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Rolling out service management best practices and tools across multiple internal support functions is a big task. Each service domain has its own objectives, people, culture, service portfolio and maturity – so IT needs to be able to handle a variety of business contexts.

How to implement Enterprise Service Management (ESM)

But where do we start?
How do we structure an ESM roadmap to gain value quickly? Should we tackle each service domain sequentially, cherry-pick key services by priority, or opt for a big bang and hope we have mitigated all risks?
The strategic decisions should be founded on an understanding of the services that business units provide, as well as the volume of demand being put on them. Analysis is a big part of the work IT needs to do to succeed with an ESM program. It is critical to understand the business context of each service domain in order to assess the true business priorities and plot out a roadmap.
One of the difficulties lies in the fact that opinions will differ between service providers and service customers. The priorities according to business managers (on the inside of a service domain) will often conflict with the priorities of their customers elsewhere in the business. This disconnect makes is necessary to engage with both sets of stakeholders in order to triangulate the truth. The adoption strategy you choose must be founded on deep knowledge of each of the different service domains. Consequently, ESM requires broad and deep engagement between IT people and business stakeholders – something that IT professionals are not well known for. For many, this is outside of their comfort zone, so selecting the right people to plan and execute your ESM strategy is as important as the strategy itself.
Taking a “big bang” approach to an Enterprise Service Management program is not feasible for most large organizations so it is necessary to break up the implementation into phases, with each phase bringing another tranche of services into the Enterprise Service Portfolio. Your initial strategy should outline your approach to the first phase. Will you tackle HR first and then work sideways to include Facilities Management, Legal and Admin? Or do you want to pick the two most important services from each domain initially, and then work downward on the second phase?
The success of ESM in the long term is reliant on executing the first phase effectively to prove value and gain support for the next round. This underlines the need for a sensible and practical approach. To make it work, the IT department needs the right mix of strategy, sponsorship, manpower, skills and relationship-building. When properly planned, an Enterprise Service Management program will deliver transformative business change. However, like most large-scale initiatives, you only really get one shot at the prize. If you fail to plan adequately, your initiative will fall at the first hurdle and “ESM” will become just another bad acronym to the business.

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