See the human side of service managementPart 3: Trust


This series examines the human side of gaining support for Enterprise Service Management (ESM). Throughout the series, we explore how relationships, communication and trust matter for Enterprise Service Management success. In this final bulletin of the series, we discover the role that trust plays in building organizational confidence for better service management across the business.


Written by:

Stephen Mann, ITSM Consultant

Rebecca Beach, ITSM Specialist

Patrice Burnside, Industry Commentator

Foreword by Patrice Burnside

In the last two instalments of our series exploring the human dimension of service management, we heard from Stephen Mann and Rebecca Beach as they discussed the value of building solid relationships in your ‘beyond IT’ journey, and of course the benefits of keeping communication at the heart of service management.


In committing yourself and your team to building good relationships with powerful, two-way communication, you’ll help foster a growing sense of confidence among your colleagues and stakeholders. This confidence is crucial to cementing the final subject in our series: trust.


If you’re designing an Enterprise Service Management (ESM) project, make sure you take the time to establish trust and confidence among colleagues. An ESM project lacking trust is likely to encounter countless setbacks and delays. People will look for reasons to put up roadblocks, to discourage others from exploring new ways of doing business, etc.

So, how do you build the all-important zone of trust?


Starting small is a key piece of advice. From there, you can gradually gain momentum and wider buy-in.


Throughout the organization, identify who has a reputation for embracing new tools and processes. You’ll need these allies to help bring other colleagues on board, both at the start and further down the line. Seek individuals who are known for being able to quickly learn new systems and tools, and who tend to become champions and trainers in these areas. They can provide a bridge between IT and their respective teams. For example, these colleagues can help translate the value proposition from IT jargon to the departmental language of their teams. Getting rid of, or minimizing, any IT references can help allay the fear of having to learn something new, different and perhaps foreign-sounding.


As you bring your champions on board, engage this core group of people in a conversation about which key pain points exist in their roles and departments. If they had a magic wand, what would they transform? From these conversations, focus on one or two key processes that can be improved, earning both you and your colleagues a quick win or two. These pilot projects can help you begin to build trust for a larger roll-out.


Of course, a service management tool can hardly be a magic wand on its own. We can’t expect the IT Service Manager to be a magician, and the audience, if you will, shouldn’t really be thought of as ‘end users’, either. That phrase suggests a certain balance of power that starts with someone else and travels downward. ESM is anything but.


To work, to be sustained, and to thrive, ESM must be thought of as a loop. Colleagues need to be recognized as full partners with mutually established goals. In this way, the foundations of respect and trust – which are fundamental for any business transformation to have a chance at success – can be built, maintained and relied on.


Five quick tips to help you better build trust for Enterprise Service Management

Stephen Mann and Rebecca Beach share their advice on how you can make trust a cornerstone of the service management experience in any workplace.


1. Get your IT house in order before you start scoping opportunities beyond IT. Survey employees to see how they view current IT services and operations. Create action plans for addressing these pain points. If business colleagues view the employee-facing side of IT to be less than satisfactory, don't be surprised if you don't get far in convincing them that it's something they should be embracing.

2. The ESM journey should be a mix of IT-push and enterprise-pull. If there is little pull from the other parts of your organization, then look for new ways to create demand rather than just continuing to push. Start small and do it well: positive word of mouth will help the rest of the business to understand why they should be involved.

3. When it comes to service management beyond IT, your IT team shouldn't limit itself to selling service management technology to the business. Concentrate instead on selling your expertise, your knowledge, and lessons learned. These insights can do wonders for building confidence in unchartered territory.

4. A big bang approach to ESM will be difficult and risky. Better to start small, focusing on a single line of business or capability, and then build on your successes and the trust gained. In terms of adoption beyond IT, success sells itself across the business landscape.

5. Finally, don’t underestimate the size of the operational, and potentially cultural, change for the other corporate service providers and their staff. ESM will potentially cause both joy (better efficiency) and pain (better insight into individual performance).


Defining Enterprise Service Management

Enterprise Service Management (ESM) is the extension of IT Service Management (ITSM) technology and possibly ITIL® across other corporate service providers (ITIL is the ITSM best practice framework formerly known as the Information Technology Infrastructure Library). ESM serves to deliver a better, automated, and possibly uniform service delivery and service experience. Ultimately, its purpose is to generate as much value as possible for the business, regardless of corporate service provider. ESM can also be referred to as Outside IT, Beyond IT, or Service Management.


Did you realize how rapidly ESM is being embraced?


  • A late-2014 survey by HDI found that 51% of respondents are either already using ESM or are planning to adopt ITSM principles beyond IT.
  • A 2015 survey by SDI found that 55% of respondents are planning for a shared-service management model.


Discover how The Scottish Government made trust a cornerstone in rolling out service management beyond IT


The Scottish Government IT department had used Axios Systems’ ITSM solution, assyst, for more than 20 years to manage their IT Service Management. But they wanted to share the benefits of this resource across the organization, and sought to introduce the same ease of use and workflow capabilities to their non-IT colleagues. Their objective was to gain the confidence and trust of their colleagues, to support the goal of rolling out service management beyond IT.


Before the project launched, the team held multiple drop-in sessions to help allay any initial fears held by customers. Internal workshops were also organized. After the project launched, the IT team continued to measure and respond to partner feedback via automated surveys and direct outreach. 


Behind the scenes, the IT team has made it a priority to listen to the needs of customers. The focus has been on discovering the needs which go beyond immediate requirements, which means listening for what customers are genuinely asking for. As such, the team continuously reflect on whether they are helping their colleagues, or themselves.


Engagement has been key to supporting these new relationships, with an ongoing dialogue continuing after the services first went live. The IT team has learned to check, and verify, repeatedly that everything is functioning to a high level, and that opportunities for continuous service improvement are identified, scoped and actioned. This approach has allowed them to continue building upon the trust that has been established and nurtured throughout the process of rolling out Enterprise Service Management.


To learn more from the Scottish Government, read the full case study.


About the authors

Stephen Mann, ITSM Consultant

Stephen Mann is an independent IT and IT Service Management (ITSM) content marketing creator, and a frequent blogger, writer, and presenter on the challenges and opportunities for IT Service Management professionals. In his career, he’s held positions in IT research and analysis (at IT industry analyst firms Ovum and Forrester, and the UK Post Office), ITSM consultancy, IT service desk and IT service management, IT asset management, innovation and creativity facilitation, project management, finance consultancy, internal audit, and most recently product marketing for a SaaS ITSM tool vendor.


Rebecca Beach, ITSM Specialist

Rebecca Beach is a well-known figure in the ITSM field. Rebecca has held roles as ITSM Research Analyst for the ITSM Review, ITSM Tools Engineer at Capita and Service Desk Analyst at Hanover Housing Association where she won the SDI IT Service Excellence Professional of the Year 2012 Award.


Patrice Burnside, Industry Commentator

Patrice Burnside is the Content Marketing Manager for Axios Systems. With more than 10 years’ experience in print and digital media, Patrice enjoys facilitating conversations about digital innovation and the ways in which it can improve society and enterprise. She invites you to keep the conversation going on:



Part 2: Communication

Next: How to improve service management by leveraging user feedback