Enterprises deliver services poorly, especially to themselves. From onboarding employees to approving contracts, when you need someone else’s help, the results are often dismal. “Send an email to our shared Inbox so we can ignore it” is too often the default.

This won’t work in the Age of the Customer. Your employees are full participants in the consumer-driven economy, and have high standards. When their experience suffers, so do your real customers. Today’s intensive knowledge work requires better tools than ERP systems linked by email.

There’s light at the end of the email tunnel, however. Over the past few months, I’ve talked to multiple organizations with a surprising solution. They are turning to IT service management.

IT service management (ITSM) has long promoted the Service Catalog. The Service Catalog is a single channel or portal for all enterprise services. These can include a new laptop, application access, a security specialist’s consulting, and more. A common service request platform simplifies management.

Companies adopt ITSM platforms, only to find surprising levels of demand beyond the IT department. Responding to market signals, major ITSM vendors have started to add modules for HR, Facilities, and more. The generally accepted name for this transition is Enterprise Service Management (ESM). ITSM vendors like ServiceNow, BMC, and Cherwell are all expanding their portfolios in the direction of ESM.

But wait, you say … doesn’t the HR department already have robust ERP systems? Yes, but those systems of record are for the HR staff. When you need a service, such as your address changed, you may still be sending a message to a shared email box. There, it is easily lost and there is no ability for the HR department to measure and manage this workload.

Link Alander is the CIO of Lone Star University in Texas (a public system with 100,000 students). He notes, “ServiceNow wraps around the parts of ERP that are missing – those systems don’t have request management…” Facilities management departments similarly lack automation. I found many more examples: requests for marketing, legal, grant writing, and data management services. Ultimately, ESM is a form of author Geoffrey Moore’s System of Engagement concept.

It’s a successful expansion of service management, in my interviews. Multiple sources report 50% of work or more handled by their ITSM ticketing systems is non-IT-based. Departments using ESM improve their demand and execution management. They gain the ability to define internal SLAs. “Our General Counsel’s office is able to complete contracts in under 5 days now. They were taking 2-3 weeks before they onboarded to ServiceNow,” Lone Star’s Alander reports.

Digital transformation will continue to drive this expansion of service management to the enterprise. ITSM tools will continue to expand their scope into ESM. The basis in technology management is powerful. As departments automate, how do they develop and deploy? In part, via ITSM concepts of Change and Release. How do they publish their services? The ITSM service catalog (and now app store) is the preferred location. ESM tools therefore span the entire digital pipeline and product portfolio. That’s a powerful position.

In conclusion, I’m excited to announce my new report, “ESM: Elevate Service Value Beyond The Technology Organization.” In it, I define ESM and discuss its origins, motivations, and direction. No promises at this time, but I’m pretty sure this report won’t be our last word on the subject, either.

Are you ready to rethink ITSM?  If you want to discuss, let me know. I’d love to chat!