What is Enterprise Service Management?

The concept of Enterprise Service Management (ESM) is derived from IT Service Management (ITSM).

ESM is simply the application of IT Service Management (ITSM) principles to the delivery of business functions outside of IT.  ESM empowers a company's internal departments and teams such as HR, finance and marketing to seamlessly work together towards better and more efficient service delivery.

In short, ESM is a result of the digitalisation of organisations where all departments rely on IT solutions to improve their service delivery. Service management is at the core of offering ESM solutions.

It should be noted, however, that ESM is not just about using business management software. It is about extending the best practices of the service management process to the whole enterprise. Technology and software are mere facilitators for this process. For it to work, it needs to be managed from the top down.

Examples of ESM:

  • A centralised HR service desk that all the employees use 

  • A self-service employee onboarding platform for new hires

  • A self-service portal for applying for leave of absence, etc.

  • An automated ticketing system for employees

  • A knowledge base or knowledge management system

The primary purpose of ESM is to:

  • Streamline business processes

  • Facilitate cross-department collaboration

  • Improve service delivery

  • Improve employee satisfaction

  • Improve customer experience

 What is the difference between ESM and ITSM?

ESM and ITSM are similar in the way they function. However, ESM relies on different departments within an organisation that must work in tandem to deliver a coherent service. This means collaboration between other business functions and sharing of workflows and processes.

Other key areas of difference: 

  • ESM focuses more on the end user than ITSM. It is not just about automating tasks but also improving the overall experience.

  • ESM does not focus on technology as much as it does on people and processes.

  • ESM has a broader scope than ITSM.

Why is Enterprise Service Management important?

Enterprise Service Management is important because it helps organisations improve their efficiency and effectiveness by providing them with tools and resources to automate and streamline their business processes.

It can help businesses reduce costs, increase productivity, improve customer satisfaction and make better decisions.

The benefits of Enterprise Service Management

According to a survey, improving customer experience was one of the main drivers for adopting ESM (Source 1 - HDI -State of Enterprise Service Management, Source 2 - Microfocus). And that makes sense. Because if your internal processes are tightly in place, you are no longer bogged down by manual processes or paper trails. You have streamlined your workflow so that you can spend less time doing things manually and more time focusing on what really matters. That said, there are many other benefits of using ESM.

Improved employee satisfaction

When you give your employees the technology and tools in the form of ESM to improve their own performance, they will be happier and more productive.

Enhanced employee productivity

When employees are happy and satisfied, they are more productive at work. The by-product of this is lower staff turnover.

Reduced operational costs

One of the biggest advantages of ESM is the reduction of operating costs.

Improved decision making

By delivering services with ESM, you have clear visibility of your operations. The upside of this is that once you have a clear view of how your business works, you can make better decisions.

ESM also facilitates better collaboration between different departments which results in higher efficiency in decision making.

Improved service levels

ESM provides structured, robust, and efficient processes to deliver services at all levels. That means improved internal services to employees and better services to customers. ESM also facilitates engagement and collaboration across the company and enhances employee morale.

Increased customer satisfaction

You can create a more positive customer experience when you streamline your entire organisation’s operations.

Why should your business adopt ESM?

Usually, businesses are averse to adopting new tools and technologies. If the status quo is working well, there's no need to change it. Or is there?

The post-Covid business landscape is complicated. New challenges have emerged that require dynamic and agile solutions. And that's where ESM comes into play.

Enterprise Service Management allows business functions to join up or integrate seamlessly for the overall benefit of the organisation. This enables companies to adapt quickly to changing circumstances.

So instead of being stuck in the same old ways, you can embrace new opportunities and take advantage of new technologies.


How do I know whether my business needs ESM?

There are five questions you can ask yourself to determine whether you need ESM:

  • Do I want to improve the customer experience?

  • Do I want to empower my employees?

  • Am I looking for cost savings?

  • Am I looking to join up your organisation?

  • Is my business ready for digital transformation?

If you answered yes to all these questions, then you are probably ready to embrace ESM.

But before you implement any solution, you need to take thorough stock of your existing systems and processes. Once you've got an idea of where you are now, you'll be able to identify the gaps between where you are now and where you want to go. And once you know what you need to do, you can start implementing the right solution.

How to get started with ESM?

Adopting ESM into your organisation is a long-term commitment. You cannot have all the systems and processes up and running overnight. Going about it in a phased manner is likely to be more effective and sustainable.

Start with a single department

Before you implement ESM across the board, start small. Start with just one department. This way, you can test the waters and see how it goes. For example, you could start with marketing or customer service.

Next, look at one specific process or task within your chosen department. For example, if you're starting with marketing, you might focus on lead generation. This will give you a good understanding of how ESM can help you align your processes.

Find the right Enterprise Service Management tool

Adopting ESM involves figuring out the right ESM tools to suit your business needs. There are many types of ESM software available today. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses.

You may find that some of these tools work best for certain departments while others work better for others. It's important to consider each tool's capabilities when choosing which ones to use.

Can ESM be implemented in any organisation?

ESM can be implemented in all types and sizes of organisations. Whether it's the service industry, hospitality, retail, manufacturing, healthcare, government, education, or non-profit, there are plenty of ways to apply ESM.

If your organisation is lost in the quagmire of silos and legacy technology, poor governance and inefficiency, ESM could be the answer.

Be aware that implementing ESM requires a strong culture of collaboration, open communication, and shared responsibility for it to make a difference. ESM is a great fit for organisations that are willing to invest in their people and processes. If you don't already have those things in place, then you won't reap the benefits.



Why is ESM popping up in business conversations now?

ESM has been around for a long time., However, a lot of vendors have been pushing ITSM tools to non-ITSM customers. And with the growing focus on business-IT integration, it is gradually dawning on organisations that IT’s success stories in managing services can be emulated to deliver business value.

What is ITIL?

ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) is one of the most popular ITSM best practice frameworks. It is a set of practices for aligning operations and services in IT Service Management (ITSM).

How are artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning incorporated into ESM?

Through AI, business processes can be optimised and automated, network-attached assets and cloud applications can be discovered and managed better, and cyber-security and information security can be enhanced. By integrating data across business units, providing common tools, and increasing visibility, AI can enhance Enterprise Service Management.


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