Business Service Reporting

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The concept of a business service is at the heart of IT Service Management. It calls for IT to plan, deliver, operate and control the services offered to IT business customers. Rather than thinking in terms of managing computer and applications, IT should be thinking in terms of the services it provides to the business.

The ServiceNow CMDB defines hierarchical relationships of configuration items such as servers and application that are organized into business services that business customers of IT would recognize.

Business service reporting.png

This hierarchy has the potential of relating items such as computers to the business services that they enable. Moreover, we would like to use this hierarchy to relate incidents, changes, and outages to business services.

Although the CMDB has the information, reporting on hierarchies is practically impossible with most reporting tools, especially when the hierarchy is not bound to one or two levels.

To enable Business Service Reporting, Explore Analytics has two specialized sets of capabilities: Business Service Field and Business Service Filter. Together, these sets of capabilities will allow items to be rolled-up to their business services, to select business services, and report on them.

Business Service Field

Business Service Field – given a configuration item or reference to a configuration item (such as in a change request), a Business Service Field locates the upstream business service(s) for this configuration item and displays any field of that business service. When searching upstream, we could look for specific types of items, not only business services, but perhaps application environments and more.

Business Service Filter

Business Service Filter – any view on a table with a configuration item can be filtered for items that belong to selected business services. You can say thing like "configuration item belong to service Trading" or "configuration item is downstream from application WebMail", or even "configuration item belongs to any critical business service".


Configuration Item (CI)

Any item in the ServiceNow CMDB is a configuration item. This includes computers and virtual machines, applications, business services, and many other types of items. All these items are listed in the Configuration Item table (cmdb_ci).

Business Service

In the ServiceNow CMDB, business services are listed in the Business Service table (cmdb_ci_service). More specific kinds of business services may be defined by creating tables that extend the Business Service table. One such table is the Service Offering table (service_offering).

CMDB Hierarchy

The ServiceNow CMDB defines hierarchical relationships between configuration items. A relationship is between two configuration items in which one is the parent and one is the child. These are defined in the CMDB Relationship table (cmdb_rel_ci).

Upstream from / Downstream from

As previously mentioned, the CMDB hierarchy is defined in terms of parent and child (or by extension, an ancestor and descendant). Although it’s quite arbitrary, we defined the ancestor to be upstream from the descendant. We generally say that the items downstream belong to the items upstream and also that the items downstream impact the items upstream. The items upstream depend on the items downstream from them.

Belongs to

In the CMDB, we say that a CI belongs to a business service if the CI is downstream from the business service.

Class of CI, Type of CI

Each configuration item (CI) has a class (field sys_class_name) that tells us the type of CI and the name of the CMDB table to which it belongs. For example, a class of “Computer” tells us that the CI is a computer and can be found in the Computer table (cmdb_ci_computer). In particular, a business service is also a specific class of CI called Business Service (cmdb_ci_service).

Depth / Levels

In the CMDB hierarchy, we say that the depth of an item is the number of relationships downstream. For example, a child is at a depth of 1 from its immediate parent. When we follow relationships upstream, we similarly say that a parent is 1 level above its immediate child.

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