5 Tips for Effective Enterprise Service Management Planning

Enterprise Service Management Planning

You can’t help but miss that enterprise service management is a hot topic in IT service management (ITSM) circles and has been for half a decade. While there’s been a lot of talk over these years – from ITSM tool vendors, consultancies, and enterprises – there’s still little by way of freely-available best practices for enterprise service management planning.

Of course, there’s advice, often badged as best or good practice, available. As many ITSM tool vendors are now marketing and selling enterprise service management “scenarios,” with their knowledge and expertise from previous customer initiatives distilled down into “the best things to do” to get enterprise service management right.

What should you do in terms of enterprise service management planning to increase your organization’s chances of success? This article by @StephenMann explores. Click To Tweet

But don’t let the lack of available resources delay your enterprise service management planning.

The lack of enterprise service management planning information might make you think that mainstream adoption of enterprise service management is still a long way off, but think again.

A 2021 Axelos eneterprise service management survey reported that two-thirds of organizations currently have ongoing enterprise service management strategies.

And as per my previous blogs, enterprise service management is nothing new. Instead, it has finally built up momentum, and mainstream adoption, based on the perfect storm of:

  • Business function demand – corporate service providers such as IT, HR, and facilities need help with operational efficiency and with improving service.
  • Increased employee expectations of corporate service providers due to their personal, consumer-world experiences of support and customer service.
  • ITSM solutions now being so much better and more applicable to non-IT use cases. There are additional capabilities such as self-service and service catalogs, internally and externally facing knowledge bases (with the latter great for employee self-help), chat capabilities, and mobile apps. Plus, the solutions are now far more flexible, i.e. easier to change, and more accommodating of multi-departmental use.
  • Increased ITSM tool vendor marketing of enterprise service management. Vendors have moved from merely reacting to demand to actively promoting, and selling, their enterprise service management capabilities along with those for ITSM.
'Enterprise service management requires organizational change as much as technology change. It’s also a business project rather than a technology project.' – @StephenMann #ITSM #ESM Click To Tweet

Plus, there’s no doubt that the acceleration of digital transformation strategies caused by the global pandemic has helped with enterprise service management adoption.

So enterprise service management is happening, but what should you do to increase your organization’s chances of success?

  1. Don’t treat enterprise service management as an IT project. Enterprise service management requires organizational change as much as technology change. It’s also a business project rather than a technology project. And taking a truly cross-business approach will help to ensure that the project progresses in the optimal order, ideally fixing the biggest issues or delivering the biggest benefits first. Also, try to remember that enterprise service management isn’t just about implementing ITSM processes and technology outside of IT; instead, it’s ultimately about improving other business function service delivery and the service experience. Enterprise service management planning should be focused on “better business.”
  2. Allow for the differences. Recognize that some business functions will be more “excited” about enterprise service management than others. It might be that they better understand the opportunity or it might be that this initiative is a lower priority for the “less excited” business functions. Either way, ensure that the less-excited groups don’t get marginalized and are involved in the business-wide decisions that will ultimately affect them. If you get the feeling that the initiative is becoming all IT-push and very little enterprise-pull, revisit the justification planning work and ensure that the initiative has been truly bought into. Also, recognize and accommodate inter-team differences. This might be the relative capacity for change or even the appetite for change. It could also be process-based differences in which some ITSM best practices might not be an exact fit for another business function’s needs. And definitely don’t try to force-fit other business functions to your ITSM tool – it will only slow down, if not derail, change and will most likely result in a suboptimal solution for those involved.
  3. Don’t try to help other corporate service providers before helping yourself. As enterprise service management is extending ITSM principles and capabilities outside of IT and into other business functions, ensure that IT’s ITSM capabilities are optimized – as there’s no point in sharing sub-optimal practices. In particular, ensure that two specific areas – self-service and reporting/ metrics –  that will be highly beneficial to other business functions are truly fit-for-purpose. Also, don’t assume that IT has all the answers and best processes – other business functions might have processes in place that would benefit IT. Remember that the goal here is business improvement and not to impose IT’s way on the rest of the organization.
  4. Don’t assume that enterprise service management will sell itself – justify it in business terms. As with any business change, the benefits need to be clearly articulated in business terms. So talk about the real business benefits – which usually relate to dollars (or similar), customers, and competitive advantage. Plus, don’t just sell the theory of enterprise service management. Show how other companies have benefited to justify your projected financial ROI and quality of service improvements. Also, refrain from encapsulating the change and associated benefits in IT, ITSM, or ITIL language. Unless, of course, you want to confuse or turn off other business function personnel. And remember that enterprise service management, like most changes, is sold by repeat and valuable communications.
  5. Think long and hard about how to deliver the enterprise service management project. Business-wide change will be a mammoth undertaking, and thus, a big-bang approach will be both difficult and risky. Instead, recommend that your organization starts small, focusing on a single business function or a few new capabilities. Then, as with any phased project, build on your successes, communicating (in reality selling) what one business function has achieved to others to main interest, excitement, and momentum. Quick wins are just as applicable here as they are to ITSM – so plan what you deliver when very carefully.

What would you add to these enterprise service management planning tips? 

This 2015 enterprise service management planning article has been updated with a 2023 perspective.

If you liked these enterprise service management planning tips, you might want to know about the ITIL 4 Service Desk.

Want even more? Here are informative ITIL 4 service value system and ITIL 4 service value chain articles.

Further Reading

If you liked this enterprise service management planning article, the following enterprise service management articles might be helpful too.

Stephen Mann

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.

Want ITSM best practice and advice delivered directly to your inbox? Why not sign up for our newsletter? This way you won't miss any of the latest ITSM tips and tricks.

nl subscribe strip imgage

More Topics to Explore

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *