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Buyer's Guide to ESM products: Key takeaways

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Susan Salgy Contributing Editor
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Originally developed to automate the provisioning of IT services and to handle large volumes of IT requests quickly and efficiently, enterprise service management (ESM) is proving to be transformational for organizations of every size.

ESM technology applies IT service management (ITSM) principles, practices, and tools to non-IT parts of the business, such as human resources, finance, travel, and facilities. But is ESM right for your organization? And if so, how do you choose the right project—and the right tool? This Buyer's Guide will help you decide.

The modules below step you through seven key considerations, including executive sponsorship, organizational culture, and process readiness, that will help you find the kinds of projects and products that are most likely to help you deliver a win, given your organization's current state of ESM maturity. (This online guide is designed for quick reference and easy sharing of topics of greatest interest. You can download the entire Buyer's Guide report here.)

This guide also covers current technology trends, as well as specific recommendations about what you should ask in your request for proposal (RFP) to ensure that the ESM tool vendors you evaluate will supply the information you need to make a smart decision.

Here are the key highlights from this TechBeacon Special Report.

What it is, and why it matters

By automating service delivery and support in areas ranging from booking travel to time-off requests, your organization can support the needs of customers and employees more consistently, more quickly, and more flexibly. A primary driver for ESM adoption in many enterprises is to improve the customer experience.

ESM can also address problems that come with organizational growth and expansion in seven key areas.

For more about this topic, read "What it is, why it matters."

Types of ESM tools and capabilities

The best ESM platforms allow you to plug in the ESM tools you may already own, and they interoperate with ESM products offered by other vendors. Look for tools augmented with advanced features such as machine learning, AI-based capabilities, and predictive analytics. ESM modules that support workflows and portals in areas such as HR, finance, legal, and facilities are becoming more common.

When considering ESM tools, think ahead to where the state of technology will be two years out, and make sure the tool is compatible with your current environment.

For more on key tool capabilities and buying strategies read "Types of ESM tools and capabilities."

Top 5 technology and market trends

It's not enough that an ESM tool align with your plans. To make smart buying decisions, you need to know whether the platform you choose is keeping up with rapidly evolving technology and market trends as well. Most organizations already have at least some ESM projects completed or underway.

The best tools should keep up with latest developments in DevOps, AIOps, AI/machine learning, cloud, and vertical industry integrations.

Read "Top 5 technology and market trends" for more about where the technology is heading.

7 questions to ask

There's a dizzying array of ESM tool choices out there. But before you look at any ESM products, be sure you've nailed down the scope of your project, the readiness of your organization, and a strategy that you know will deliver a win. To that end, you need to understand your organization's level of maturity with respect to ESM, your priorities and project goals, and which capabilities you already have before assessing what you need.

Are there cultural or organizational hurdles to your project? Does the project have a champion? A corporate sponsor? Do you have the right team in place? Do you know the three key indicators that your ESM project may be going off the rails?

Once you have those answers in hand, it's time to build your list of viable options using five key selection criteria.

For more, read "7 key questions to ask.

How to create your RFP 

With a full understanding of your needs and a list of criteria, you're ready to put your scope and requirements on paper and start building out your RFP. Think of our list as a menu of options from which you select only the most pertinent questions for your needs. Use it as a guide, and trim away the pieces you don't need.

Focus on your top 10 requirements, such as your infrastructure, interoperability needs, and the key features and capabilities you need. Keep your questions short and to the point; this should produce concise responses that require less time to evaluate.

Read "How to create your RFP" to see a complete list of questions, along with seven key tips for building an effective RFP.

Next steps

There has never been a better time to get started with ESM, or to expand your ESM footprint. The vendor market has solidified, the benefits are increasingly obvious, and the tools are getting easier to use—if you've done your homework and you're prepared for the journey.

Using the information and guidance in this Buyer's Guide, assemble a team with the right players, step with them through the fundamental considerations, and get a viable ESM project underway. With the right sponsor, team, and ESM technologies in place, you'll be ready to embark on a journey of continuous improvement that will keep your organization competitive and add value to the business.

Next up in TechBeacon's Special Report: "What ESM is, and why it matters."