Enterprise Service Management (ESM) has been gaining traction over the last few years — and for good reason. With technology driving businesses forward these days, organizations must be able to holistically drive value to the bottom line of the business. And ESM can help them do just that.
The question is where to start with ESM? How can you implement ESM into your organization so that it actually sticks? While there are multiple approaches for implementing ESM initiatives, there’s one tool that you might already be using that can form the foundation for good ESM.
Why Is ESM Important?
Enterprise Service Management is an organizational capability for delivering value in the form of products and services by facilitating outcomes leveraging the resources of the entire organization in a holistic manner.
It’s important to acknowledge that ESM is not just simply extending IT Service Management (ITSM) into the enterprise. You can’t just take your ITSM tools and workflows and apply them across the organization- and expect success. Instead, ESM is about integrating everyone’s activities within the organization and managing those workflows holistically.
So why is ESM so important? Because organizations are now digital.
Technology plays a role in all parts of every organization. Businesses have become so reliant on technology to deliver products and services that it is impossible to separate the business process from the technology. Therefore, it only makes sense that digital organizations adopt ESM.
Barriers to ESM
But organizations face challenges in adopting ESM. Perhaps the most significant of these challenges are silo behavior and a lack of understanding of how work flows through the organization.
Organizations can’t afford to have siloed departments working in isolation. Everyone within the organization has to understand not only how their work contributes to success, but also the upstream and downstream impacts of their work.
The best way to identify and break down silos and understand how work flows through the organization is value stream mapping.
What are Value Stream Maps?
Value stream maps represent the internal, end-to-end view of how information, products, and value flows through the organization.
A value stream is the sequence of activities required to design, produce, and deliver a good or service to a customer, and it includes the dual flows of information and material.
An organization will likely have several different value streams. And in only very rare occasions do value streams not cross department boundaries. However, the people that work within those departments may not recognize or even be aware of that.
A value stream map allows people to visualize the steps and corresponding data flow of how departments interact, which is what makes value stream mapping so powerful. A well-formed value stream map identifies where there is friction or waste, such as bottlenecks, missed hand-offs, and ineffective processes, within a value stream. A value stream map is a great tool for aligning organizations on how work gets done and where there are opportunities for improvements. When done correctly, a value stream map is a powerful tool for breaking down and eliminating silo behavior within an organization.
How do Value Stream Maps enable good ESM?
So how do value stream maps enable Enterprise Service Management?
Well, even without maps, value streams already exist in every organization. But they might not be well-understood or the steps involved in the value stream may not be documented. Some members of the organization may not understand their role or contribution within a value stream.
Value stream maps illustrate how everyone contributes to a value stream, but also what activities and people depend upon those contributions for achieving their own contributions. Miss a step, or if a step doesn’t happen as expected, and the value stream breaks down. And when a value stream breaks down, not only is the organization impacted, but the customers of the organization are impacted as well.
This is where good ESM helps.
Good ESM delivers the repeatable, consistent, and measurable workflows and underpinning technologies that support the work done within value streams.
Value stream mapping also helps organizations avoid what I call “enterprise silo management”. Enterprise silo management results when organizations take a technology-first approach to ESM. Examples of “enterprise silo management” include approaches like providing access to the ITSM tool to colleagues outside of IT for logging and tracking tickets. Or an organization has purchased specific “modules” for its ITSM tool or provided separate instances of its ITSM for use by a non-IT department, such as HR or Facilities. In many cases, this results in no end-to-end, cross-departmental views of the flow of information, work, and value. In fact, these approaches only reinforce departmental boundaries and cause friction within the organization…the opposite of what effective value stream maps would illustrate.
Start ESM with VSM
Effective ESM connects the parts of the enterprise together to create a better working environment and deliver improved results. After a year of remote work with many organizations still grappling with how to deal with hybrid work environments and higher customer expectations, businesses are feeling the pressure to find better ways of working. Progressive organizations recognize that each part of an organization must be part of those better ways of working and contribute for organizational success.
ESM is a holistic approach that will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of any organization.
But to do ESM well means starting first with identifying and understanding how the work flows through the organization. Value stream mapping illustrates how work and value flows through an organization. With this information, CIOs can begin to build their business case for ESM and gain buy-in from other leaders.
Starting ESM implementation with value stream mapping is a powerful start that will set your business apart today and in the future.