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Enterprise Service Management Tools Buyers Guide

This buyers guide to enterprise service management tools lays out the products in this space and the functions that figure into a purchasing decision, and it identifies how each product addresses each function.

Enterprise service management (ESM) is big business, and it’s becoming more popular all the time. Businesses are increasingly turning to ESM platforms to optimize processes and workflows, increase automation, maximize efficiency, improve user experience, and reduce costs.

If this sounds suspiciously like IT service management (ITSM), you’re right – to a point. While enterprise service management tools take a broader approach, they did grow out of ITSM. ITSM aims for the same benefits as ESM but in the area of IT services requests. For example, an employee having problems with a balky desktop computer could report the issue on the company’s ITSM platform, which creates a ticket and pursues the matter until it is resolved.

ESM takes that model and expands the principles across the wider organization. For example, an ESM platform can drastically simplify the employee onboarding process. New employees typically need a variety of HR-related things, from office space to benefits registration. With an enterprise service management tool, all of this can be done via a self-service portal, with all processes coordinated automatically on the back end. And it’s not restricted to HR; it can work just as well for facilities management, customer service and other areas.

The process and workflow digitization capabilities of ESM tools can be an effective way to spark a company’s digital transformation efforts, said Adam Holtby, author of the recent Omdia Universe: Enterprise Service Management 2021 report. “[ESM] can help bring business units together in a more seamless fashion and take it out of the realm of the IT initiative to something every business function has a role in,” he added.

Enterprise service management tools are ideal for connecting multiple divisions by allowing businesses to connect different applications and data sources and then develop workflows and derive insights from across that integrated ecosystem. These tools also provide an effective platform for bringing disparate applications and business systems that are deployed and accessed in different ways together. This, in turn, helps businesses create more comprehensive reports and build cross-functional workflows that draw on this data.

To see how an ESM tool can be used across divisions, let’s go back to that employee experience during onboarding. During the onboarding process, the new employee may need services from divisions other than HR. There may be a burned-out lightbulb in the new office, or a printer problem. The first would require help from the facilities department, while the second would require services from the IT department. By using the ESM approach, all requirements flow through one ticket and are distributed to different business functions necessary to satisfy those requirements.

What Tool to Choose?

The tools listed in the accompanying ESM buyers guide were assessed by Omdia on three key elements: technical capabilities; customer feedback and sentiment; and organizational health, growth rate and adoption across geographies. Here are just a few of the technical capabilities examined: 

Specific capabilities or templates for different functions and verticals. These include customer service, HR, security, facilities management, managed services providers, telecommunications, financial services, travel and procurement.

No-code/low-code development capabilities: Allow employees from across different lines of business to easily develop, configure and manage elements including dashboards, apps, digital forms, workflows, reports, integrations and custom applications.

AI: ESM platforms with artificial intelligence and/or machine learning capabilities make platforms smarter. For example, they allow for smarter searching, intelligent analytics, and virtual agents or bots.

Orchestration: This involves ensuring that the capabilities of all applicable services, systems and tools are included and work well together.

Mobile service management/native mobile capabilities: Mobile-enabled ESM tools allow employees to be fully connected to business services from their mobile devices and can speed service resolution.

Asset management: Effectively managing processes across business units requires knowing who is responsible for an asset, who is using it, where it’s located, when it was acquired and what lease or support contracts are associated with it.

Self-service: This refers to the ability for employees to request services directly from the platform without going through an intermediary.

Unified endpoint management (UEM): UEM provides the ability to secure and manage all endpoint devices, from laptops to smartphones.

Integration with third-party tools: The most effective ESM tools can easily integrate with critical applications the business relies on, such as ERP, CRM, communications, financial and HR applications.

A Bright Future

According to one recent survey, about two-thirds of organizations already have some type of ESM system either in place or in the planning stages. That’s not surprising, Holtby noted, considering its potential.

“The need to deliver better support at scale is massive,” he said. “So consolidating the way support from each area of the company is delivered makes so much sense.”

Over the next few years, Holtby expects ESM usage to grow and expand significantly, along with more customized solutions for different types of industries.

For the full details on how the various ESM products on the market address each capability, download our free buyers guide (registration required).



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