What is enterprise service management (ESM)? (With examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 14 November 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Enterprise service management (ESM) is a type of operational architecture that breaks up service providers in a company, such as HR or IT departments, to define them as a type of service domain that provides services to those in the company. The services help create useful outcomes for both you and your business as a whole by supporting them in their work. As a result, you can use ESM to improve the overall productivity and profitability of a company by improving internal efficiencies. In this article, we look at what ESM is, the benefits it offers and some examples.

What is enterprise service management (ESM)?

Enterprise service management, often abbreviated to ESM, builds from IT service management (ITSM) principles to help improve how service providers in a company, such as HR departments, deliver services. ITSM is a way for IT teams to handle the delivery of service to customers and clients and ESM uses this framework for other service providers in a company. For example, ESM helps to build service desks for a company to help entire departments in an organisation.

Related: 3 types of enterprise systems (with real-world examples)

Why is ESM important?

ESM is an important and beneficial framework to bring into a business as it extends the reach of IT service management capabilities into other areas outside of IT. In essence, ESM applies the core principles of ITSM to non-IT services and areas of a company. It offers unique methodologies, strategies and tools to effectively optimise and handle the delivery of all services within a company.

One of the best aspects of ESM is that it applies to almost all areas of a business and the services they offer. This includes areas of the business such as HR, finance, sales, customer service, advertising, procurement and legal. This flexibility makes ESM suitable for almost any type of enterprise business. It isn't a direct replacement for ITSM, but instead an extension of it to help create more value for a business and the services it provides.

Related: What is ITSM (With key benefits and popular frameworks)

What are the benefits of ESM?

There are a number of benefits associated with ESM to improve the overall efficiency, productivity and profitability of an enterprise-level company. Below are some prominent benefits associated with ESM:

Improves efficiency and lowers operational costs

The current trend for the vast majority of businesses is finding ways to lower costs across the company. To do this, businesses can bring in ESM to streamline how departments and service providers communicate. This not only improves productivity and efficiency, but it lowers operational costs as any problems experience faster resolution and, in some cases, less downtime.

ESM is also a useful way to track key assets for a business, such as equipment or tools. With the rise of remote working, tracking these assets has become much more important and difficult, as staff often take equipment home with them to work. ESM is an excellent solution to this as it uses specialised software to track and manage these assets.

Related: What are ITSM tools and how can they help IT departments?

Offers excellent return on investment

Bringing in an ITSM solution that includes a low cost of ownership, provides a tremendous return on investment for a company. This is especially true for larger companies, as when more people and service providers use ESM solutions, return on investment grows when compared to standalone IT solutions. It does require an understanding of a few different factors to measure, such as the number of tickets for each month, the cost of each ticket and things like licensing costs for the software.

Related: How to calculate return on investment: an in-depth guide

Improves collaboration and communication with a company

ESM is an excellent way to handle a number of different business processes, such as onboarding, which in turn improves levels of collaboration and communication in the company. This is especially true for working remotely, which has seen a rise in recent years. This is because it provides a shared platform to share ideas, notes and requests to resolve issues.

This ability to collaborate and communicate more effectively helps with getting work done, but it also helps with things like employee retention. By creating a simpler, more unified way of working, staff are less frustrated as they feel things happen much faster. As a result of this, job satisfaction increases and staff are less likely to leave as they're happy with their workplace.

Related: The importance of communication objectives (with examples)

Helps with visibility and governance within the business

Using an ESM in the workplace helps managers track things like project progress or the status of help tickets. This improved visibility and transparency provide managers with more insight into workplace operations, ensuring they optimise the time spent chasing up issues. Moreover, it helps highlight areas of concern to let managers know who may require assistance in their team.

This is also true for senior leaders and executives within a company, as ESM provides them with a standardised way to access reports and other documents. This gives them insight into where key resources are necessary, levels of productivity within the business and things like strengths or weaknesses in teams and departments.

Improves standardisation across the company

ESM is a useful way to standardise a number of procedures and processes in an organisation, which improves employee experiences at work. ESM frameworks typically bring in self-service portals with knowledge bases to make it easier for staff to learn about company policies and stay up to date with the latest changes in the company.

A good example of this is the onboarding process, which is often made much easier with the use of standardisation. When a new member of staff requires information about company procedures, they have an accessible platform through ESM to find what they need. This circumvents a lot of the chasing around that happens when ESM isn't established, as staff aren't expected to contact HR or another service provider directly for information.

Related: How to create an effective onboarding process

Helps create an improved customer experience

The benefits of ESM create positive knock-on effects that help to create an improved customer experience. As staff spend less time looking for answers to customer queries, they're better equipped to resolve issues for customers in a timely manner. So, when a customer calls up with an issue about a product or service, staff have the necessary resources available to effectively deliver a positive result for the customer.

For example, if a customer calls a company about an issue with a light that needs repairing, staff can use ESM to quickly book a repair service for the customer. This request goes through the workflow of the ESM so the repair team receives instant notifications about the work. Moreover, all staff involved have access to real-time updates, such as repair time estimates, ensuring customers stay informed throughout the process.

Related: 10 tips for improving customer service management

Examples of ESM

Due to the nature of ESM, it's applicable across a variety of different areas in a business. Below are a few different examples of ESM and how it applies to different service providers in a company:

Customer service

Every business relies on customers to drive revenue and make sales, so providing a useful customer service department is important. This ensures customers are happy with the products or services they buy from the business and maintains a healthy customer base. Bringing in ESM to a company helps customer service professionals handle customer queries and requests more effectively, as they have a unified place for all resources and knowledge bases.

So for customer service teams, ESM is a useful platform that connects them to other areas of the business. This extra level of connectivity ensures customer service teams are better equipped to handle issues quickly, improving service for customers and making the job of a customer service professional easier in the process.

Related: What is customer service management? (Tools and benefits)


Procurement teams ensure companies have sufficient resources and assets to function. A good portion of this work involves tracking down the best pricing for items before securing the right quantity of items. With ESM, this is all automated through the portal. Quotes are input directly through the ESM interface before senior management makes the final approvals. Merchants can even interact with the ESM to offer bulk discounts or updates on pricing, making it much less labour-intensive to track down the best price for assets.

Related: What is a procurement process flow chart, and why use one?

Accounting and finance

ESM is equally useful for internal services, such as accounting and finance departments. Employees might track expenses, submit invoices for work-related expenses or keep track of different payments. ESM makes all of this much easier by removing manual processes, such as collecting receipts and automating them through the ESM portal. This means staff submit financial records on their own, removing the need to physically hand over documents. This cuts down on time and improves the overall efficiency of internal payment processing.

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