See the human side of service managementPart 1: Relationships


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. Let’s begin by taking a look at how you can build winning relationships to help see your project through from conception to implementation.


Written by:

Stephen Mann, ITSM Consultant

Rebecca Beach, ITSM Specialist

Patrice Burnside, Industry Commentator

Foreword by Patrice Burnside

Whether you work in IT, HR, procurement, legal, facilities, finance etc., we are all members of a corporate ecosystem shaped by the forces of an instant-service, instant-access society.


We expect efficiency, consistency and speed of service in just about every interaction of the day. And if we’re failed in that expectation, we vote down the experience by word of mouth, by changing providers, or both. Perhaps it is only natural then, to observe a similar process of consumerization unfolding within the workplace.


This series examines three essential components that you must not overlook when gaining support for enterprise service management across your business. The topics we will discuss include:


  • Relationships, and how to look after them before, during and after an ESM roll-out
  • Communication, and why you cannot overlook the importance of messaging change and opportunity
  • Trust, and how your project will never blossom to its full potential if you do not put this at the forefront


Why are those elements so important? The corporate environment is experiencing consumerization not just of IT, but of all departments who provide a service. It was always inevitable that teams in HR, facilities management, legal etc., would one day be subject to similar consumer-driven, service-experience challenges. After all, these teams ultimately have the same end users/customers/employees as the IT organization. The astute consumers of business services — you and I — are now so conditioned in our personal lives to expect convenience, fast service and the ability to find whatever we need, whenever we need it. We now expect this at work, whether it be from IT or any other corporate service provider.


This ultra-connected culture now permeates every department across our workplace, and is the driving force behind the need for Enterprise Service Management (or, ESM).


Enterprise service management: a challenge for today, not tomorrow

Many of us here will already have been converted (mentally, at least) to the benefits of enterprise service management. Or, we’re in the process of exploring the opportunity, and understanding the immediate and long-term business benefits.


One meaningful tenant of ESM is that it can mirror the best of IT’s service desk methodology, or at least incorporate its best practices. For example, we seek to raise our standards of professionalism through agreed service deliverables and timeframes.


As ITSM experts Stephen Mann and Rebecca Beach write below, applying these good practices can help build more harmonious working relationships across the business. With stronger working relationships, everyone can enjoy more efficient processes, better output, smarter use of business resources, etc.


But as with virtually all cultural or organizational change, any mention of change can bring resistance, reluctance, and, ultimately, fear. That’s why it’s absolutely vital that we pay special attention to building and maintaining relationships throughout the process of introducing ESM as a concept and then as a solution.


Five quick tips to make relationships the backbone of your ESM journey

Want to build winning relationships in support of ESM? Here are five key tips from ITSM experts Stephen Mann and Rebecca Beach.


1. When promoting ESM, always keep the focus on the wider business rather than IT. Simply put, don't try to sell ESM as an IT strategy. It's a business strategy. When you start with a focus on the business as a whole, you enable departments to think more widely about service delivery. This pertains to services, customers, people and other resources, as well as relative priorities and timescales for delivery.

2. Remember: we’re not simply implementing ITSM processes and technology outside of IT. Joined by partners across the business, we’re embracing an opportunity to improve organizational service delivery and the service experience. As interactions become optimized, this will enhance the quality of relationships within and across departments. It will free us up to innovate products, to improve processes, to be a better version of thinkers, creators and contributors.

3. You’ll burn many a bridge if you try to force fit business processes to your ITSM solution. This applies to ESM even more than it does for ITSM. Imposing technology-driven changes to processes will only alienate the people you need as your advocates for expanding ESM further into the business.

4. The service catalog (and self-service portal) is a great and visible success story, as long as you have learned the lessons from early service catalog adopters. So listen to them, work with them, and thank them. Use their feedback to adapt your ongoing ESM strategy.

5. Don’t forget: this is not a one-way process. Other departments may have processes in place that may suit you, or another department, and they may be even better than the ones you are proposing. The goal is overall business improvement, not imposing IT on the rest of the organization.

Building and maintaining supportive cross-departmental relationships is the first step of your human journey into the world of ESM. In the next paper of this series, we’ll explore how communication can help your organization through an ESM transition.


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


Discover how the Scottish Government kept relationships at the forefront of their ESM journey


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 beyond IT, and sought to introduce the same ease of use and workflow capabilities to their non-IT colleagues. Their task was to build key relationships that would support ESM across the business.


So, what did they do? First, they assembled a team of people who work exclusively on assyst and who have always been passionate and dedicated to delivering benefits to the organization as a whole. Then they set about building the partnerships and nurturing the relationships that would lead to organizational transformation. Their process (which you, too, can use) was as follows:

  1. Identify who could benefit from the ITSM workflows. The IT department already shared telephony services with the HR and Facilities teams, so this seemed like a logical starting point.
  2. Meet with the teams identified, explaining in layman’s terms what the product could do.
  3. Ask their colleagues to outline which existing processes and services they could forklift onto the solution.
  4. Regroup to discuss their requirements in depth.
  5. Within the development network, create mock workflows and forms they could work with in real-time.
  6. Work with each partner to refine their processes until the agreed go-live date.

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.


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