ESM Vs ITSM: Which One Is The Best?

An enterprise needs to meet the continuously changing requirements of the market. These requirements are changing so rapidly and constantly that it has become challenging for an enterprise to walk with them. There are many trends, techniques, and tools that are helpful for them to remain up to date. Enterprise service management is one of them.

ESM is the extended form of ITSM. It usually works in non-IT fields. When we say an extended state of ITSM, it seems that we are talking about one concept. In fact, there are a few similarities, but generally, they are taken as two different concepts. In this article, we will try to answer these questions; What is the relationship between ITSM and ESM? Should we say ESM vs ITSM or ITSM and ESM? We hope that this could be helpful for you in understanding these concepts. Before comparison, we should learn the basic concepts of both ITSM and ESM, so let’s start with them.

What Is ESM?

Enterprise service management could simply be said as an extension of ITSM. ESM uses ITSM principles and capabilities in business to improve its performance, service, and outcomes. ITSM only refers to delivering services to IT teams, but ESM provides services to business teams in wider ranges. Forrester defines enterprise service management (ESM) as,

“Extending IT service management capabilities beyond technology services to address business-centric use cases; managing service demand and supply through a common platform, portal, and service catalog; and speeding up innovation and workflow automation through PaaS/low-code development tooling.”

What Is ITSM?

Information Technology service management is commonly said as ITSM. It refers to how IT teams provide services to clients and employees. It includes all the processes for designing, creating, and implementing an ITSM mechanism. ITSM contains the concept that IT should be implemented as a service. Due to the increasing size of the IT industry, interactions are also increasing. It includes interactions from clients with an IT firm, employees to customers, and their executives. These increasing interactions and requests demand an extraordinary service management system.

People commonly mistake IT service management for IT support during their day-to-day interactions with the IT industry. Yes, it is also an IT support but has more comprehensive ranges. It includes nearly everything in a workplace, i.e., connecting servers, cloud backup, employee support, project management, performance monitoring, and client support services.

Should We Say ESM Vs ITSM Or ESM And ITSM?

After learning the basic concepts of ITSM and ESM, the question arises; should we say ESM vs ITSM or ESM and ITSM? To answer this question, we will discuss both terminologies to get to know which one is correct. In other words, we will discuss the similarities and dissimilarities of ITSM and ESM. So let’s start with our topic;


ESM and ITSM look like two similar concepts in a quick view. But a far-sighted overview tells us that they have many differences between them. These differences make them two different concepts. Some of these differences are as follows;

Point Of Focus

The main difference between these two is that they have different points of focus. This is the main and greatest difference that makes them two different terminologies. It refers to the main focus of ITSM and ESM.


ITSM mainly focuses on IT fields. It primarily covers IT-related organizational processes like the customer and employee care services, application deployment, system upgrades, and access control. ITSM has its roots in some non-IT fields, but its main playing field is IT-related organizational processes.


ESM primarily focuses on non-IT fields. It covers the IT organizational process. For example, legal issues, human resources, project management, financial processes, employee onboarding processes, support services, and resource procurement. ESM also links with some IT services, like using some cloud solutions in a non-IT process. But its main focus is on non-IT fields.

Technical And Non-Technical Fields

This is another difference between ITSM and ESM. Usually, ITSM covers technical fields related to IT. For example, a system update is a specialized process that demands a well-planned process for it. It could indirectly benefit business, but it is not a completely business-oriented activity. On the other hand, ESM entirely focuses on business-oriented activities. For example, HR needs are non-technical business-oriented needs. Hence, they could be differentiated as technical and non-technical fields.

Way Of Implementation

A significant difference between ITSM and ESM is their way of implementation. ITSM is generally implemented under some standard framework like ITIL. On the other hand, ESM has been generally implemented by standard principles given by the ESM tool that you are using for enterprise service management. So, that’s another difference that makes them two different concepts.

Post ITILv4 Era

ESM has been using ITSM-borrowed concepts till now. But in ITILv4, introduced in 2019, the ESM was given some separate concepts that could make it a sound framework in the future. So, it seems that in the near future, we will also be able to differentiate them in a quick view because of their separate frameworks and concepts.

ESM And ITSM Together

Despite so many differences, there are various similarities, due to which we can say that ESM and ITSM could work together in the same organizational structure. Following are some of these similarities between ITSM and ESM, due to which they could work together and give a brilliant result.

Borrowed Concepts

ESM has been not mainly based on its own concepts but borrows some ideas from ITSM. How could a borrowed concept differentiate the borrower from the giver? Absolutely not; these borrowed concepts make ESM similar to ITSM. ESM borrows the following concepts from ITSM;

  • Self-Service
  • Change Management
  • Assignment of Tickets
  • Knowledge Management

These similar concepts not only pretend ESM and ITSM are similar concepts but also make them work together comfortably.

Same Concepts In Different Fields

Through all the above discussion, we realize that ESM and ITSM are two similar concepts that work in two different playing fields. We said it because ESM not only borrows ITSM concepts but also works based on ITSM frameworks. It did not adopt the ITSM framework as a whole but took applicable principles for this purpose. Usually, ESM tool developers do so.

Similar Goals

Due to some differences in the concepts and the scope, ITSM and ESM are not the same as a whole. But they have some similarities in their goals. We can say that ESM and ITSM are two different ways to reach one destination. Similar goals of these two concepts are as follows;

Increase customer and employee satisfaction through continuous, dynamic, rapid, and efficient support and feedback.
Ensures risk-free changes and upgrades.
Decrease Costs through efficient workflows.
Makes the internal and external service operations more efficient and rapid.
Helps in Building a long-term relationship with customers.
These similar goals pretend to be more similar. Moreover, they could work together more easily due to these similar goals. Due to this, they could combine to produce a better result and a more efficient way for an organization to succeed.

Covering The Blanks

ITSM and ESM could cover the blanks. This sentence has simple wording, but it’s difficult to understand what and where the blanks are and how they cover them? It means that things, fields, aspects, or departments that could not be covered by one concept may be covered by the other. Don’t be too hesitant; we will explain it through examples. For example, you are hiring new employees. You can get their CVs or resumes through ITSM, but for other things, you need the HR department, and the HR department comes into the scope of ESM. In this way, ITSM and ESM could cover up the blanks by working together.

Which One Is The Best?

There should be no question about the best or the worst. The question should be about perfection. Now, surely you will be thinking about perfection in what sense? Or perfection of which thing or matter? The answer is the perfection of your organizational structure. We are trying to say that it should not be important for you to know which is the best or worst, but you should search about which could make your organizational structure perfect.

In our view, no one from both could do so solely, but the perfect combination of these two could accomplish this task more efficiently. It is because ESM and ITSM are concepts working in two different scopes. That’s why they both are the best choice for making an ideal organizational structure.


At the end of the day, through this brief overview, we have learned that ESM vs ITSM is not the correct terminology. Now the question is, ESM and ITSM have many differences; then why could we say that it is the wrong terminology? If they are not the same, then why should we not say ESM vs ITSM? The answer is that despite so many differences, they have some similarities that make them relatively similar. Moreover, due to their similar goals in different playing fields, they could never be fictitious or opposite concepts.

Despite saying ESM vs ITSM, we should say ESM and ITSM. Because a perfect combination of ITSM and ESM could take an organization to the next level of success. That’s why it’s important for an organization not to take these two as opposite concepts but to try to use their combo. In other words, ITSM and ESM both are equally important for an organization’s success. If you are looking for a more successful way for your organization, then you must use both of these. The usage of both could produce better results than the usage of one.

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