Your Enterprise Service Management challenges

Let’s get started on the topic with a few typical situations that we repeatedly encounter among customers in the field of service management:

  • Employees receive service requests from various different channels. Customers use e-mail, telephone, and sometimes even direct contact with service employees to make requests, e.g. if they happen to bump into a colleague while grabbing a coffee.
  • The processing time for a service request differs greatly: Some requests are handled really fast and others can take a long time.
  • In particular, service requests might hang around for quite a while if certain employees are sick or on vacation.
  • The digitalization of services is inadequate; paper is sometimes still used or requests are “passed on” from one processor to the next by phone.
  • A ticket system that’s already getting on a bit is difficult to integrate with the other systems and offers only a modest user interface for customers.

Do some of the points mentioned above sound familiar? Can you see similarities with how things work at your own company? Then you’re in the right place! We’ll explain the challenges when providing services and show you how you can get the most out of your organization with Enterprise Service Management (ESM).

From IT service management to Enterprise Service Management

Nowadays, IT service management (ITSM) has managed to penetrate practically every organization. Good experiences with ITSM and the need to digitalize processes outside of IT are giving rise to the spread of service management throughout entire companies – this is what we call Enterprise Service Management (ESM). ESM is still at the start of its development path. Despite this, a study in Computerwoche found that more than a quarter of companies (27%) are addressing the digitalization of business processes outside IT. And 93% of surveyed companies thought that the principle of IT service management – so standardized, automated IT services – could be applied to other business processes! As examples, they named processes in the areas of IT security, administration, customer services, vendor management, and HR/personnel.

Enterprise Service Management is not an island

The connection of external systems is even more in focus in the case of Enterprise Service Management than for IT service management. For example, customers should be able to use bots to directly generate service requests. Or the integration of a knowledge database should mean that some requests don’t even come about in the first place, since the question could already be answered in advance. Later, we’ll take a more detailed look at the topic of integration.

“But that’s how we’ve always done it!”

When we first arrive at a company, we frequently hear the objection “But that’s how we’ve always done it!”. “We’ve created a great folder structure in our e-mail accounts so that we can keep each request in the right place.” Naturally, the employees in the service management team are all well trained. But if the tool itself is wrong, so an inadequate file repository or folder structure in an e-mail system, the provision of services is really difficult:

  • The management of requests by e-mail, phone, and other channels is really time-consuming.
  • It’s hard to keep to standards since the processes exist only in the minds of the employees.
  • The service quality drops as the number of requests increase, because managing these requests is increasingly complex.
  • It’s difficult or even impossible to prioritize the requests.

You’ll see: If it is not supported by appropriate processes and tools, Enterprise Service Management is simply not feasible. However, if you have an ESM system that works well, you’ll enjoy a real advantage. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits.

The advantages of using Enterprise Service Management

How can ESM help you with digitalization? We’ll take a look at three scenarios from different areas together: IT, central purchasing, and end customer support.

IT service management

Picture an IT help desk. It solves problems encountered by IT users as well as providing services in accordance with ITIL with an IT service management platform. Users can request a new laptop, ask for a license for an Office suite, or apply for access to part of the corporate intranet, for example.

An upstream knowledge base reduces the number of requests, since during the request formulation process, users are shown possible solutions, and in some cases then no longer need to submit their request in the first place.

If a request does make it to the IT help desk, it will have already been pre-sorted: Service level agreements (SLAs) underlie every type of request, so the priority for the processing of an incoming request is immediately clear. The processes behind each type of request can differ, too, since hardware procurement (obtaining quotes, acquiring approval from a manager) differs greatly from a simple problem report, for example.

Lastly, the connection of IT service management to asset management, for instance, can enable questions like the following to be answered: “Who is using which hardware?” or “What quantity of a certain piece of hardware have we delivered?”

There’s a reason why IT service management was a pioneer in the field of process automation: Response times are shorter, analysis possibilities enable transparency, the quality of service processing remains consistently high, and there are much fewer friction losses through the forwarding of requests or changing of employees.

ESM for central purchasing

When procuring other items for the company, the old procedures for placing orders on paper or by phone or e-mail can also be significantly improved through process digitalization. It doesn’t matter whether you’re ordering a pencil, hotel room, or room for an external meeting.

Enterprise Service Management means that the person placing the order is able to trace the status of the request at all times. There’s no longer a need to waste time by repeatedly asking questions about what’s going on. Through the use of ESM for central purchasing, employees no longer need to think about who to contact for which type of procurement. There’s just one place where a request can be submitted: The portal. And requests made there can’t get accidentally forgotten, as was previously often the case for telephone orders.

ESM also enables the depiction of approval processes: For example, the procurement of the pencil mentioned above surely doesn’t require prior approval, whereas the booking of an airfare probably needs to be authorized by a manager.

ESM for end customer support

An overburdened support team is not a good selling point for a company. So why not use Enterprise Service Management to give your customers a positive experience? Some prominent companies such as Spotify offer exactly this to their customers. Thanks to their portal, it’s super easy to report the poor quality of a track. Or think about a provider of managed servers: A portal enables searching for the solutions to problems in the knowledge base. And if the customer doesn’t find what they’re looking for, the portal can be used to report the problem. A ticket is created automatically when the customer does this, and is assigned to support employees for further processing.

Instead of providing a telephone number and making the customer wait in a queue, Enterprise Service Management allows users to report problems with upstream, integrated help tools. In addition, the customer can track the processing status of their ticket whenever they want. This saves time because the support team doesn’t have to deal with inquiries about processing and can concentrate on solving actual problems instead.

An approach like this becomes particularly useful if internal and external ESM systems are interconnected. For example, the reporting of an error by a customer might cause the created ticket to be automatically routed to the internal software development ticket system. The relevant support employee has access to the progress of processing and can give the end customer better information about the solving of the problem.

A summary of the advantages

To demonstrate the benefits of ESM, let’s take another look at the advantages for the various user groups. For company employees, the main advantages are as follows:

  • You no longer need to know who to contact about a specific matter.
  • Requests are not forgotten or lost.
  • Employees are able to see the processing status of their request at all times.
  • It’s easier to implement an approval process and this process is transparent for all.

The following advantages are enjoyed by the processors of requests:

  • There’s an overview of all open tasks, so there’s no need for inbox distribution, trays, or any other means of organizing tasks.
  • The portal shows the priority of the tasks and thus indicates which tasks must be dealt with first.
  • Teamwork with other service desk employees is much easier, since all of the information about a task is available in one place.
  • Substitutions and vacation rules are easier to implement and do not need to be communicated externally.
  • Communication with customers is much easier and more effective thanks to the use of designated templates.
  • The processing history of tasks is clearly visible and enables the traceability of all tasks processed.

As you can see, Enterprise Service Management brings advantages for both sides – customers and the processors of tasks. And it doesn’t matter whether the customer is internal or external: Everyone benefits in the same way. Moreover, the same benefits are enjoyed regardless of the sector and size of the company. With ESM, you’re taking a big step in the digitalization of your processes.

How Enterprise Service Management works

Next, let’s look at how Enterprise Service Management actually works. In the graphic below, we can see the providers of services (including IT, of course) on the right. In the case of ESM, all of these providers are providers within the company. Generally, all of these areas have both internal and external customers. In the center, you can see the ESM platform. This is used by the service providers and, at the same time, is the central point of contact for all service users, who are shown on the far left of the graphic.

How enterprise service management worksSource: Own representation

Let’s take a detailed look at the ESM platform and the tasks undertaken by each of the contained components:

  • Service catalog: As part of a service strategy, service candidates are identified and selected in accordance with certain criteria. If services use other services, it is important to ensure that the infrastructure for these supplier services is in place.
  • Service experience: During the service design process, the service in question is built and offered in a way that makes it usable by end users. This is achieved via an easy-to-use Web interface provided by the ESM platform and, if appropriate, additional apps for mobile devices.
  • Service provision: End user services such as the end customer support described above are often interdisciplinary. They therefore involve multiple business applications: In this case, it might be IT and Finance. The ESM platform must offer flexible interfaces and workflow functions for this service transition.
  • Service reliability: The use of monitoring, operating, and automation tools as part of service operations ensures that the service provision meets customer expectations. Here, service level agreements also play a part. For example, a customer with Gold support will be treated differently than a customer who has opted for basic support only.
  • Service analysis: The use of analysis tools and big data techniques enables the constant improvement of the performance, quality, and cost-effectiveness of the provided services. This is often called continual service improvement. It allows for the ongoing optimization of the portfolio of the offered business services.

We frequently use the Jira Service Management platform from Atlassian for Enterprise Service Management. We’ve had really good experiences with this already and have implemented a host of ESM projects using it. The portal can be operated in a computer center (on-premise) or in the cloud. Each of these possible operating modes has advantages and disadvantages that need to be weighed up. We usually enhance the basic system with a range of plug-ins. Examples include:

  • Elements Connect from Elements Apps. We use this to enable the connection of your external systems such as your CRM system.
  • Inside from Mindville. This plug-in enables the connection of your asset management system. This is particularly useful in IT for all kinds of procured hardware but, naturally, is also beneficial for other assets procured via the ESM portal.
  • Refined for Jira SM by Refined. This Atlassian app allows us to make sure that your ESM portal follows your company’s CI/CD guidelines.

These are only a few examples of the possible enhancements. And naturally, we’re a partner of all of the mentioned companies, so we’re ideally placed to contact them if questions arise or if you need solutions that are not available off the peg.

In addition to the implementation of the basic system and plug-ins, certain processes are required beforehand, and we’re happy to work with you to model and optimize these. The first attempt is often already fairly good, but it’s only during routine operations that the knowledge is acquired that can be used to shape processes to your advantage.

The automation of processes is really important here, too, and we frequently use the plug-in ScriptRunner from Adaptavist to achieve this. It might also make sense to set up escalation chains or an on-call service. To do this, we often use OpsGenie, a tool from Atlassian that is ideal for integration into an ESM system.

Our services in the field of Enterprise Service Management

You’ve now seen the major advantages that the use of Enterprise Service Management can bring about. Following the rollout – which, of course, can take place in steps – you’ll achieve the following at your company:

  • Increased productivity
  • Improved efficiency
  • Reduced costs
  • Higher transparency due to process visualization

We’ll be happy to advise and help you with the following in order to inject these benefits into your company, too:

  • Digitalization and optimization of your business processes
  • Design, implementation, and configuration of Jira for successful usage as an ESM platform
  • Connection of existing systems (cloud, CRM, DMS etc.)

Naturally, we also hold workshops and training courses for users and administrators to help you to work with your system in the best way possible.

Why are we the perfect partner for introducing ESM at your company? Firstly, we have proven expertise in the rollout of Enterprise Service Management. We’ve already helped numerous companies and we’d be happy to do the same for you. Then there are the tools: We know Jira by Atlassian like the back of our own hand. We also maintain partnerships with the providers of a large number of important plug-ins. This means that we can even enable application scenarios that Atlassian has not thought of and can integrate practically any of your systems into ESM processes. And if that’s not enough, we’re also passionate software developers: Our core competence is the agile development of software systems.

So we can make sure that in your case, too, no desire is left unfulfilled.

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