enterprise service management

Read This Before Investing in an Enterprise Service Management Tool

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Are you considering Enterprise Service Management (ESM)? There has never been a better time to get started. A 2019 EMA study found that 87% of organizations surveyed already had some level of ESM underway so by implementing ESM, you’re keeping up with the competition. And you’re improving your employee and customer experiences to boot.

Before you go investing in a flashy tool, it’s important to recognize that ESM isn’t just extending ITSM into the enterprise. I believe that ESM is a business strategy that can drive your organization into the future for years. So it’s important you approach ESM implementation the right way. Rushing into it and just buying some tool on the market is a surefire way to have your ESM implementation end badly.

So before you invest in an ESM tool, there are a few things you need to address.

Prep the C-Suite

It’s possible that your C-Suite is in the mindset that a new tool will be the ultimate solution for your organization. They might be pushing you to identify and invest in a tool quickly. You will need to communicate that taking the following steps will lay the needed groundwork for the tool so that your onboarding process is quicker and you can start seeing results and revenue faster. Getting value from a tool is not instant, so whether you take the time before or after you invest in one, you’ll have to take that time. The benefit to doing the work before you invest in technology is that you will avoid investing in the wrong tool.

Confirm the rest of the organization involved and onboard
According to a McKinsey report, “70 percent of change projects fail because management is unable or unwilling to help employees embrace the change.” So it’s essential that people are involved in ESM before you invest in a tool. I want to reiterate that ESM is not about extending ITSM into the rest of the enterprise – it is about how work and value flow through an organization, and how technology supports that workflow. Therefore, other departments and teams need to understand how ESM will benefit them.

There are many benefits of ESM for other departments. ESM offers transparency to every department bringing clarity to every project and eliminating finger-pointing and cross-department blame. Just as an example, a 2018 HDI survey found that 52% of organizations who had implemented ESM saw an increase in employee satisfaction and 75% of organizations saw an increase in productivity.

You may need to identify a specific departmental initiative as an example to illustrate how ESM will work. Be willing to answer any questions that come up from these other departments. For ESM to succeed, you need them to champion it.

Audit your existing workflows.

Most organizations are too concerned with the implementation of the tool and fail to put any effort into the design of processes, measurements, and continual improvement—things that are critical for ESM success.

Your ESM tool is not going to be the magic missing piece. It’s not something you can just switch on and instantly everything will change. Tools can only automate or facilitate what is already defined and working. If you try to use a tool to improve a workflow that is already broken, then your ESM tool isn’t going to work very well.

Before you start pricing out tools, you first need to audit your existing workflows. For each workflow, you need to ensure the right people are involved, that the technology is working as it should and that there are no gaps in service delivery.

Creating value stream maps can be beneficial during these audits. Value stream maps provide a visual, holistic view of the entire workflow and how materials, information, and value flow through the organization to the end-user. It’s going to be the best way for you to understand how and where technology can improve efficiency or quality and increase value.

It’s essential you don’t skip this step because it’s only by having a full view of your workflows that you can identify the right tool that will fit those workflows. You want the tool to enable the workflow, not the other way around.

Audit your tools

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel when looking for your ESM tool — in fact, you might not need to invest in a new ESM tool at all. Many organizations have service management tools that they aren’t using to the fullest capability because they haven’t done the work regarding r people and processes.

You may find after speaking with other departments and auditing your existing workflows that you’re not using your existing tools in the most optimal ways. You may find that existing tools have more features and functions you can use to improve your workflows.

The point is that technology is third in line of importance behind people and processes. Once you have your people and processes on the same page, the technology is the easy part.

Start Small

To effectively implement ESM, you may need to start small and try applying ESM principles to one initiative with one department. This can be an easy way to give the organization a win and demonstrate what ESM looks like in practice so other department leaders and the C-Suite have a tangible example to rely on.

Identify a project from a team that is already a supporter of IT or one that has a good working relationship with your team. This is going to help ease distrust and make implementation easier. Once you have one win under your belt, you can start promoting that win within the organization and continuing to implement ESM into other projects even before spending a dime on a piece of software!

ESM Is Worth the Investment

Enterprise Service Management is a business strategy that can increase revenue, improve efficiency, cut costs and improve the experiences of both users and employees. But ESM isn’t an overnight miracle. It’s a strategy and like any strategy, it will require optimization after you implement it. The only way to optimize is to have a clear vision of where you are starting. Doing this work will make it easier to optimize and to get more from your ESM investments.

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