ESM: Pleasing All of the People Pretty Much All of the Time

IT Leaders Endorse ESM

Editor's note: This blog post was written by Valerie O’Connell, Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) Research Director. 

“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”    John Lydgate, 1370-1451

Leave it to a fourteenth-century monk and Oxford scholar to presciently sum up the daily life of IT support in one line. But according to recent EMA research, “ESM: the (R)evolution of ITSM,” there is an exception to this time-honored truism, and that exception is enterprise service management.

Asking the same question, two years in a row, across 600+ IT leaders, yields an absolutely unambiguous endorsement of enterprise service management (ESM). The use of ITSM people, processes, and platforms in support of non-IT functions such as HR, logistics, facilities, and procurement has almost universally positive outcomes.

Two years running, EMA asked: “To date, what has the impact of supporting non-IT areas been on ITSM and IT in terms of IT's relationship to the business?” Ten percent of the respondents chose the average-equivalent response of “modest”—positive, but not earthshaking. The above average answer choices offered were “transformational,” “significant,” and “meaningful” which together pulled in 90 percent of the respondents.

Four aspects of this response set are somewhat surprising:

  • Effectively, 100 percent of practitioners and recipients of ESM view it as having a positive impact on the relationship between IT/ITSM and the business.
  • 90 percent rate the positive impact as well above average.
  • 20 to 38 percent of the respondents, given a range of quite positive options, chose the superlative “transformational” to describe ESM’s impact on the relationship between IT/ITSM and the business.
  • In a world where people will complain about the mustard at a free lunch, not even one percent chose a negative response regarding ESM’s organizational impact. 

What’s interesting here is that the responses held true across industries, company size, and managerial level as well as IT or line of business perspectives. In a world without guarantees, ESM is a sure bet.

First of all, using existing people, processes, and platforms to offer much better employee service at a cost savings that is predictably very large is a no-brainer. In fact, probing the top drivers for adoption of ESM places “leveraging existing investments in IT and ITSM” in an effective dead heat with “ongoing digital transformation” and “cost savings/efficiency of service.”

In a nice symmetry of cause and effect, respondents report benefits received as being a tight map to benefits sought/drivers. An additional benefit that topped almost everyone’s list and almost no one’s primary driver list is increased employee satisfaction. No surprise here. People like getting what they want or need, when they want or need it, in the way they want to seek it. Help with a problem, answer to a question, or a resource provisioned by way of email, voice, chat, or text in the fastest time possible is a universal people-pleaser.

With ESM in its arsenal of offerings, 91 percent of ITSM budgets increased this year, with 74 percent by more than 10 percent and 30 percent by more than 25 percent. Of course this data was collected in February 2020, just before the whole world turbo-pivoted to a new reality. However, there is no reason to believe that the findings of February, though now ancient history, will do anything but hold true or more likely increase in the days ahead. From the fourteenth century to today, giving great service at a decreased cost stands a good chance of pleasing all of the people pretty much all of the time.


Find out how your peers are adopting and implementing ESM in the EMA report, "ESM: the (R)evolution of ITSM." 

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