-lasting discovery success. At Einar & Partners we recognize these elements and the sensitivity of each area. We therefore hope that our readers and clients will find this quick-guide useful moving forward in their discovery adventures. And as always, we’re here to help.