14 Benefits of Enterprise Service Management (ESM)

14 ESM Benefits

Let’s talk about the high-level ESM benefits. This is blog two of a four-part enterprise service management (ESM) article series, this time covering the ESM benefits that result in better business operations and bottom line. The first blog – The Perfect Storm Driving Enterprise Service Management – can be read here.

While the use of IT service management (ITSM) by corporate information technology (IT) organizations – to improve efficiency, effectiveness, control, and insight – has gained nigh-on global acceptance, many enterprises have still to recognize that ITSM thinking, best practice, and technology are equally relevant to other corporate service providers through enterprise service management. So this article shares the available ESM benefits.

If we jump back fifteen years, what is now known as ESM was often little more than the use of the potentially-costly corporate ITSM tool in other business scenarios to get a better return on investment. These days, however, there are a number of compelling reasons for ESM, with the IT organization assisting other business functions – such as Human Resources (HR), Facilities, Finance, and Legal – to improve efficiency, effectiveness, control, and insight. let’s look at those ESM benefits.

Selling ESM benefits to other business functions

ESM shouldn’t need to be a leap of faith by either the business as a whole or other business functions. Instead, the business benefits of ESM should be articulated and sold.

These ESM benefits include:

1. Improved efficiency and reduced operational costs

Optimized processes, workflow, automation, and alerting can remove unnecessary manual effort and rework in day-to-day operations and help teams work together. When employees use self-service and self-help capabilities, this adds to the ESM benefits in terms of reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO) of service provision..

2. Self-service efficiencies and workload reductions can be key ESM benefits

Employees can get to the solutions they need more quickly through self-help. Then this and the ability for employees to log issues and requests via self-service means fewer telephone calls to the service desk or the business function equivalent. The automated delivery of solutions and requests, including via artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled capabilities, further adds to the potential labor savings.

3. A better ROI on the corporate ITSM solution investment

The more people, and business functions, that use the ITSM solution, the better the ROI and per-user ongoing management costs (these are part of the overall ESM benefits). Also, depending on the business function systems that can be phased out, there’s the potential for additional technology cost savings through business-function application rationalization.

4. Improved effectiveness

Using a fit-for-purpose ITSM solution for ESM can help to ensure that all employee issues and requests are dealt with and, where possible, to agreed service levels. No more losing requests in personal email accounts or delays through the inefficiency of individuals is one of the key ESM benefits.

5. Improved visibility into operations and performance

The use of ITSM technology lets staff and management understand what has been achieved and what hasn’t. This one of the ESM benefits ultimately gives insight into the value that each business function provides and makes it easier for this to be communicated to customers and other business stakeholders. Sometimes this can be in near real time.

6. Increased control and governance

ESM processes and enabling technology can be used to implement much-needed internal controls and to provide insight into who did what when, as well as higher-level reporting. Facilitating risk management and compliance efforts.

7. Better service and customer experience

ESM benefits the corporate service provider operations to better deliver against employee expectations across ease-of-use, self-service, service request catalogs, knowledge availability, and self-help, social or collaborative capabilities, anytime and anyplace access (to services and information), and people or customer-centric support. It improves customer relationships, increases employee productivity, and can also benefit the work environment.

8. The opportunity for improvement

Firstly, the increased visibility into operational performance from ESM allows improvement opportunities to be identified. Secondly, the ITIL continual improvement (formerly known as CSI) capability provides the mechanism for improvements to be managed and delivered. Thus ESM benefits multiple business functions when service delivery and support improvements are identified and actioned.

9. Improved access and communication channels, plus more effective communication

ESM and a suitable ITSM solution bring a choice of access and communication channels, including telephone, email, chat, chatbots, self-service, alerts, and a broadcast channel via the self-service portal. Escalation and alerting capabilities also help to ensure that no ticket or communication goes unactioned.

10. Improved accountability, even across business-function boundaries

Not only does ESM technology make it easier to assign and see responsibility and accountability within business functions it does the same across business functions. For example, some business services, such as the onboarding of new employees, require multiple business functions to work together to ensure that everything is delivered on time. It’s one of the key ESM benefits.

11. Better understanding of what services are needed and provided

ESM doesn’t have to be limited to support and change management. Other ITIL-espoused service management best practice capabilities can also be used to manage business function services, allowing greater insight into the services provided.

12. Standardization

This is not only business-wide, optimized processes but also a common way of working, a common look and feel, and a common service model for employees. This one of the ESM benefits also offers the potential to provide a single point of service, no matter the service provider, companywide.

13. Improved collaboration within and across business functions

Not only does ESM make it easy for work to be passed between individuals or groups, or to be worked on collectively, it also makes it easier for work to pass between different business functions.

Finally, there’s also a benefit specific to the corporate IT organization. Not only is ESM an opportunity for other business functions to benefit from ITSM principles and capabilities, but it’s also an opportunity for IT to further demonstrate its business worth through its wealth of service management skills, knowledge, and experience and the provision of the technology to support business-wide service management. ESM benefits everyone!

What do you think about the opportunity of ESM and the common long-term ESM benefits? How you manage software and its use can make a significant difference! Please let me know in the comments.

This 2015 ESM benefits article has been updated to be relevant for ESM in 2023.

If you found this ESM benefits article helpful, please take a look at these other ESM articles.

Further Reading

Stephen Mann
Stephen Mann
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Principal Analyst and Content Director at the ITSM-focused industry analyst firm ITSM.tools. Also an independent IT and IT service management marketing content creator, and a frequent blogger, writer, and presenter on the challenges and opportunities for IT service management professionals.

Previously held positions in IT research and analysis (at IT industry analyst firms Ovum and Forrester and the UK Post Office), IT service management consultancy, enterprise IT service desk and IT service management, IT asset management, innovation and creativity facilitation, project management, finance consultancy, internal audit, and product marketing for a SaaS IT service management technology vendor.

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