Enterprise Service Management – Not Just About ITSM Processes

This is blog three of a four-part enterprise service management blog series. The first blog – The Perfect Storm Driving Enterprise Service Management – can be read here. And the second – 14 Benefits of Enterprise Service Management – here.

Enterprise service management is a way for other business functions – such as HR, facilities, legal, and finance – to benefit from IT service management (ITSM) principles, best practices, and technology. However much of the focus is often placed on the request-based elements of employee support that IT professionals would equate with the IT service desk:

  • Requests for help
  • Requests for information
  • Service requests
  • Change requests

However, enterprise service management can, and should, be so much that replicating the IT service desk in other business functions. In particular enterprise service management can, and I believe should, involve:

  • Service thinking, and
  • Taking an ITIL, the ITSM best practice framework, service lifecycle approach

Service thinking

It’s as simple as thinking about what you “do” in terms of services. Services that are consumed by employees or customers who don’t really care what’s employed to deliver the services (as long as the services meet their requirements).

For the IT organization this has, or should have, been a move away from thinking about, managing, and providing corporate technology in domains, e.g. network, compute, storage, and applications; to delivering IT as a portfolio of services. Services such as a managed desktop service or a mobile email service.

Unfortunately though, it’s easy for IT organizations to think, and say, that they have adopted ITSM or ITIL best practice when all they have really done is implement a small number of ITSM or ITIL processes. With the usual suspects being incident management, request fulfillment, knowledge management, and change management plus potentially problem management, service level management, and configuration management. And, more recently, maybe a self-service and/or service catalog capability.

But how many IT organizations have really adopted service thinking? And if the corporate IT organization hasn’t then the other business functions they extend ITSM to probably won’t either.

Taking an ITIL service lifecycle approach to enterprise service management

While some still think of ITSM and ITIL as merely the service delivery and IT support processes they use (or what they use their ITSM tool for), the ITIL service lifecycle offers so much more. It takes the service thinking and provides a cradle-to-grave approach to managing services. And there’s no reason why the ITIL service lifecycle can’t also be applied to other business functions.

Looking to the five core ITIL publications, this would be “doing”:

  • Service strategy. Defining the perspective, position, plans, and patterns that the corporate service provider needs to execute to meet its business purpose. This can allow business functions to think more deeply about the services they offer and deliver – so much more than merely the mechanics of service delivery.
  • Service design. It’s not only the design of the services but also the governing practices, processes, and policies required to realize the business function’s strategy. Service design includes: service catalog management, service level management, availability management, capacity management, and supplier management which can all be applied to non-IT scenarios.
  • Service transition. To quote ITIL: “Service transition ensures that new, modified, or retired services meet the expectations of the business as documented in the service strategy and service design stages of the lifecycle.” With change management, service asset and configuration management, service validation and testing, and knowledge management all relevant to other business functions.
  • Service operation. It’s the activities and processes required to deliver and manage services at agreed levels to employees and customers. It’s the ITSM processes most likely to be used in the early stages of enterprise service management adoption: incident management, service request fulfillment, and problem management.
  • Continual service improvement (CSI). Identifying and implementing improvements to services or business function operations. I wonder how many existing enterprise service management successes include CSI?

Thus, enterprise service management can be so much more than just service desk and self-service, and more than just the extension of the commonly-adopted ITSM processes outside of IT.

This blog was originally written for All Things ITSM. You can check out the original version here.

Stephen Mann
Principal Analyst & Content Director at ITSM.tools | Website

Principal Analyst and Content Director at the ITSM-focused industry analyst firm ITSM.tools. Also an independent IT and IT service management marketing content creator, and a frequent blogger, writer, and presenter on the challenges and opportunities for IT service management professionals.

Previously held positions in IT research and analysis (at IT industry analyst firms Ovum and Forrester and the UK Post Office), IT service management consultancy, enterprise IT service desk and IT service management, IT asset management, innovation and creativity facilitation, project management, finance consultancy, internal audit, and product marketing for a SaaS IT service management technology vendor.

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