Enterprise Service Management (ESM) is the next evolution of ITSM. ESM has been around for decades but only recently found popularity thanks to the release of ITIL4 and other service management frameworks that focus on creating business value through co-creation between customers, partners, and employee collaboration. In this blog, I’ll be taking a look at what ESM is, how it can benefit your organization, and how you can start developing effective ESM in your organization.

ESM was used in ITIL back in the 90’s

ITIL4 uses the Service Value System approach to promote ESM, which is defined as "an approach in which services are viewed as a set of activities and capabilities that add value to customers and other stakeholders" (ITIL 2011). The focus of ESM is on maximizing business value through co-creation, which can be achieved by designing, developing, implementing, and managing service models within an organization. In this way, you can create a common understanding between different departments and ensure that employees work together for a common goal - and break down silos as a result!

In other words: What used to be silos between business units and IT departments are broken down through collaboration. This collaboration can happen between different teams within an organization as well as between different organizations themselves. Sort of like when you are on Slack and get into heated debates about that incredibly specific topic, your team cares about.

Understanding Enterprise Service Management

So what exactly is ESM? It is a framework that allows you to break down the silos in your organization and create a culture of innovation and co-creation. To understand how important this concept is for organizations, I need to tell you about something called the "silo effect." It describes how one department in a company works in isolation from other departments and does not share information with them because it believes that keeping it secret will benefit its own department the most. 

For example, if Marketing only shares information with Sales, they will never know of any new opportunities emerging in the marketplace that would help them sell more products. They will just simply continue to sell what they have been doing without considering other factors that could impact their business strategy or revenue potential, leaving them behind the competition that has already taken advantage of this opportunity(s).

Another example would be when IT teams work on projects, based only on what works best for them rather than considering user experience or addressing customer needs at a large level (e.g., making sure all users can access their applications securely). Since these teams only care about internal resources instead of understanding first-hand the needs of their customers (something that could potentially improve the user experience), this leads to low productivity levels in these departments - which leads to frustration among the employees working in these silos!

To enable ESM within your organization, you need to understand what is important to users and stakeholders - and not just from an IT-centric perspective. To do this, we recommend you ask yourself these three questions:

  1. What business value does this service provide?
  2. How does it impact the organization's mission?
  3. How does it impact the organization's brand and reputation?

By understanding the importance of products and services to the organization's mission, we can begin to break down silos and find more holistic solutions to meet customers' needs.

This is where the SVS approach comes in, as it clearly focuses on meeting customer needs through service delivery. An SVS approach focuses on delivering a value proposition that is aligned with both business strategy and operational efficiency. It helps executives understand which services are important to achieving their strategic goals and how they should be delivered. This enables them to make informed decisions about investments in IT infrastructure, processes, people, and other resources needed to deliver a superior customer experience across multiple channels.

It's about nurturing people, culture and technology

People: They stand at the heart of ESM and are your most valuable asset for ESM. They make up your culture, where we work together to achieve our goals. The more we work with each other (and our customers) effectively, the more successful we'll be as a company.

Culture: How do you want to work? What kind of environment do you want for your employees? The answer should be unique to every company, because each one has its own characteristics and culture that needs to be nurtured and supported by an IT strategy that empowers employees.

Technology: It enables us to communicate faster than ever before, process large amounts of data effortlessly, automate processes so that they run themselves rather than requiring human intervention between steps, and share information across silos so that everyone can see what everyone else sees.

One of the most successful use cases for ESM to date has to be in HR organizations, where many organizations now use cloud-based tools to simplify the employee onboarding process.

Other areas where we see continued interest in ESM include:

  • Incident management - Customer Service teams are realizing the benefits of managing customer issues across all channels (phone, email and chat) on one platform.
  • Service Desk - With a dynamic ITSM tool, you not only streamline communication between different groups in your organization, but also provide better service at every stage of your business lifecycle by ensuring better customer support from day one.

The ultimate goal of adopting ESM is agility

Think of this as the difference between working out at home and going to a gym. Sure, at the gym you have better equipment at your disposal. But you also tend to fall for more distractions. The key to success in your ESM journey is to set realistic goals before you begin. Your first step should be to define the problem you're trying to solve (in this case, the silos in your organization) and then decide what metrics (or goals) will best measure whether or not the problem has been solved.

What are some examples of specific fitness goals? You could try to run 5 kilometers in 30 minutes by next month, or do 50 push-ups in under 2 minutes by 6 months from now. These are ambitious but achievable goals that can be objectively measured with enough practice and commitment.

The principles of ITSM can be applied to the entire organization, not just IT. The goal is to break down silos, find better ways of working, and fulfill the mission of the organization. But if you think of ESM as "just another process," you should reconsider your stance. Having an ESM strategy isn't just about implementing change management or service desk processes. It's about changing the way organizations think about their customers, services and value.

The world has changed

Technological advances have made it easier to communicate across distances than ever before, which is good news for companies looking to expand their customer base, while also reducing travel costs. Employees from around the world can collaborate on a project in real-time and make important decisions together without having to be present in a single location. A big advantage for small companies or startups that don't have access to expensive conference rooms or international travel budgets.

The business world as we know it today is very different than it was ten years ago: Companies are less likely to rely on traditional infrastructures like servers or hard drives, opting instead for cloud-based services that store all data centrally rather than locally on individual computers (the so-called "serverless" model). This makes software updates a breeze, as there are no hardware dependencies for operating systems like Windows 10 or macOS. Instead, they can simply be downloaded directly from the browser.

What is Enterprise Service Management or ESM?

ESM is a way to manage services across the enterprise and break down silos between teams and departments - creating a culture of co-creation and innovation where people, technologies and processes work together seamlessly. The goal of ESM is to empower people, culture and technology so that they can all work together in harmony.

How do we get started with ESM?

In today's rapidly changing business environment, ESM has become a crucial tool for organizations to break down silos, create value, and support their missions. Now let's explore how to get started with ESM.

  1. Understand the problem: Before implementing ESM, it's important to understand the specific problems and pain points you're trying to solve. This involves assessing the current state of your service management practices, identifying areas for improvement, and setting clear goals for what you want to achieve with ESM.
  2. Identify the stakeholders: ESM involves bringing together different teams and departments within an organization, so it's important to identify all of the stakeholders involved. This includes not just IT, but also other business units that may be impacted by the service as well. It's important to understand their needs, requirements, and expectations in order to create a service that meets their needs.
  3. Define the service: Once you've identified the stakeholders, you can start defining the service that you want to create. This involves developing a clear understanding of the scope of the service, what it will deliver, and how it will be delivered. It's important to document this information in a service catalog that can be shared with stakeholders.
  4. Create a roadmap: With the service defined, you can start creating a roadmap that outlines the steps needed to implement ESM. This includes identifying the resources needed, defining the timeline, and setting milestones for progress. The roadmap should be reviewed regularly and adjusted as needed to ensure that the project stays on track.
  5. Start with a pilot project: Finally, it's a good idea to start with a pilot project to test the service in a controlled environment before rolling it out to the entire organization. This allows you to identify any issues or challenges that need to be addressed before scaling up. It also gives stakeholders the opportunity to provide feedback and help shape the service before it goes live.

The first services that came to my mind…

From managing employee onboarding and payroll to keeping networks and facilities up and running, organizations rely on a variety of services to support their operations. So let's explore some of the most common services, including IT, Facilities management, HR, Customer service, Finance, Marketing, Legal, Research & Development, and Training & Development. We'll look at what these services involve and how they contribute to organizational success.

  • HR services like employee onboarding, payroll management, and benefits administration.
  • IT services such as help desk support, network maintenance, and software updates.
  • Facilities management services like building maintenance, security, and cleaning.
  • Customer service support such as complaint resolution, order processing, and product returns.
  • Financial services such as accounting, budgeting, and invoicing.
  • Marketing services like advertising, social media management, and brand strategy.
  • Legal services such as contract drafting, regulatory compliance, and dispute resolution.
  • Research & Development services like product design, prototyping, and testing.
  • Training & Development services such as employee training programs, leadership development, and coaching.

Services play a critical role in supporting organizational success by helping meet the needs of various stakeholders. From IT and Facilities management to HR and Customer service, each service has its own unique contribution to make. By understanding the different services available and how they can be effectively implemented, organizations can achieve their goals and thrive in today's competitive business environment.

What's in it for your organization?

As you may have guessed, the goal of breaking down silos is to improve your organization in many ways. But what's in it for you and your business?

  • Becoming more Agile: As we mentioned earlier, siloed systems can make it difficult for an organization to respond quickly and efficiently to changes in its environment. If your team has to go through lengthy negotiations every time you change processes or workflows, this becomes more problematic as the pace of change increases.
  • Improve the customer experience: In a customer-facing organization, there are likely to be several departments that interact directly with customers on a regular basis (e.g., Sales), as well as support teams that deal with user issues or complaints (e.g the Service Desk). If these internal departments receive conflicting information about customer accounts, they may end up providing an inconsistent experience to customers - bad news for anyone who cares about customer satisfaction!
  • Improve employee satisfaction: Employees ultimately want two things from their employers: stability and autonomy over their own work processes - not just stability, but also some creativity within those parameters. The more freedom employees have in completing their tasks, the more satisfied they're overall. Unfortunately, this often means companies must do away with traditional silos so that employees aren't restricted by rigid processes (or don't have access to needed information).

By breaking down silos within an organization, not only can they become more Agile and improve the customer experience, but they also foster an environment where employees feel empowered to creatively tackle tasks and take ownership of their work - leading to a more satisfied and productive workforce.

Why should I care about ESM?

If you're wondering why you should even bother with ESM, we have good news for you:

  • It helps break down silos. Silos are bad. They make it harder to get things done because they hide all the valuable information that would otherwise be available if everyone had access to each other's work and expertise. This is especially true with IT, where many different teams have a vested interest in what is created, maintained and supported by an Enterprise Service Platform (ESP).
  • It brings different stakeholders and teams together into a cohesive unit that can add real value to the entire enterprise. When people work together on projects (rather than in parallel or hierarchically), they see the connections between their work - connections that couldn't otherwise be made because most organizations today (or even five years ago) are siloed.

Service management connects people, processes and technology

You may be asking yourself, "If Service management is a holistic approach, what does it have to do with my department?"

The answer is simple: Everything. Service management breaks down the silos between people and processes to create agile service that meets the needs of your business and its customers. It brings everyone together - including IT - to collaborate on a single platform that creates an open environment for innovation, co-creation and continuous improvement.

Create a culture of innovation and co-creation

What does that mean? To break down silos and bring together diverse stakeholders and teams, you need to be able to identify what works well and what doesn't, and then provide the tools necessary for everyone to use those insights in the future. With an ESM tool, you can do this in real-time, making it easier to manage your organization as a whole more efficiently.

Equipping your employees with data management capabilities also creates an environment where they feel empowered because they can make decisions based on facts rather than gut feelings or speculation.

Closing thoughts

The world is changing, and it's time for ITSM to change with it. ESM enables organizations to break down silos, bring together diverse stakeholders and teams, and create real business value. The ultimate goal of an effective ESM strategy is to create an agile, pervasive service that supports the organization's mission - not just within IT, but across all departments, teams, and functions of the business itself.

Published: May 24, 2023

Updated: May 1, 2024