One thing we can say, after around twelve months of living with this pandemic, is that at least the situation has given companies a push in the right direction as regards digital transformation. Employees are working from home whenever possible. Appointments and meetings take place via video conferencing, and people collaborate on documents together in the cloud. Surveys have repeatedly shown that people value greater flexibility. It’s hard to imagine that employees will return to the office working full time. After the threat of the virus has subsided. But have things really progressed in all areas of the digital world? I don’t think it’s possible to answer that question with a clear “yes”. Areas such as Enterprise Service Management (ESM) are not developing at the pace I would expect. Given how important these solutions are for companies’ digital maturity.
Greater structure in processes and workflows
Enterprise Service Management is a (not entirely new) approach. Developed as a clever refinement of IT service management, allowing it to be utilized in further areas of companies. Applications in areas such as human resources, warehousing, and purchasing are particularly popular. No matter where companies use ESM, the goal is always the same: harmonizing workflows and processes. This creates clear structures and faster processes, saves time, and ultimately reduces costs. At the same time, the flow of information expands and improves. Organizations have software at their disposal to achieve these aims. Applications of this software include:
- workflows and automation,
- knowledge management, and
They can utilize the software according to their respective needs. ESM can even go so far as to use artificial intelligence to predict needs before they arise.
What level of digital maturity does Enterprise Service Management require?
Lower costs, improved structure, greater predictability… ESM sounds like a vital tool for companies that are currently optimizing their digitalization processes. So why isn’t here more progress in this area? There are a number of reasons for this. Managers are only now becoming aware of the many ways in which Enterprise Service Management systems can help streamline their organizations. But even if a company decides today that it wants to integrate ESM, management first needs to clarify whether the organization’s digitalization processes have reached a suitably advanced stage. And that involves more than just assessing data security or installing enough data lines. The following points are essential:
In order to function properly, Enterprise Service Management needs an underlying technical foundation. Companies that work with extensive database systems or tools like IT asset management, a service desk, or a service catalog, for example, are generally at a point where they can also consider implementing ESM.
Enterprise Service Management solutions have the best chance of achieving their full potential when departments in as many areas as possible use them. Departmental silos have to be eliminated before the system can work at its best. Or the organization should at least be aware of any work that still needs to be done in this area. In order to identify requirements and develop appropriate solution structures, organizations need to be capable of thinking outside the box. And that requires a certain degree of agility.
The push for digital transformation in recent months should have spurred many companies to reach the level of maturity required to begin implementing ESM. And yet, I still have the impression that there isn’t much effort being invested here. The reasons for this are obvious: COVID-19 has resulted in dwindling budgets. And in 2020, most companies initially prioritized the rapid transition to remote work and the digitalization of their businesses. Those decisions were absolutely the correct ones at the time. However, organizations shouldn’t completely lose sight of ESM. If they want to remain competitive over the long term, it is important for them to be familiar with the entire value chain. And to take advantage of digital automation solutions to optimize it.