Can Enterprise Service Management make your business faster, smarter and more efficient?

Enterprise service management

Enterprise Service Management (ESM) is a powerful way to save money and improve business services by reusing existing technology and processes. Eric Wright of Richmond Systems explains where to start.

Let’s start with a definition. Enterprise Service Management is the practice of applying service management tools and processes to other parts of the business. ESM is gaining popularity because it can help a business become more organised and efficient. How does it work? 

Service management tools and processes manage precise, high-volume IT activities which are repeated on a regular basis. By streamlining and structuring these activities, service management ensures that errors are minimised, processes can be automated which saves costly human intervention and the services delivered are consistent. 

While service management traditionally refers to IT, it doesn’t have to be limited to this . Think about the above words “manage precise, high-volume IT activities which are repeated on a regular basis.”

If you replace the word “IT” with “business”, the description could apply to a number of business functions. The classic example is HR. Just like IT, the Human Resources departments deals with regular requests. In IT, a request might be for a new laptop. In HR, it’s a request for a holiday. In IT, there’s a process for fixing a printer. Well, HR has a process for welcoming a new starter.  IT must inform its customers about planned maintenance, HR must inform employees when there’s a change to payroll procedures.

Walking into the HR or legal department and claiming to have a better way of working is not recommended.

You can apply the same thinking to other business functions. Other examples of business functions which are suitable to ESM include finance, facilities management, customer support, legal. It doesn’t matter what the function, any high volume process can fit the ESM model. 

How do you introduce ESM?
Typically, a service management professional or manager will introduce ESM to the business. ESM will not work in isolation - it needs to be driven by an individuals and teams who understand service management and have the tools to deliver their vision. Only those who have succeeded in creating the right service management culture, using the right service management software, can roll out the concept beyond IT.  To borrow the old IT adage about automating failure, ESM will only work if those introducing the concepts can prove they have mastered it for managing one business function.

Enterprise Service Management cannot be introduced to the business in a single motion. In my experience, ESM works best if it is developed one department at a time.  Such projects normally start informally, with an IT service management leader speaking to another department leader about a problem:

“We’re getting overwhelmed by volume”

“Our processes are too labour intensive”

“My team are getting fatigued processing the same requests over and over”

These are classic ESM trigger questions. The IT service management professional who hears these gripes is then able to position the service management approach as a solution. He or she can explain the processes and service management tools which are already being used in the business, which can be adapted to manage these troublesome processes. This is the genesis of ESM which once working and proven often leads to other departments adopting the same practices.

Walking into the HR or legal department and claiming to have a better way of working is not recommended. It’s a presumptions approach which is likely to infuriate department leaders. The softer approach of listening out for ESM trigger questions is a more effective strategy.

If you want to introduce ESM into your business, you will of course need an understanding of the key concepts and a suitable service management tool. Please contact us for an informal chat - we’ll share some of our experiences and explain what you need to look for when sourcing technology.

ESM has the power to transform business performance in a profound way. But to succeed, you need the right combination of knowledge and tools, and position it correctly when speaking to the business.