Ali Siddiqui is Chief Product Officer for BMC.
Just as it sounds, enterprise service management (ESM) is the extension of service management processes and tools across the organization to improve performance, customer experience, employee engagement and business outcomes. The impact is clear — the same functionality, traceability and reproducibility of ITSM processes extended into other areas of the business like HR and procurement can lead to greater efficiencies and cost savings. In application, it makes perfect sense: Apply successful service management strategies beyond IT, from shared tool to shared service desk to shared processes. Why haven’t businesses taken this step sooner?
Essentially, we are looking at growing evidence of the closing of the IT and business divide, as the two interdependent entities realize the benefits of merged and coordinated tools and processes. In fact, Gartner predicts that over the next two years, 50% of organizations will experience increased collaboration between their business and IT teams.
Practically, businesses are increasingly implementing and encouraging self-service IT services and solutions rather than outsourcing technology needs to a siloed IT organization. Likewise, where IT organizations previously lacked insight into business drivers and technology-dependent initiatives, they are now more critical in the development of those strategies and innovations. In a synergistic way, ITSM tools have advanced considerably in answer to the demanding, diverse needs of the modern enterprise.
Today’s business models are shifting and expanding to anticipate and accommodate technology and business disruption and rapid innovation is a key competitive differentiator. ESM helps make it achievable within the ecosystem of the autonomous digital enterprise — a forward-looking ideology that views the adoption of intelligent, tech-enabled systems across the business as key to survival.
Accelerating this expansion of the principles and practices of ITSM enterprise-wide can help address the very pressing needs and expectations of your internal and external customers. Whether generational or cultural, or if you’re engaging with the help desk or customer service, the shift to self-service, intuitive experiences with fewer human-to-human interactions has gained impressive momentum. Now add in the move to remote work on a near-global scale due to Covid-19 and the urgency of establishing SaaS-based, enterprise-wide, multidevice-compatible service management functions becomes even more pressing…and complex.
Before addressing the technology component — and what potentially makes an ineffective or inefficient choice — it’s wise to consider seven guiding principles of ITSM derived from the ITIL® 4 framework.
• Focus on value. Know who your stakeholders and key customers are, what’s valuable to them and how they experience your services now so that any changes made can benefit them — and your bottom line — directly.
• Start where you are. Avoid “reinventing the wheel” by carefully assessing your current state and looking for opportunities to improve what you already have or replicate what’s working well.
• Progress iteratively with feedback. Organize needed changes into achievable steps and ensure that regular review of progress, accounting for updated requirements and honest feedback are all necessary to moving forward successfully.
• Collaborate and promote visibility. Promoting access to actionable data and involving the right people in the project steps results in more effective decision-making, better buy-in and more positive outcomes.
• Think and work holistically. Approaching service management with an understanding of both the inherent complexity and desired results enables more effective collaboration and problem-solving.
• Keep it simple and practical. By focusing on value (Principle 1), you can do fewer things, better maximize people’s time and strengths and ensure faster wins and better adoption.
• Optimize and automate. After streamlining processes and ensuring their effectiveness, you can minimize frequent, repetitive tasks with increased standardization and simplified workstreams, reducing human effort (and error) and improving the employee experience.
With these guiding principles in hand and groundwork laid, technology can now take an active role to reduce complexity and enhance employee productivity. By replacing unstructured, mundane work with modern, automation-based alternatives where appropriate, effective ESM solutions help businesses create, manage and analyze data around business performance, including real-time information about resourcing, requests and service level agreements, leading to better business performance and insights on growth, competitiveness and efficiency.
Strategies for Success
Selecting an ESM solution can be daunting, as most tools on the market are actually ITSM tools designed for specific use cases masquerading as more far-reaching solutions. ESM can be adopted in any combination of capabilities across the enterprise, especially when deployed in a cloud (software-as-a-service, or SaaS) model. To avoid ending up with more or less than you need (and suffering either the related budget pains or functionality shortfalls), plan wisely:
• Consider lock-in limitations. If your focus is narrow, ensure that the tool you choose is flexible enough to deliver the specific functionality for your intended use cases, yet doesn’t limit your ability to source additional tools if needed. But…
• Be cautious of tool sprawl. By picking and choosing from an unintegrated ITSM-tool buffet to create a bespoke ESM experience, your plate may soon be overloaded with a convoluted mix of vendors and solutions that’s difficult to manage and fails on cost efficiency.
• Set yourself up for success. Effective use is largely dependent on senior-level buy-in, adoption initiatives and training, so consider all avenues for effective use.
• When feasible, pursue a long-lens strategy for ESM. In-depth analysis of the longer-term benefits of a more cohesive approach will help ensure better organizational maturity and expansive business benefits.
Business/IT alignment is no longer a goal but a prerequisite to customer-centricity, employee engagement, innovation, competitiveness and even business continuity. The next step in that evolution is the enterprise adoption of the very processes that drive digital transformation.