Large companies are divided into groups that are naturally independent. These internal departments are not designed to collaborate with each other as much as they are to execute a function or mission for the company. As a result, silos are created, thought processes are constrained, and business goals are unrealized. When business departments do require engaging with others, it usually means using each other’s services. The implementation of Service Management platforms that break through these boundaries, clearly demonstrates the value for cooperating and introducing transparency in an organization’s processes. Once the interdepartmental walls come down, employees are free to collaborate and expand their best practices throughout the entire organization, rather than restricting them to individual teams or departments.
IT Service Management (ITSM) originated in the 1980s and has gone through many evolutions in the decades since. This means that the best practices have been tuned and retuned, with each version building on the experiences of the prior generation. But limiting these best practices to IT is a mistake. Entire enterprises can benefit and push Service Management beyond IT. Common best processes and/or best practices easily extend to non-IT departments, such as Human Resources, Facilities, and other functional areas of the enterprise to better serve the needs of teams and individual employees. Commonly, this effort may be known as Enterprise Service Management (ESM) and although ITSM and ESM are cousins, there are also differences. One difference comes from the fact that many ESM use cases depend on the support of multiple business functions and departments. They require collaborating and sharing supporting services between departments—not just the tools, but more importantly the practices, processes, and workflows. This provides an opportunity to apply ITSM best practices to your ESM strategy, along with the creation of value and organizational change.
On the Service Management Maturity Scale shown below, you can see how ITSM and ESM share some similar goals (i.e., overlap) at the Department level. Each effort has the desire to serve the enterprise and provide every employee the opportunity to benefit, even if it is not always readily apparent to them.
Payroll may run smoother, vacation requests are a little easier, IT deployments are a little faster, and essentially everything operates with more efficiency. As you move from left to right on the maturity scale, think of the best practices that are being applied to your department at each point along the line. As you move from ITSM to ESM, you will:
- Discover opportunities for improvements through increased visibility into your organization’s operational performance, which allows you to streamline processes that lead to better products and services.
- Build a productive and efficient working environment by optimizing processes, creating workflows, implementing automation, and setting up alerts that foster an efficient working environment. The benefits at this point are further expanded when a self-service portal is added, so employees can quickly and easily access all the information they need at any time.
- Centralize the management of all your services, which enables you to centralize all your services on a single platform and eliminate the need of managing different applications for various departments.
- Increase control and governance by making the visualization of complex information easy through statistics, graphs, and reports that help improve decision-making.
- Increase collaboration between departments by breaking down the silos that exist in many large organizations.
- Raise the level of customer experience, satisfaction, and loyalty by ensuring a positive user experience. ESM efficient organizations enable deliver better quality service to customers by providing collaborative capabilities and multichannel services such as chat, phone, email, self-service, knowledge base, surveys and more.
It is important to recognize that these benefits do not come from a single effort or through any individual team. To maximize the gains, decision makers need to coordinate with goal setting, agree on measures for success, and then select solutions and platforms that best deliver an experience to the employee that enables meeting the goals and reaping the rewards. Solutions that best meet these requirements share some common attributes:
- Flexibility — They are flexible enough to deliver common best practices while being configured/customized for your business.
- User Friendliness — Employees experience a single look and feel across the entire enterprise, making engagement with each business service simple and intuitive.
- Intelligence — Support the employee with an intelligent design and, when possible, AI driven capabilities to take some of the work off the employee’s desk, thereby improving their experience even further.
- Automation — Experience the efficiencies and consistency that scale up logarithmically with automated processes like request approvals, frequently repeated requests, repeatable processes, and reporting.
- Integration — No platform is best at solving all needs of a business. The ability to link multiple systems into a unified solution where it is transparent to the employee is key to Service Management success.