IT Service Management vs Enterprise Service Management: Understanding the Difference

IT Service Management is the practice of managing IT operations as a service, but in an enterprise organization IT is rarely the only group that offers services. That’s where Enterprise Service Management (ESM) comes in. The issue in many enterprise settings, however, is not everyone has an organized system for requests in the same way IT does. What does this mean? Without a formal service management process in place, you risk losing the following:

  • Accountability: Who is responsible for what? Are requests being completed on time? Without proper assignment and tracking processes, answers to these questions get very blurry.
  • Visibility: Staff members seem busy and appear to be meeting responsibilities. But it is challenging and time-intensive to stop and precisely identify what is complete and what is still outstanding or even past due.
  • Clarity: Lack of clarity can lead to over-committing and, ultimately, disappointing stakeholders.
  • Paths Toward Improvement: The status quo stands a high chance of going unchanged when there is not a clear view of what is working versus what is not. It often takes highly visible process breakdowns to identify areas of improvement, leading to a perpetually reactive environment.

ESM helps to fill in the gaps and address these areas, leading to better efficiency, lower operation costs, improved service levels and increased satisfaction.

Bringing ITSM and ESM Together on One Platform

In an organizational setting, the idea of ESM is often introduced through IT so it’s important that the platform you chose to run your ESM works well for ITSM. The goal with an ESM platform is to have ONE central hub for all services, both internally and externally. This means employees and customers have a single place to go to for IT support; to ask an HR question; reserve equipment; or submit a name change.

A well-designed ESM platform has functionality sophisticated enough for an organization’s IT service management needs, BUT is easy enough to understand and use for all departments. With the right vendor – HR, Marketing, Sales, Legal and IT can all use the same ESM tool for their needs.

Enterprise Service Management helps to fill in the gaps, leading to better efficiency, lower operation costs, improved service levels and increased satisfaction.

Getting ESM Buy-In Across Departments

To successfully implement ESM across your organization every department or group needs a solution built purposely for them. Follow these do’s and don’ts to set your organization up for success:

  • Don’t just take an ITSM platform being used within your IT department and try to scale it across each group. It won’t work.
  • Do meet with each department or group prior to implementing an ESM solution and settle on the processes and functionalities they need.
  • Don’t assume that each department has the same language as IT for each process. Marketing might not use the terminology “submit a ticket” for example.
  • Do ask each group or department for a list of their commonly used terms and how they correspond to the actions they’ll be taking when using the ESM platform.
  • Don’t over complicated or try to over process the ESM platform.
  • Do make your ESM accessible and easy to use. For an ESM implementation to be successful, you’ll want departments and groups to be able to fully utilize the platform WITHOUT reliance on IT for support.

Want to learn how enterprise companies are using ESM to level up their ITSM operations and scale their service management offerings? Check out these customer stories:

To learn more about how you can work better together with IT Service Management and Enterprise Service Management visit

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