Laying the Foundation for Enterprise Service Management

It’s not uncommon for organizations with successfully implemented IT Service Management (ITSM) strategies to explore expanding service management outside of just IT. In fact, it’s becoming more and more common. According to a recent market study, 38 percent of respondents said expanding their service delivery to encompass Enterprise Service Management (ESM) is one of the most critical trends for the next 12-24 months.

While the study shows that currently, only about three in ten organizations have a formal ESM program to leverage ITSM principles outside of IT, work on this front is clearly underway. Even though many respondents said they don’t practice ESM now, half the organizations have extended their ITSM or ticketing platform for use in managing work in other departments and approximately a quarter of organizations say they’ve deployed ESM in more than two departments outside of IT.

What is Enterprise Service Management? ESM is a fancy term for working better together – that’s all. In any organization, there are many moving parts – all of which need to fit together and many of which are disjointed. Getting help in this environment can be daunting. For example, what if you need to change your name, request a parking permit, ask for a new monitor, or tell someone that all the lights in your office are blinking on and off every time you sit down? 

A Centralized Service Hub for All

To envision what ESM can do for your organization, first close your eyes and imagine a central hub – like an Intranet. You go there and there are big buttons for things you want to request – like “Request IT Service” or “Request a Parking Permit.” There could even be a library of information so that you can read about how to potentially purchase your own monitor and chargeback, or you can read about how to fix your blinking voicemail light. This central hub is your company’s core brain – it’s a library or knowledge base of critical information with embedded “HELP ME” buttons that will automatically route your service request to the right place.

Human Resources Use Case

Human Resources often serves as a great use case example because literally, everyone in the company relies on HR for both information and service delivery. Services could be a request to change a name, to add a dependent, to change an address or even to report a compliance issue. If you were to go to the hub and enter the HR hub area, there could be a combination of indexed articles that will inform, as well as hot buttons. On the other end, HR can easily configure the hot buttons to route information or even trigger workflow actions. You can read about more HR use cases here.

Once ESM is implemented you will be able to offer your internal and external customers the nirvana of going to one place for all their service needs.

Marketing Use Case

Another example of how this could be leveraged is within marketing. Often sales or other groups will have requests from marketing – maybe they want the logo file – well that’s easy enough, it could be embedded in an article in the library, and anyone can download it. It could also be a request for creative support – maybe to create a postcard or a sign. For this, there could be a “Creative Support” button and from there the form would ask for critical information related to the creative request. You can read about more marketing use cases here.


For years organizations tried to take ITSM platforms and turn them into ESM platforms. Not surprisingly this would fail, with the biggest pushback coming from the various departments outside of IT being forced to use the ITSM platform. Why? Usually, these departments felt they were being forced into using a tool that didn’t fit their needs and had terminology and functionality that didn’t translate and apply to their department’s specific processes, tasks and requests. Since then, much has been learned and many ITSM platforms have extended and expanded their ESM capabilities. When selecting an ITSM platform for your organization – with ESM on your roadmap – you should consider the following in order to be successful:

  • IT still needs a true ITSM platform: For the IT group, you need a full-blown ITSM platform that can support ITIL with change management, asset management, a service portal, knowledge base and much more. These boxes need to be checked before extending across the enterprise.
  • Easy and Fast to Spin Up New Applications: Gaining traction across the enterprise means that the platform needs to be easy to use, own and operate. What does this mean? To start, spinning up a new area for Marketing or HR for example cannot take highly technical resources – it should be easy to quickly spin up a new app.
  • No Coding / No Scripting: Configuration should be done via screens. Nobody in HR or Marketing wants to be heavily reliant on IT, nor does IT want to take on yet another project. So, the configuration of the new app needs to be something that can be done on the screen.
  • Click and Drag Portal Design: If you want to make a new form that is “Request Name Change” and add specific fields to this form, give it a nice name, hook it up to the central portal with a nice big orange button – these are all things that the HR team should be able to do themselves, without the need for IT support.

Enterprise Service Management needs to be easy and sustainable to take off.  Once it does, it will offer your internal and external customers the nirvana of going to “one place to get everything I need.”

Better Together: Why Service Management Should Include Project Management

When implementing Enterprise Service Management (ESM) or IT Service Management (ITSM), it’s important to consider your project management tools and processes – especially if you’re working with limited resources. By bringing ESM/ITSM and Project Portfolio Management (PPM) together – you can gain a 360 view of your entire organization. Every project, problem, service request– it’s all at your fingertips.

With ITSM/ESM and PPM together on a single platform, you can better understand your resource capabilities and engage in true resource capacity planning. This approach is especially useful when you have limited resources, but an increase in demand for the support of remote learning and remote workforces.

What does resource capacity planning look like when using ESM and PPM together? In marketing, for example, they can leverage ESM to manage requests for event support, while using PPM to manage the actual event itself. By combining ESM and PPM, the marketing team can see all their work and available resources within a single tool.

The same can be applied across your organization to IT, finance, HR, etc.

If you to learn more about ESM and get tips on successfully implementing ESM throughout your organization check out: The Dos and Don’ts of Enterprise Service Management Implementation.

This article was originally published in February 2021 and has been updated with new information.

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