The following serves as a glossary of commonly-referenced terms within the Asset Management Program.


See “IT Asset” and “IT Asset Management”. “Asset” may be used as shorthand for the IT Asset Management practice. (Assets, generically, are broader than IT Assets, so it is preferable to specify IT Assets.)


Information about each Configuration Item (CI) is stored as an attribute on that CI. An attribute is the field or column in the database table where CIs are stored. Example of attributes are serial number, location, assigned to, and warranty expiration date.


In ServiceNow, the group of Configuration Items (CIs) that share attributes and are stored in their own table are called Classes. Interchangeable with “type” and “classification” of CI. Classes may contain subclasses to allow for more specific tracking to inherit properties. Examples of classes are Server, Computer, and Printer. An example of a class and a subclass is Server (class) and Windows Server (subclass).

Common Services Data Model

The CSDM is a standardized set of terms and their definitions that can be used with all ServiceNow products, primarily the CMDB. The CSDM framework provides guidelines for using base system tables, service modeling, and service reporting.

Configuration Item

A component of an information system and the fundamental unit in a CMDB. A CI can be any conceivable IT component, including software, hardware, documentation, and personnel, as well as the way in which each CI is configured, and any relationship or dependencies among them. A CI’s attributes may include class, owner, and location.

Configuration Management

Also called Service Configuration Management, Configuration Management is an ITIL practice whose purpose is to keep accurate and reliable information about the configuration of services and their components and to make that information available when and where needed. Configuration Management does not itself configure or manage the computers; that is what management tools such as MECM do. Components of services are called Configuration Items and may be hardware and software. The CMDB is the Configuration Management Database and is where details about Configuration Items and their relationships are stored.

Configuration Management Database

A database that contains all relevant information about the hardware and software components used in the organization’s IT services and the relationships between those components. The fundamental unit in a CMDB is a Configuration Item (CI). The CMDB used at WashU is the ServiceNow CMDB.


The process of identifying IT infrastructure (hardware and software) installed throughout the organization. ServiceNow‘s Discovery application scans the WashU network to identify IT hardware that is connected to the network, and stores the information about these devices in its CMDB. Discoverable information is typically Configuration Item data and not necessarily asset data such as financial costs and dates, ownership, and history.

End User Computer

Typically refers to a computer that is used by one or more end users. In the ServiceNow CMDB taxonomy, this falls under the Computer class. Contrast this type of computer with a Server.

End User Device

Refers to any IT device that is used by one or more end users. This is a broader class of devices than “End User Computer“. End User Devices, for example, include laptops, phones, and Smart Watches; whereas End User Computers include only computers such as laptops and desktops. In ServiceNow CMDB taxonomy, End User Devices span multiple classes.

Hardware Asset Management

The discipline of Hardware Asset Management (HAM), which is a subset of the IT Asset Management (ITAM) practice that deals specifically with IT hardware. HAM describes the processes, tools, and strategies of managing the physical components of computers and related systems. ServiceNow‘s Hardware Asset Management application (aka “HAM Pro”) provides advanced workflow, automation, and mobile capabilities to maintain IT assets.

Information Technology Service Management

IT Service Management (ITSM) is a set of policies and practices for implementing, delivering and managing IT services for end users in a way that meets the stated needs of end users and the stated goals of the business. The WashU Service Management Office (SMO) owns the practices of and processes for IT Asset Management (ITAM) and Service Configuration Management.


The process of accounting for and listing IT assets. Included in the inventory database is vital information such as (for hardware) manufacturer, model, serial number, cost, and warranty expiration date and (for software) software title, units licensed, units installed, vendor, and category. ServiceNow uses the CMDB as its inventory database.

IT Asset

Any IT component, including hardware and software, that provides value and contributes to the delivery of an IT product or service. Examples of IT Assets may be servers, network switches, point-of-sale devices, software, and certificates.

IT Asset Management

IT Asset Management (ITAM) is a set of business practices that incorporates IT assets across the business units within the organization. It joins the financial, inventory, contractual and risk management responsibilities to manage the overall life cycle of these assets including tactical and strategic decision making.

Life Cycle

The sequence of stages that an IT asset goes through during the time span of its ownership by an organization. Life cycle stages typically begin at acquisition and end at disposal.

Medical Device

For IT Asset Management purposes, a medical device is a networked medical device used in clinical or medical research settings. A medical device may access, store, and share patient information.

Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager

Formerly called SCCM, MECM is the management platform for Windows endpoints (mainly providing software distribution and Active Directory policies). It is a key component of Configuration Item data that gets imported into ServiceNow.

Network Device

Network devices, or networking hardware, are physical devices that are used for communication and interaction between hardware on a computer network. Common network devices include hubs, switches, routers, and access points.


Data normalization is a best practice that organizes data to appear similar across all records and fields, which increases the quality of data and results in standardized information. In ServiceNow, records for items like devices and companies are brought into ServiceNow by manual entry, imports, and Discovery. Depending on how it is introduced into ServiceNow, a field value might appear in several different forms. For example, a company name may appear as Dell, Dell Inc., DELL, or Dell Technologies, which would all be “normalized” into a single consistent name (in this case, Dell Inc.) HAM Pro and SAM Pro include more detailed normalization patterns that rely on content services from ServiceNow.

Refresh Reports

A report that shows each asset, who it is assigned to, and the date that it should be replaced. When a group or person wants to manage their group’s assets, part of what they need to know is when each asset is due for “refresh,” supporting budgeting and life cycle activities.


A computer that processes requests from and provides a technical service to another computer, application, and/or user. Typically a component of a service. In the ServiceNow CMDB taxonomy, this falls under the Server class which is nested under the Computer class. Contrast this type of computer with an End User Computer.


A means of delivering value to customers by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve, but without the ownership of specific costs and risks. Within the ServiceNow CMDB, a service is further classified as a Business Service, Technical Service, or Application Service. A service is comprised of a collection of related components (such as applications and servers). Examples of services relating to IT Asset Management might be: Asset Inventory, Software Licensing.


A workflow management platform that conforms to ITIL standards. WashU uses ServiceNow for ticketing, catalog requests, IT Asset Management, and Configuration Management, among other uses.

Software Asset Management

The discipline of Software Asset Management (SAM), which is a subset of the IT Asset Management (ITAM) practice. SAM is a framework and set of processes for strategically tracking and managing the financial, licensing, contractual, compliance, and risk aspects of IT software assets through their life cycle. ServiceNow’s Software Asset Management (aka “SAM Pro”) application systematically tracks, evaluates, and manages software licenses, compliance, and optimization. SAM Pro provides features such as reclaiming unused software licenses and and managing allocations for entitlements.