Understanding the fundamental differences between CSM and TPSM

4 minute read

Over the last year, I’ve been having a lot of conversations with customers who are either preparing to begin a ServiceNow implementation, or are reviewing their strategy for the coming years. These conversations naturally cover a wide range of capabilities in the ServiceNow platform. One of the most common scenarios in late 2022, and so far in 2023, has been about whether to implement Customer Service Management (CSM) or Technology Provider Service Management (TPSM).  


Based on my experiences so far, I wanted to walk you through what each product delivers and how this will change the scope of your implementation. The aim is to help you make a more informed decision. 



  • Playbooks
    Playbooks in ServiceNow allows an organisation to create a pre-defined workflow that can be used to support customer service. It presents a number of steps in a logical order to ensure the process is being followed at all times.
  • Omnichannel
    Omnichannel engagement connects customers to the organisation across various service channels whether they be digital or analogue. It considers how a customer can use a portal, submitting a case and then initiating a chat either with a chat bot or agent. Regardless of the channel, the agent will have access to see the previous activities and address them easily in a integrated fashion.
  • AWA (Advanced Work Assignment)
    AWA supports customer service teams with a platform that performs workload management. Gone are the days when a team leader would sit in a mailbox and assign work by hand and capability via skills or capacity. You can allow the platform to intelligently distribute any incoming queries.
  • Outsourced Customer Service
    In the event that your organisation either currently outsources aspects of your customer support, or is planning to in the future, ServiceNow allows your outsourced service provider to utilise your platform to deliver customer service in your instance.


  • Service Bridge
    Comprised of various capabilities, the Service Bridge functions enable customers to easily and seamlessly work with other customers and partners who already use ServiceNow.
  • Onboarding
    No longer do you have to spend weeks defining, investigating and negotiating how to setup an integration between your instance and another. Rapid onboarding allows providers and customers to easily create a request, receive instructions and guided steps to setup the integration.
  • Remote Catalog
    As a provider of services, you can setup and manage the services that customers are able to order or request. You can create this in your instance and entitled customers can request it via their own instance. Updates that you both place are automatically synchronised between instances.
  • Remote Task
    Similar to Remote Catalog, Remote Task allows providers to define what tasks can be created in their instance from a customer’s instance, e.g., an incident or case. Again, this capability provides bi-directional updates and synchronisation.
  • Proactive Notifications
    Utilising ITOM (IT Operations Management), this capability provides an onboarded customer with an automated case creation in their own instance – based on alerts created in your provider instance.
  • Advanced Product Catalog
    This capability further deepens the capabilities of the Product Catalog to enable organisations to define service, resource and composition rules.


What do you need to run TPSM as a service?

Implementing TPSM, and then providing services from it, requires a well-defined governance structure as well as ServiceNow administration expertise. The level required can vary based on the complexity and scale of the implementation, but generally speaking, it is advisable to have the following things in place:

  • A defined offering
    We often see businesses that haven't defined their own products and services, even though they sell the products and services – so clearly outlining them is key.
  • An understanding of the customer
    Identify what your customer can actually request from your organisation and then work out how to facilitate that back into their own instance. Remember, it’s all about self-service. It’s not about ringing someone up; it's about going onto a portal and being served accordingly.
  • Governance framework
    Establish a governance framework to define roles, responsibilities and processes for managing TPSM’s Service Bridge as a service. This ensures clear accountability and efficient execution.
  • Dedicated ServiceNow administrator
    Assign a dedicated ServiceNow administrator who possesses expertise in managing Service Bridge. This individual will be responsible for configuring, maintaining and optimising the capabilities instance to align with the business requirements.
  • Training and support
    Provide comprehensive training to the internal team to ensure they have the necessary skills to manage Service Bridge effectively. Additionally, establish channels for ongoing support and knowledge sharing to address any issues or challenges that may arise.


When to consider adopting TPSM over CSM

CSM is a robust platform for customer service management – and a solid foundation for running a successful contact centre, whether that is by itself or in combination with ITSM (IT Service Management) capabilities. However, TPSM becomes an attractive option in certain scenarios, depending on the business’s specific goals and overall maturity.

And maturity is key. At Crossfuze, we see customers who are new to ServiceNow and immediately opt for TPSM – but then struggle to articulate the use case for why they need it compared to a ‘standard’ CSM implementation. Here, we naturally begin to ask questions: Is your business ready? Do you already have a customer catalog? How many customers do you need to bond with using Service Bridge?

Our advice would be to consider adopting TPSM when collaborating with external partners, customers and vendors. That’s because its extended eBonding capabilities facilitate real-time data exchange and collaboration with external stakeholders, ensuring a more integrated service experience. TPSM is also good for emphasising self-service and customer empowerment because of its ability to publish the provider catalog into the customer's catalog. And TPSM is great for streamlining the customer journey thanks to automatic updates within the customer's own instances as mentioned above.

Last but not least, by using TPSM’s Service Bridge application, it’s possible to seamlessly connect enterprise customer and partner ServiceNow instances to streamline business processes. You can reimagine customer experiences, unlock new revenue opportunities with remote catalog publishing, drive down integration costs, and scale cost-effectively with connected service and support experiences across the ecosystem.

However, in my opinion, it’s not really about which product is more capable. It’s about which one is most relevant for your business, its maturity and your specific needs. Only then will you be able to harness the full potential of either platform – and elevate your customer service by delivering exceptional experiences in the digital era.

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