Enterprise Service Management (ESM): A comprehensive guide

Automate and optimize workflows across your organization to speed up your technology-driven business transformation

What is Enterprise Service Management?

Staying agile and competitive, as competitors snap at your heels. Enhancing operations while keeping costs to a minimum. Driving operational efficiency alongside enhancing employee and customer experiences.

That’s the push-pull reality of enterprise IT management. And as digital and business transformation picks up pace, gaps between departments start to show.

Enterprise Service Management (ESM) is the solution: Enabling you to create a unified, 24/7 portal for your full range of employee and customer-facing services.

This ensures that every individual across all teams benefits from improved work outcomes, eliminating the need to navigate through the entire organization. Instead, they are provided with the necessary information through a single, user-friendly platform. 

For a deeper dive, read our blog Simplifying Enterprise Service Management Enterprise

The importance of ESM

ESM is a crucial tool for IT managers and directors. Its comprehensive, integrated approach helps solve the challenges you’re facing:  

Increasing emphasis on employee flexibility and well-being

A shift in working environments means secure remote access is a must-have — not a nice-to-have — across far more of the organization. Enterprise Service Management tools enable you to integrate your full IT ecosystem:

  • ✓ Creating a one-stop service portal
  • ✓ Streamlining processes and interfaces
  • ✓ Minimizing inefficiencies 

Pressure to reduce costs

ESM supports centralizing your operating budgets to reduce costs and maximize productivity. Leave costly frustrations and financial shortfalls behind with ESM driven automation and enhanced resource management capabilities.

Need to rationalize tools across the enterprise

ESM lets you maximize control, agility, and savings across your service management tooling suite.

Lack of insight and reporting

Losing control over the IT landscape, with complex and siloed tools and platforms across different departments? Unclear where and how to save on spending, and to pre-empt and rapidly resolve software issues? ESM will help.

Talent and expertise shortages

Perhaps the need for elevating enterprise-wide services is clear, but you don’t have the capacity in-house to roll out and maintain your ESM goals. Finding the right partner, for implementation and beyond, solves that.

The need to improve collaboration between IT and the wider business

IT leaders can leverage their IT Service Managment (ITSM) knowledge to drive transformational change — they just need the right ESM framework to guide it. 

Driving improved agility and service quality

With smarter, more efficient digital workflows, which minimize service interruptions and downtime.

Guaranteeing risk management and compliance

Through control, adaptability, and an all-round view of your IT ecosystem.

Enhancing end-user experience: For employees and customers

ESM is your tool to boost employee productivity, motivation, and collaboration, enabling seamless access to essential information for every department, whenever it's required. For your customers, it’ll support enhancing your digital services to the level they expect.

With ESM, you have a catch-all solution to overcome these challenges. Tailorable to your enterprise, to evolve its digital maturity.


ESM builds on relevant ITSM workflows to introduce their structure and processes to other business areas. It optimizes resource allocation and delivers stand-out customer and service experiences — across HR, finance, facilities, marketing, and more.

So ITSM and ESM are related but different; they’re companions rather than rivals.


ITSM in brief

ITSM enables IT teams to deliver an organization’s IT ecosystem, in full:

  • Efficiently managing incidents, issues, changes, requests, processes, assets, and configurations
  • Enhancing performance, effectiveness, and responsiveness
  • Measuring all these impacts

Key differences between ITSM and ESM

  • Scope: While ITSM focuses on IT only, ESM can span all departments in your business — including IT and also internal and external processes.
  • Enhancement: Introducing ESM is an opportunity to cherry-pick ITSM’s strongest elements and utilize them across the enterprise.
  • Collaboration: ITSM is naturally insular, but ESM requires opening up services interdepartmentally (across workflows, processes, practices, and tools).

ESM is an organization’s route to centralizing service delivery. And IT leaders and managers are best placed to drive this digital and business transformation strand across their enterprise.

As an IT leader, evolution from ITSM to ESM is your chance to act as a trusted internal advisor. With your ITSM experience, you can guide your organization’s wider ESM implementation and push for transformational impact.

For more information about ITSM and ESM, read our blog The difference between ITSM and ESM.

How ESM enables business transformation 

ESM isn’t digital or business transformation in and of itself. However, it does support both digital transformation and business transformation.

ESM applies the methods and benefits of ITSM to other business areas, supporting organizations to reach digital maturity.

Your end users need to self-serve information and access personalized service and assistance — for better performance, service delivery, and results throughout your enterprise.

With ESM, you can create a single portal for that. Serving each user via the right digital flows, you’ll enhance experience and efficiency for all your users (employees internally, and customers externally).

A single portal, for ease and collaboration

With unified processes, your teams will have the right information available, at the right time. That boosts cross-enterprise collaboration, operational efficiency, employee productivity, and employee and customer experience.

The benefits of this level of service management drive your enterprise towards its overarching business goals. In part, through the transformational effect that ESM is designed to have on your employees’ day-to-day. And also through enhancing compliance, cost-efficiency, and customer-facing quality throughout your services.

Challenges and considerations for ESM implementation

Implementing ESM is a strategic initiative, requiring careful planning and execution. To harness the significant benefits ESM offers, it’s vital to consider the challenges that implementation can pose.

These include:

  • Gaining buy-in for organizational and cultural change
  • Integration with your existing service systems
  • Watertight data management and governance
  • Laying foundations for continuous improvement

When it comes to Enterprise Service Management implementation, there’s a range of possible routes:

  1. The tactical approach to ESM 
    ITSM best practices and tools are shared with a single business function, such as HR, to improve its operations and outcomes. By building this first business service success for one department, you’ll have an actioned use case to demonstrate ESM’s value.
  2. The strategic approach to ESM
    Capabilities are systematically shared across multiple business functions. This could be done one business function at a time, or by sharing each beneficial capability across all business functions, one capability at a time. From a reliable core, you can standardize service quality at scale.
  3. The shared services  approach to ESM 
    Traditionally separate, siloed internal service providers are brought into a single corporate support organization. With consistent operations and a better service experience for your internal and external users, powering service delivery for speed and agility at scale.

Whichever you choose, keep these factors in mind:

ESM isn’t just a technology implementation project

It’s a business change initiative affecting people, processes, and technology. Using organizational change management tools and techniques is imperative to smooth roll-out.

Optimize ITSM capabilities before sharing them across the enterprise

As we explored above, ITSM is the foundation for ESM. So, IT should start by looking inwards and optimizing capabilities that are relevant to the wider organization. For example, if your IT self-service portal hasn’t gained sufficient employee traction, or realized the anticipated benefits, then make sure the root causes are addressed before sharing this key capability with other business functions.

Communicate and sell ESM in business terms

IT leaders and managers are ideally placed to build on ITSM and roll out transformative ESM. But “enterprise service management” probably won’t mean anything to most of your organization. So, communicate its capacity and benefits in ways that match the needs of each business function:

  • Your CFO is likely focused on efficiencies and cost reduction
  • Your CDO may need assistance with back-office digital transformation
  • Your CHRO will prioritize improving the employee experience

Take the adoption approach that best suits your organization’s needs and capacity to change

This might be a capability-by-capability approach, a business-function-based approach, or even a “big bang” approach. The right planning and implementation partner will make sure you’re getting it right.

Ensure your service management tool suits modern ESM needs

This spans:

  • Service management staples
  • The ability for different business functions to securely co-exist within the solution
  • Consumer-like usability (for both customers and employees)
  • Capabilities that exploit new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Platform-based capabilities, allowing non-developers to create bespoke service automations to better support business-function workflows

Don’t overlook “quick wins”

Even if there’s already a grand plan to roll out ESM across your organization, there will still be opportunities that can be quickly addressed with minimal effort and cost. Prioritize these accordingly, especially where the quick wins will alleviate or remove long-held pain points. 

Choosing the right ESM software

Choosing the right ESM tooling starts with identifying your enterprise’s service management priorities, as well as aligning your ESM software with your existing IT infrastructure.

What to look for in ESM tooling?

Selecting the right ESM tooling starts with identifying your enterprise’s main issues — and critical success factors. So, are you struggling with:

  • Inefficient processes?  
    ESM can streamline processes to minimize inefficiencies, delays, and costs.
  • Lack of integration in a maze-like, siloed IT landscape?  
    The right ESM software will integrate your IT ecosystem, creating a one-stop service portal for employees.
  • Poor user experience due to slow, frustrating interfaces?  
    Choose an ESM tool with intuitive interfaces and processes, for better employee experience, productivity, and motivation. And, externally, you’ll be able to offer customers and other stakeholders the quality digital interactions they expect.
  • Low service quality?  
    Go for ESM software that minimizes service interruptions and downtime.
  • Compliance and security issues costing time and causing stress?  
    ESM can help you manage compliance and keep your data secure.
  • High IT management and maintenance costs?
    Opt for ESM software that will help reduce spending via automation and improved resource management.
  • Lack of insights and reporting?  
    The ESM tool you need should gain back control over your IT ecosystem, helping to rationalize your tooling suite.

For further guidance, read our blog How to choose the right ESM tooling for your enterprise?.

The power of ServiceNow

ServiceNow is a leading ESM platform supporting enterprise organizations to reach better service delivery. In brief, it lets you:

  • Create a small center of excellence to build core competencies
  • Power service delivery across the enterprise, for speed and agility at scale
  • Build in repeatability, reliability, and quality assurance with services/apps delivered via the ServiceNow platform
  • Standardize service quality at scale from a reliable core
  • Rationalize your ESM software suite for greater control, savings, and agility

To explore how ESM works in ServiceNow, read more here

Extra tips for starting your ESM journey

To find the ESM option that’s right for your business, these steps can help:

Analyse the current IT landscape across the enterprise

  • How digitally mature is your organization?
  • ow ready is it for ESM roll-out?
  • Are there any organizational or cultural factors that could inhibit your ESM project’s success?

Set clearly defined ESM goals and objectives

  • What’s the scope of your ESM project, and your critical success factors?
  • Who are the key decision-makers involved, and how actively will they support ESM?
  • Can you build the right team internally to drive your ESM initiative?

Create a detailed roadmap for ESM implementation

Including phased rollouts, training plans, and change management strategies.

Choose the right partner for your ESM journey

Experience counts in ESM. Look for a partner that delivers more than platform knowledge, becoming a trusted ally for your ESM evolution.  

Read more on ESG in our selected articles

DXC | Simplifying Enterprise Service Management (ESM)

What is enterprise service management (ESM)?

Enterprise Service Management (ESM) provides a single portal to access information and services across your organization: For all departments, and all lines of business. ESM transforms employee ...

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DXC | What to look for in ESM tooling?

What to look for in ESM tooling?

With the right Enterprise Service Management (ESM) tooling, your organization can transform employees’ experience. From IT to HR and finance to marketing, your people spend a decent chunk of time ...

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DXC | ITSM and ESM: What’s the difference?

ITSM and ESM: What’s the difference?

Anyone familiar with IT Service Management (ITSM) will know that Enterprise Service Management (ESM) isn’t a rival for it. Rather than ITSM vs ESM, ITSM is the foundation for ESM.

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Contact us for your Enterprise Service Management needs

At DXC, our consultants have years of experience making ESM happen for wide-ranging businesses — particularly finance and digital services.

Harnessing ServiceNow Enterprise Service Management, we’ll help your business reach digital maturity. We’ll implement an ESM program tailored to your organization. We engage with you to discover the real opportunities for optimization and taking down siloed processes. After identification of priorities and building a road map for the future, we use ServiceNow’s end-to-end digital workflow platform automate and optimize your processes. Enhancing revenue, compliance, and user experience, and driving down risks and costs.

Fill out the form to get in touch with us, and one of our ESM ServiceNow experts will be in touch soon.