by Nancy Van Elsacker Louisnord

Enterprise service management: Beyond the buzz

Jun 25, 2018
ITSMTechnology Industry

With different signals around enterprise service management, it can be helpful to dig into what is the u2018whyu2019 behind itu2026and why it will stick around even when the marketing hype around it is slightly easing down.

tall blue buildings skyscrapers enterprise cityscape
Credit: Getty Images

Enterprise service management (ESM) keeps on popping up in a lot of messaging in the market, but the big traction seems to be gone and when we see the term, it usually is in coincidence with other topics. A good example of this is Forrester’s “shift to enterprise service management to improve the employee experience”.

Also, a lot of ITSM/ESM vendors (my employer TOPdesk included) are using the term enterprise service management by itself less and less in their marketing messaging. In “5 Hottest ITSM Trends and Topics for 2018” survey, ESM wasn’t in the top five at all.

That made me think about what is behind all of it. Is ESM a hype that is gone or going away, or is there another reason why the buzz seems to be calming down? Let’s look at why enterprise service management is around in the first place.

The why

The first thing that comes to my mind when I see the word “why” is Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” (great book, in case you haven’t read it yet). He developed the Golden Circle, which has three different layers. The layer on the outside of the circle is the “what” (products and services that an organization offers). Further in you have the “how” (things that make organizations special or set them apart from the competition) and the inner layer is the “why” (the reason your organization exists). The why is not to make a profit, it is your purpose, cause and belief. Sinek talks about the fact that organizations and leaders that communicate from the inside-out of the Golden Circle are the most successful.

Lately, I have had a lot of conversations and projects where I am talking about the reason behind what we do, or the why. One of those conversations is what we currently are doing at TOPdesk (my employer).

The company has grown so much in the past 26 years that employees at this point know and understand what we do and how we do it. Also, there are clear values that are present within the organization (trust, freedom, responsibility); however, the why behind all of them is not always easy to explain. So we are looking at including that into our messaging in a better more understandable way so the whole global team can stand behind the why and not just the “what” and “how.”

Service and support industry leader, Roy Atkinson, writes in “Never Forget Why You Do This” about why professionals in service management do what they do. He talks explicitly about the drive to truly want to help people, for me yet another encounter with the “why.”

The driving force behind ESM

This brings me back to enterprise service management. The concept has been around long before the term even existed. So, when we dive deeper into the why behind ESM it should be easier to understand why the marketing buzz around it is changing.

Let’s keep the “what” of ESM easy: service management beyond just IT. The “how” can take various forms, such as shared tools, shared processes, shared departments, etc., often looked at as a growth path. All of those “hows” of ESM come with their own challenges. Just think of what it entails when IT, facilities, HR and finance have to share a service management tool in which they have to align terminology and workflows. So, the “why” must be pretty convincing, right?

But is there really one why? When I talk to clients that take on any kind of ESM path, they do so with a bigger goal in mind and ESM seems to be a means to an end rather than a goal by itself. Obviously, there are a lot of efficiency and cost reduction benefits when moving to an ESM strategy, but why organizations really undertake this change and how they get people onboard usually takes a bigger cause, a “why.” When you listen to some of the advantages of implementing any type of ESM strategy, you hear things such as: “One portal enables the employees to submit all of their issues/requests in one place, rather than having to think about where to go.” Or “With IT, facilities and HR working more closely together, we have been able to improve our onboarding process. Now new employees have a very pleasant onboarding experience from the minute they sign until a few months after they started.”

Aren’t these clear indications that the driving force behind ESM really is customer experience? And whether you call it customer or employee experience, it is the most relevant topic today. You see that in analyst and service management vendor messaging, and CX did make the top five in the survey.

I will let you decide for yourself whether enterprise service management is a means to an end to achieve service excellence and a better customer or employee experience. I will argue that enterprise service management is more relevant than ever and is not going to go away. The messaging around it is evolving and the focus is more on the “why” of it than the “what” or “how.”