Harnessing ESM for organizational excellence

The busy CIO’s guide to embracing Enterprise Service Management

What is ESM?

In today’s fast-paced environment, achieving organizational excellence can feel like trying to hit a moving target. Navigating the complexities of digital transformation in an era where end-user expectations continue to rise requires a streamlined, efficient approach to service delivery and management. This is where Enterprise Service Management (ESM) can make a big difference, providing you with a strategic framework that empowers your organization to achieve and maintain excellence.

ESM is built on the foundation of IT service management (ITSM) methodology, but on a larger scale. ESM applies the robust principles and processes of ITSM to other areas of the business, from HR to finance and beyond. It leverages the proven methods of ITSM to effectively track demand, support tickets, change management, and more – helping everyone across the organization to function safely and effectively.

Embracing ESM can reshape the trajectory of collaboration within your organization, allowing for more consistent communication, better service delivery, and faster incident response. In this article, we’ll look at ESM in action, exploring some of the many benefits it can bring to an entire enterprise, not just IT teams.

The differences between ESM and ITSM

Enterprise Service Management (ESM) | Examining all business areas and applying innovative technologies and processes to connect disparate systems.

Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) | Implementing ITIL® best practices and end-user feedback to enhance operational efficiency and customer service.

Figure 1: A chart depicting the differences between ESM and ITSM and how the two overlap.


Applies service management principles across all business functions, such as HR Verified Universal request process IT service delivery focused supporting business functions
Optimizes all departments supporting the organization with coordinated, uniform IT support, delivering reliable, consistent value Verified Unified ticket tracking Ensures the right people, processes, and technology are in place and optimized to improve employee/customer experience and meet business objectives
Emphasizes seamless experiences Verified Transparency and visibility Reduction of IT costs
Cost savings by eliminating redundancies Verified United approval processes Improving service quality
Increased enterprise efficiences Minimizing service disruption

ESM in action

To fully understand the transformative power of ESM, let’s explore what it looks like in action. At its core, ESM unifies many of the diverse experiences employees encounter on a day-to-day basis, streamlining workflows and helping them work faster. It provides a singular, easy-to-understand path to resolution for most business challenges within an organization, or identifying services needed to help resolve incidents faster and reduce the time on task to meet user needs. Whether it’s an HR issue, a new service request, or an IT incident, ESM helps your employees easily pinpoint a path to resolution. Faster workflows and more productive employees drive value for clients too, helping to elevate service quality and keep all your end users, internal and external, happy.

Embracing the principles of ESM and unifying diverse processes brings benefits beyond productivity and user experience – it can also help lower your operating costs. By consolidating platforms and simplifying workflows, you can reduce the number of applications required to effectively function, saving you not just money, but time and resources as well. With fewer applications to maintain, you can shift focus to higher-value activities, helping you stay competitive and maintain high service levels. Additionally, treating your consolidated workflows the same way across departments helps reduce the complexity of integrating other systems into these workflows, further saving you time, money, resources, and providing a smoother user experience. ESM can help you get there.

Automation in ESM

Automation is a key value driver across most business functions, and ESM is no different. In many cases, before ESM, there likely are a variety of processes with which issues are identified and hopefully resolved. Adopting ESM practices and methodologies unifies these disjointed and often chaotic processes, uniting them under a shared service model. Automating wherever possible takes any previous manual work out of the equation to achieve the same result more quickly, freeing up human time for higher-value activities; improving your overall productivity and user satisfaction.

As you automate, it becomes easier to transition into more guaranteed service level agreements (SLAs), improving end-user experience and providing a consistent service model. Leveraging tools like the ServiceNow® platform can provide a unified solution for incident reporting, resolution, request management, and more, and it helps you explore additional automation opportunities to realize the full value of ESM.  Solutions like robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) chat make a big difference in resolution times when added to your automation arsenal.  Embracing ESM can help jumpstart your automation journey and further enhance your service management and resolution.

Realizing ESM value

As with any enterprise transformation, realizing and measuring value will go beyond technical measures. Implementing best practices and adapting your processes to best support your new technology environment will be key success drivers.

For example, at CAI, we implement a ‘shift left’ approach for efficient service resolution.   Whether it’s an IT request, an HR case, or another business need, the quicker we can resolve the issue, or shift left to right, the cheaper and more efficient it is. Prioritizing first contact resolution is a key element of shifting left, and this doesn’t always need to involve human intervention. Automating common issues and requests like password resets and equipment requests can shift you further left, giving users a quicker resolution time and saving resources.

ESM Service offerings

Figure 2: The stair-step chart details services included in the CAI enterprise service management offering. The top step (far right) notes an encapsulation of business services for ESM. Included for step 2 is platform services, for which CAI is an Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft certified partner. Step 3 (middle) includes asset management – a resource for this offering is access to the International Association of Asset Managers. Step 4 references end user services, CAI is a Microsoft 365 partner. The final step (far left) details service desk offerings – CAI is a ServiceNow Elite Partner for implementation and managed services.
Business services Enterprise Service Management
Platform services AWS and Microsoft Certified Partner
Asset management International Association of Asset Managers
End user services Microsoft 365 partner
Service desk ServiceNow Elite Partner: Implementation and Managed Services

Shifting left doesn’t just save you money, it can also improve customer satisfaction. It’s not just about reducing contacts and incident escalation, it’s also about improving the experience of the end user. Implementing self-service options and automating common workstreams can help your users find answers fast and on their own, reducing the often timely and cumbersome processes that involve waiting on a support team.

Measuring ESM Success

Any successful enterprise transformation initiative requires you to effectively measure and report success. Communicating the value of ESM can help gain further buy-in across the organization, and it helps to prove return on investment (ROI).

Identifying essential key performance indicators (KPIs) is critical to understanding the true impact of ESM. Some of the most important KPIs that communicate ESM value and success are:

  • Reduction of contacts
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Cost per ticket
  • Time on task
  • Ticket volume

Each of these KPIs allows you to track the progress of your ESM initiatives, keeping both employee and customer experience top of mind.

ESM as a pathway to digital transformation

In a time when speed, agility, and user experience are primary drivers of business continuity and success, ESM can help you stay ahead. It provides a methodological transformation without changing the nature of the work being done, helping your teams adapt faster while still improving your processes. It provides an easy, structured path to continuous improvement, and it can help kickstart your automation journey. Leveraging ESM to streamline and unify your processes can be a high-value opportunity for your organization to improve service levels across the board.

If you’re interested in learning more about the transformative power of ESM, watch our on-demand webinar, Understanding Enterprise Service Management.

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