The difference between ITSM and ESM explained

May 13, 2024

Anyone familiar with IT Service Management (ITSM) will know that Enterprise Service Management (ESM) isn’t a rival for it.

From HR to facilities and finance, ESM helps organistions articulate and consistently offer their services through a unified, 24/7 portal.

ESM is an organisation’s route to centralising service delivery. And IT leaders are ideally placed to drive this component of digital transformation across their company.

Rather than ITSM vs ESM, ITSM is the foundation for ESM.

Leveraging their ITSM expertise, IT leaders can light the way to increased efficiency, minimised costs, and improved employee experience and productivity.

Understanding IT Service Management (ITSM)

ITSM enables IT teams to deliver an organisation’s IT ecosystem, in full:

  • Efficiently managing incidents, issues, changes, requests, processes, assets, and configurations
  • Enhancing performance, effectiveness, and responsiveness
  • Measuring all these impacts

Naturally, the focus is solely on managing the IT landscape — but ITSM’s proven processes and capabilities have wider applications. This makes IT managers great advisors on change that will positively impact your organisation.

Beyond IT: Enter Enterprise Service Management (ESM)

ESM is inspired by ITSM, building on relevant ITSM workflows and bringing their structure to other business areas. Think HR, finance, facilities, marketing, and more.

ESM in action: All-in-one onboarding

Rather than contacting multiple departments  who can’t see what others have already delivered, new employees can request the full onboarding package via one platform. Desk, chair, keycard, and parking space from facilities; phone and laptop from IT; and so on.

Key Differences between ITSM and ESM

  • Scope: While ITSM focuses on IT only, ESM can span all departments in your business — including IT. This approach takes the user as a starting point, and it’s designed to deliver the best experience for them. As you break down organisational silos and barriers with ESM, your users will experience more positive interactions with your business.
  • Enhancement: Introducing ESM is an opportunity to cherry-pick ITSM’s strongest elements and utilise them across the enterprise.
  • Collaboration: ITSM is naturally insular, but ESM requires opening up services interdepartmentally (across workflows, processes, practices, and tools).

ESM benefits for IT Leaders

ITSM can only take organisations so far; to pioneer digital maturity, IT leaders should look to ESM. ESM enables bringing all your organisation’s departments under one umbrella, streamlining all processes to increase organisational efficiency. It offers one centralised platform that helps you create, consume, and support all your business functions.

This starts with pinpointing your organisation’s priority issues and related success factors, then finding ESM tooling to suit:

  • For streamlined processes - ESM minimises inefficiencies, delays, and costs.
  • For integrating your IT landscape - Creating a one-stop service portal for employees.
  • For intuitive user experience - No more maze-like, slow, or frustrating interfaces for better productivity and motivation.
  • For compliance and security - Save time and stress, keeping your data secure.
  • For reduced costs - Via automation and improved resource management.
  • For improved service quality - Minimise service interruptions and downtime.

A comprehensive guide to Enterprise Service Management

Standardising cross-organisation service delivery

With ESM, every department can focus on value-adding work, not time-consuming administration tasks. From requesting a laptop to booking holidays, it’ll be as easy as it should be for employees (and their managers).

Better service delivery and user experience, beyond just IT

Reduce workloads, avoid human/manual errors, and enable employees to access quality, quick self-service via one platform.

Data-driven improvement

With reporting and analytics, service delivery and user outcomes can continually improve.

A unified IT ecosystem that aligns with business goals

Our ServiceNow practice has years of experience bringing ESM to life for customers in multiple sectors, especially finance and digital services. With us, you’ll have a trusted partner for your ESM implementation and beyond.

To explore what ESM can do for your business contact us at to start a conversation.

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