Enterprise service management (ESM) – the use of IT service management (ITSM) best practices and technologies in other business functions – has a role outside of traditional enterprise settings. Because, outside of the private sector, other organizations still need to improve the way that they deliver services and support to internal users. The education sector is no exception.
In this article, I explore how ESM can benefit educational institutions (both schools and higher education) by making service delivery and support more efficient and effective through the leveraging of existing IT investments.
Why Is ESM a Good Fit for Education?
There are a few reasons why ESM makes sense in the education sector.
For a start, there are many people within educational institutions (in higher education and otherwise) who need to access enterprise services that were traditionally only associated with IT. However, this group isn’t just limited to employees – for instance, students need services such as online room booking as well.
“In the 2016-2017 academic year, there were over 22 million undergraduate students enrolled in US higher education institutions”.
Take the average American college or university. There are thousands of students enrolled, and these students need to book rooms, rent equipment, and access other services. To do so can require a phone call, email, or in-person visit to the relevant department, which is time-consuming and can sometimes take so long that the service request becomes irrelevant.
By using self-service portal systems, that businesses in the past have used to facilitate IT service and procurement requests, educational organization can in turn, use very similar ticketing systems to cater to their students, staff, and faculty member requests. Most of the time the existing tools can be re-configured to serve this different use case with very little extra investment.
This is just one of the many examples of how an organization can leverage an existing ITSM investment to extend beyond the scope of just IT and is the crux for why ESM is likely to become more popular in education institutions in the near future.
The Key Benefits for Education
Here are just a few benefits of adopting an ESM strategy within education:
- More convenient access. One of the great things about ITSM is that many ITSM tools have been refined over the years to be more end-user friendly by adding a better UI, more access methods, and simplifying processes. By using these tools for non-IT purposes, end users can enjoy these same capabilities to do things like submitting and checking the statuses of their requests via multiple touchpoints (mobile, desktop, web, email, etc.).
- Less waste, more efficiency. An ESM strategy means leveraging the same clearly-defined processes across the organization that have made ITSM so efficient for managing and deploying services in the IT world. This means less time and resources are spent on redundant, poorly-scaled processes along with added efficiency.
- Improved visibility. ITSM solutions not only offer better processes, but better reporting as well. This increased visibility of performance can be a huge benefit for non-IT purposes such as tracking new student onboarding, on-campus facilities management KPIs, and more.
- Greater value from your ITSM tool investment. Since many educational organizations already invest in an ITSM tool, extending their functionality to use cases beyond IT only serves to increase the return on investment (ROI) and deliver more value to the business.
What Does ESM Look Like in the Education Sector?
How ESM can work in the education sector is best described with an example.
Let’s say that the high school drama club needs to book the auditorium for its auditions. Normally, a student, or the club’s advisor, would have to go to the main office, fill out a form, and wait for the secretary to process it. That could take a couple of days, and there’s no guarantee that the students will get first priority – and, in the interim, the room could be booked by someone else.
With an ESM solution, students, teachers, and other staff members can request services with a click of a button. They can navigate to a chat window or to a self-help portal, type in the service they need, and the chatbot or portal will provide an answer. In the case of the drama club auditions, a student can book a room using their smartphone within a minute.
Thus, ESM shouldn’t be reserved strictly for the enterprise. It has applications beyond IT, and can be valuable, for any organization that requires capabilities to support the deployment of services.