Modern ITSM as inspiration for organization-wide Enterprise Service Management (ESM)

Differentiation between ITSM and ESM

In ITSM, the administrative teams of a company see themselves as service providers for the employees. The ITSM teams systematically break down their work areas and tasks into individual standardized services. This concept is now spilling over beyond the boundaries of IT: companies want to ensure that other teams (HR, marketing, procurement, sales, etc.) also embrace the idea of service. The goal is organization-wide Enterprise Service Management (ESM).

Modern ITSM as inspiration for organization-wide Enterprise Service Management (ESM) - banner

Contemporary customer experiences spill into businesses

In the modern digital world, we have instant access to tools, knowledge, and services at any time. The Internet is available virtually anywhere; everyone carries their end device with them, and fulfilling a new requirement or need is usually just a matter of a few clicks.

More and more people expect similar experiences in their role as company employees: In smooth processes, organizations should have resources available and delivered for work in a quick and efficient way.

Classic paperwork and lengthy processes that frustratingly causes one to run behind no longer fit into the new world of work, where there are more jobs than capable, motivated professionals and where companies are more dependent than ever on employees having the space and freedom to really develop their talents instead of constantly having to deal with "Permit A38" and wasting lots of time pointlessly in the process.

Organizations must reposition themselves

Modern companies have long since recognized this change in the mix, drawn their conclusions from it, and taken account of the shift in requirements and expectations. Once again, administrative teams have led the way by placing their work and tasks in a new context.

Over the past two decades, this has given rise to a concept known as IT service management (ITSM). In the ITSM approach, a company's administrative teams see themselves as service providers to its employees. The latter are seen as the (internal) customers.

ITSM teams systematically break down their work areas and tasks into individual services. They define and develop services, provide them, support them throughout the entire lifecycle, and continuously optimize them.

Customer and service orientation internally

What every organization strives for externally is also in focus in the administrative area: the transformation to a modern customer and service orientation. To achieve this, IT teams rely on specific (standardized) processes, solutions, and tools that promote the efficient end-to-end delivery of IT services while effectively supporting the organization's business processes.

The backbone of the ITSM concept is formed by methods, concepts, and solutions such as service level agreements, professional incident and problem management, digital service desks, automation, and scalable technologies. The goals and intentions behind this approach are apparent: It's about more efficient processes, more automation, better control, transparent workflows, and faster, smoother service delivery to customers while relieving IT of standard tasks.

But the ITSM approach isn’t entirely selfless: IT naturally knows it is a crucial cog in the organization's wheel. If IT services get stuck, everything quickly comes to a standstill. That's why the modernization and streamlining targeted by ITSM serve the entire company.

Scaling and Enterprise Service Management

With many new, successful developments in enterprises, sooner or later, efforts emerge to scale the innovative ways of working and extend them to other organizational areas. The most prominent example is agile development methods such as Scrum, which are intended to be scaled beyond teams to the entire organization with the help of various frameworks (for example, SAFe, LeSS, or Spotify).

Such efforts can now also be observed in IT service management. The magic word in this context is Enterprise Service Management (ESM). Once a functioning IT service management system has been established and unleashes its potential for the organization, employees expect similar customer experiences when interacting with other organizational units, such as HR, marketing, sales, and procurement.

ESM envisions these (and other) departments, teams, or divisions adopting the service concept and casting their internal tasks and performance as standardized services. In other words, the aim is to standardize as many internal services as possible across the entire company, create controllable and visible workflows for them, deliver them efficiently to employees, and continuously improve them.

ESM: Powerful Potentials of a Complex Transformation

Again, a comparison with Agile scaling is obvious. Individual teams can adapt agile methods relatively quickly, but things become much more complex when scaling. This is also the case with the ESM approach.

While administrative teams can define, deploy, and execute their services largely autonomously, developing an organization-wide service catalog (among other things) creates multiple dependencies that require cross-functional coordination and collaboration. An ESM service catalog continues beyond functional or departmental boundaries; many individual services are shared by multiple teams.

A good example is offboarding an employee: HR needs to take care of contracts, IT needs to reset accounts and move in work equipment, recruiting needs to re-advertise the position, and so on. There are great opportunities for the entire organization associated with an ESM initiative, but it also involves a lot of coordinative activities that increase the complexity of the transformation.

ITSM as inspiration for an overarching ESM

How do ITSM and ESM relate to each other? The transitions are fluid, the tools and processes similar, and the goals virtually congruent. Although ESM efforts have emerged from the ITSM initiatives and experiences of administrative teams, ITSM can now arguably be viewed as a subset of organization-wide enterprise service management.

ESM is supposed to permeate and span the entire enterprise - and if there is a functioning, ingrained ITSM in the organization, there are definitely good points of contact and experience for a goal-oriented scaling strategy.

Further Reading

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