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ESM is transformational in enhancing IT’s position in business

The argument for enterprise service management is compelling when it can be implemented at minimal cost using existing IT service management technology and processes.
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Let’s start by defining the topic: what is enterprise service management (ESM)?

ESM is the use of IT service management (ITSM) principles and capabilities to improve business performance, service and outcomes.

According to the IDC, ITSM vendors sit at the forefront of digital transformation. Having said that, while ITSM is a means of managing and delivering IT services, its strategies do not inherently apply to organisational processes beyond IT.

IT serving the enterprise is hardly news, any more than IT’s drive to align with the business is a recent development. What is new are the ways in which organisations are combining cutting-edge technologies with existing platforms, processes, people and policies to drive innovative services into the enterprise.

ESM can be described as the product of common sense combined with technological advances in automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics delivered from established ITSM competencies to non-IT functions across organisations in all sectors.

What businesses can benefit from the implementation of ESM?

In short, businesses dealing with people − regardless of whether they are end-users, employees, or customers, but all have one thing in common, which is, familiarity with sending enquiries to group e-mail addresses or phone message centres – all are ESM candidates.

In these instances, ITSM does little more than perform ticket requests, provide visibility with tracking and reporting, and then close the ticket when resolved. Back-office services − for example, onboarding new employees − are still often only available through manual processes that include phone calls, e-mails, or spreadsheets.

In the digital world, employees and customers alike expect easy and instant access to services through a common service catalogue, along with automatic/instantaneous resolution of issues. Functions requiring approval processes or time-sensitive matters are good ESM candidates. This includes purchasing, legal, marketing, accounting, security and customer service, to name just some.

The argument for ESM is especially compelling when it can be implemented at minimal cost using existing ITSM technology and processes.

What is the impact of ESM on the relationship of ITSM/IT and the business?

Research reveals the impact of ESM is transformational. A recent study conducted by EMA surveyed 400 global IT executives and practitioners with the goal of getting a clear view of ESM as it stands today and develops into the near future. The result is a ground-level view of what drives, enables and results from ESM implementations, with practical recommendations for teams in the process of deployment.

AI and analytics are proven to provide superior information for decision-making/action.

Questions posed in the survey included: ‘to date, what has the impact of supporting ESM been on ITSM and IT in terms of its relationship to the business?’, with 38% of respondents noting ESM has been transformational in enhancing IT’s position within the business. This response is impressive in the context that other positive responses were available to choose from, including descriptions such as ‘significant’ and ‘meaningful’. On the negative side, respondents could select more toned-down offerings, such as ‘modest’ and ‘non-existent’.

The overwhelmingly positive impact of ESM on ITSM and IT’s business relationship was recorded, regardless of company size or industry. Those with mature ESM deployments were in the transformational camp at a higher rate than those representing new deployments (currently in deployment or under a year since commencing it).

This is understandable as mature ESM environments have had more time to develop, experience and measure results. What is surprising is that 29% of newcomers to ESM chose the term ‘transformational’. It appears that even the process of planning ESM offerings is beneficial to the working relationship of the suppliers and consumers of IT services. In other words, everyone benefits from the deployment of ESM.

ESM and executive leadership

C-Suite executives, both IT and non-IT, have budgetary and strategic roles in all matters of cross-functional automation, AI, analytics and ESM. The EMA survey recorded that more than half of the IT executives who participated in the study chose the transformational option. The fact that ESM has a strong executive leadership component became a clear pattern throughout the research.

There are several reasons why business leadership execs play a driving and controlling role in ESM, including:

  • Automation, AI and analytics can revolutionise the operational and cost-effectiveness aspects of a business, especially when they cross functional boundaries, as they do with ESM.
  • The blurring of boundaries that mark cross-functional service workflows requires an increasing level of organisational oversight and budgetary authority.
  • The game-changing combination of AI, analytics, automation and ITSM in ESM has executive-level repercussions to the business as a whole.

Although even the most basic ESM initiatives will predictably return significant gains, the addition of AI-powered automation adds an exponential boost to the realisation of benefits.

The automation, AI and analytics rewards reaped by ESM

AI and analytics are proven to provide superior information for decision-making/action, with automation providing superior efficiency in taking said action. It is, therefore, obvious that the combination of AI with automation provides enhanced operational results.

The EMA research uncovered direct ties between ESM success and the adoption of AI, analytics and automation. Moreover, a strong correlation of success in these areas was directly linked to ESM maturity.

In this article we have barely scratched the surface of the value of ESM deployment – in my next article I will discuss digital transformation and ESM. 

Chris Visagie

solutions executive, iOCO Application Management.

Chris Visagie is solutions executive at iOCO Application Management. His career in IT spans two decades, with experience in a number of positions, where he held responsibility for strategy, integration, product design and delivery. 

He holds a degree in Information Sciences from the University of Pretoria and in the past has worked as a change/configuration manager, which served to spark his passion for enterprise service management.

Visagie joined iOCO/EOH in 2015, when he was appointed to the role of architecture and product guidance, enterprise solutions. He has significant experience in assisting customers with the delivery of digital transformation projects, where he has provided guidance or implementation of technologies at several leading enterprise customers in South Africa.

In 2018, he was appointed solutions executive at iOCO, where he is responsible for the design and positioning of solutions that focus on IT operations and security management.

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