Enterprise Service Management – frequently referred to as ESM, is the extension of IT Service Management (ITSM) principles to provide better service delivery for business teams like Human Resources (HR), legal, facilities, marketing, and finance.

ITSM is how IT teams manage the end-to-end delivery of IT services to customers. One example of ESM is building a service desk that could be used by all teams across the organization. ESM builds on IT workflows so they can better manage service demand and delivery with a service management tool.

Forrester defines ESM as “extending IT service management capabilities beyond technology services to address business-centric use cases; managing service demand and supply through a common platform, portal, and service catalog; and speeding up innovation and workflow automation through PaaS/low-code development tooling.”



Instead of ITSM vs ESM, it’s ITSM plus ESM. A good ITSM implementation helps organizations build upon their success and apply it to unify all teams, standardize service and streamline workflows. ESM picks the “best of the bunch” from existing ITSM principles that IT teams have relied on for years. ITSM excels at helping IT teams boost performance, effectiveness, responsiveness, and being able to measure it. It’s not just about blindly duplicating. It’s about intentionally adopting the principles of ITSM to meet the unique business needs of each department. Ensuring everyone speaks the same language and can access help in a consistent way.

How ESM enables Digital Transformation

The terms ITSM and ESM can sound off putting for teams outside of IT. With more and more businesses embarking on digital transformations, gaps between teams are becoming clearer. While ESM isn’t digital transformation, there are a number of ways ESM enables digital transformation, including:

Clarifying services and processes

ESM helps organizations articulate their services and offer them in a consistent way through a unified portal, accessible 24/7. Bringing visibility into the day-to-day work of HR or IT teams and their benefits for the company sets an end to unstructured requests processes.

Breaking down silos

Onboarding, a process where HR and IT work closely together through many steps, is often manual and error-prone. ESM defines a consistent workflow initiating the new employee into the system. A consistent sequence starts with the involved departments being automatically informed - ensuring no one drops the ball.

Automation for efficiency

Automating on boarding isn’t the only area that can be sped up. When all teams display their services through a ‘digital catalog’, processes are identified. IT teams can automate access to software systems or replacements of broken equipment, all while having everything tracked and logged.

Improved control and governance

What is tracked can be measured. By defining services across all teams, work can be centralized and streamlined. For example, ID passes can be risky for an organization. If the requests are lodged through a service management tool, at the end of each month, facilities teams can look at outstanding passes and follow up. 

ESM + catworkx

At catworkx, we use Jira Service Management for any interaction with our customers - Service Requests, Licenses Deals, Incidents, Changes or Meetings - are all handled and managed in one central Service Desk. Along with a highly customer-oriented service culture we also build a culture of internal "customers", meaning we digitalized all internal processes to keep work flowing. We have dedicated desks for CRM, Data Privacy and Internal IT Request removing the need for a long-breathed approval process and providing standardize services across all teams. Our Knowledge management gives team members access to information in a self-service fashion. A single, unified wiki helps everyone - from consultants to developers - access information at any time.

Enterprise Service Management Whitepapers:

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Your point of contact:

Albert Gärtner

Senior Atlassian Consultant

Albert Gärtner
Compliance, Identity- and Access Management, Corporate Culture, Enterprise Service Management

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