What Organizations Need When Selecting ESM Solutions

11.06.2023 | By Mark Speyers

While IT service management (ITSM) solutions offer a wealth of service management and digital enablement capabilities to IT organizations, not every ITSM solution is suitable to deliver against corporate enterprise service management ambitions and needs. Research by HDI – the State of Service Management in 2022 report – found that 85% of organizations think they have an ITSM tool that’s suitable for enterprise service management. But what does, or should, this entail? To help, this enterprise service management solution blog shares what your organization needs to focus on to select a service management solution that delivers against its multi-business-function needs.

First, a word of warning

The IT industry hopefully knows that the success of corporate ITSM capabilities is heavily dependent on fit-for-purpose ITSM technology and the quality of the people who use it. However, when an ITSM  use is extended to other business functions via enterprise service management strategies, with it now considered an enterprise service management solution, it can be dangerous to simply see enterprise service management as the use of the corporate ITSM solution by these other business functions.

Whether the other business functions wish to see their enterprise service management solution use as service management or simply digital enablement, the change is more than technology change. It’s also people change because of the impact on traditional ways of working. This requires organizational change management from the outset; otherwise, the hard work and money invested in selecting the right enterprise service management solution for your organization’s needs might struggle to reap the expected benefits due to change resistance and other potential barriers to adoption.

Enterprise service management solution need #1 – the non-functional capabilities, including cost

While an enterprise service management solution shouldn’t be selected based on cost, there’s no doubt that for many organizations, the total cost of ownership is an important part of the selection decision-making. Even when viewed in the context of value.

However, other non-functional capabilities are necessary in an ITSM to fully meet your organization’s enterprise service management needs. These capabilities include:

  • Ease of use – this is for the service provider and the people they serve, with their expectations likely influenced by their consumer-world experiences of service and support.
  • Domain separation – it’s vital that the ITSM solution can separate the different use cases, not only for the separation of data but also for the use of different processes and terminology. This includes the ability to offer domain-specific knowledge management to ensure help searches or automated recommendations focus on the business function context.
  • Scalability – when your ITSM is used across the organization, the need for scalability is imperative, especially when limitations affect the tool’s extension or performance.
  • Access controls – as an extension to domain separation, who can access what is a critical need that shouldn’t be overlooked. For example, human resources (HR) teams need to ensure that employee-related information can only be accessed by authorized personnel.

Enterprise service management solution need #2 – digital workflow capabilities

These digitally-enabled capabilities are the reason that the enterprise service management approach exists. They help work flow and be achieved. The primary need is request handling, which includes requests for help, service, information, and change. The ability to tailor the digital workflows is important, too. HR, for example, will require the use of terminology such as “case management” rather than IT’s “incident management.” The automated workflow capabilities should include automated routing, queue management, approvals, alerts and notifications, and service level targets to help work flow efficiently.

Another key piece of the digital enablement jigsaw is self-service and self-help capabilities. These enterprise service management tool capabilities provide a structured work intake method and can reduce the pressure on business function support teams, allowing employees to self-serve and self-help.

Enterprise service management solution need #3 – platform capabilities

These capabilities allow the creation of business-function-specific applications and workflows that extend the enterprise service management use cases beyond the capabilities designed for ITSM use.

The applications or workflows can be applicable to multiple organizations, with these usually created by the enterprise service management vendor or its partner ecosystem. Or a bespoke solution can be created by the customer organization to meet their unique need for digital enablement. In terms of the latter business need or opportunity, business function personnel, not just application developers, should be able to create bespoke solutions via codeless drag-and-drop functionality.

Enterprise service management solution need #4 – new technology exploitation

A key differentiator between enterprise service management is the speed with which new technologies are brought in to improve both the ITSM and enterprise service management capabilities. These technologies can improve operations and outcomes and help individuals and teams to do more.

Two recent examples are artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled and collaboration capabilities. For example, AI-enable capabilities can help with:

  • Automated ticket triage – categorizing routing incoming tickets based on historical data patterns
  • Automated resolution and provisioning – if the AI knows what a ticket relates to and how to treat it, it can also deliver what’s needed without human intervention
  • Automated escalation – when a service-level breach is likely or the ticket’s circumstances change
  • Automated recommendations to service-provider staff – this is delivered in workflows to facilitate decision-making and improve the service experience
  • Self-help knowledge and solution provision to employees – this can be delivered via traditional self-service portal exchanges or newer chatbot capabilities.

If you would like to learn more about the capabilities required in fit-for-purpose enterprise service management, please visit

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