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Understanding the Difference Between ITSM and Enterprise Service Management


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. The goal of ESM is to improve customer satisfaction by providing better service delivery. This means faster response times, better customer service and improved efficiency. By implementing ESM in your organization, you can improve customer satisfaction, reduce costs associated with service delivery and increase employee productivity through the automation of manual tasks.

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 of 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; 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.

When implementing Enterprise Service Management (ESM) it’s important to also consider your project management tools and processes – especially if you’re working with limited resources.

By bringing ESM and Project Portfolio Management (PPM) together – you can gain a 360 view of your entire organization. Every project, problem and service request– it’s all at your fingertips.

When using ESM and PPM together, for example, your marketing department can leverage ESM to manage requests for event support, while leveraging PPM to manage the actual event. By combining ESM and PPM, the marketing team can see all their work and available resources within a single tool.

By having that single view of all projects and resources across your ENTIRE organization, companies are better equipped to face these challenges head-on.

In addition to bringing ESM and PPM together, some companies are also exploring the benefits of adding integration and automation through a tool like iPaaS (integration platform as a service). 

iPaaS is a codeless integration platform that includes out-of-the-box connectors to popular systems such as Workday, Office365, Active Directory, Amazon Web Services, and more. With iPaaS, organizations can easily build integrations and automated workflows connecting various technology systems using a codeless, drag-and-drop visual workflow builder, streamlining the delivery of services even further. The platform can be used to facilitate integration and workflow around any ecosystem such as Salesforce for marketing, or HRIS for HR.

At Winston-Salem University Derrick Hargrove and his team in the Office of Information Technology, are using iPaaS to automate processes throughout the University that directly impact service resolution times whether in IT, the Office of the Registrar, the financial aid office or human resources.

Hargrove said the university started building iPaaS workflows to address various challenges they had with both system access and access to various apps and software provided to students, employees and faculty at the university.

“By creating these workflows within iPaaS we are able to save a significant amount of time,” Hargrove said. “Previously we’ve had situations where system access has held up a ticket so having the automated approval and access granted through iPaaS has helped us avoid those issues. And when you have people who need certain access or software to do their jobs, it’s nice to be able to provide that almost immediate resolution. It’s been a big win for us.”

The university has flows in place to grant system access based on different groups within Active Directory. Those same groups are utilized to run flows to grant access to things like Microsoft Teams and Adobe Creative Cloud.

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

A recent market study shows that as IT organizations plan for the future of service management, only about three in ten organizations have a formal ESM program to leverage ITSM principles outside of IT. However, work on this front is clearly underway.

Even though many respondents may not have an ESM program on the books, half the organizations have extended their ITSM or ticketing platform for use in managing work in other departments. Approximately a quarter of organizations say they’ve deployed ESM in more than two departments outside of IT.

And this isn’t surprising.

To successfully implement ESM across your organization every department or group needs a solution built purposely for them. A failure to do this will result in the failure of scaling your ESM outside of IT.

Here are some do’s and don’ts you can follow 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 complicate 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 download our eBook: ITSM for the Enterprise – What Makes it Work?