To Encourage ERM Adoption, Change the Perception of Ownership

IT groups are often (unfairly) criticized for being too quick to say “no,” standing in the way of capabilities that users want instead of providing them.

In reality of course, IT professionals want to support the business, and roll out new features and functionality as quickly as possible. But it’s up to IT to make sure, for example, that data on smartphones can be backed up, secured, and if necessary, remotely deleted—before saying “yes” to BYOD. It’s up to IT to make sure that cool new app can be integrated with enterprise data sources, securely and reliably, and can be supported—before saying “yes” to it.

ERM is a win across the organization

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Even in the best-run organizations, there can be some friction, in some cases, when IT seems to be either withholding capabilities that users want, or pushing capabilities that users aren’t sure they need.

Enterprise request management (ERM) is one approach where IT groups have the opportunity to be proactive, essentially extending the benefits of an IT service catalog across the enterprise; making it a true business service catalog.

Yet managers of other functional groups (HR, finance, facilities, etc.) may nevertheless be hesitant to embrace ERM–if they perceive the enabling-technology components, such as front-end web portal software or a workflow management engine, to be “IT tools” they are now required to adopt.

Communicating the benefits of ERM (fewer manual processes, faster and more accurate service delivery, lower costs) is essential, of course. But potentially even more important is changing the perception of ownership; an enabling component doesn’t have to be an “IT tool” that other departments have to use, but rather can be an “HR solution,” or a “facilities system,” or a “finance application” that IT supports.

The keys are selecting tools that are 1) easy for department managers to use to build-out their own service items and fulfillment process workflows, and therefore easy to adopt, and 2) easily integrated with existing departmental (HR, facilities, finance, etc.) software platforms, so that the tools extend the capabilities of those systems rather than replace them.

Once managers see that ERM not only accelerates and reduces the cost of providing services, but also gives them complete control over defining, designing, testing, refining, and deploying their service delivery processes, they will feel more like they “own” the tools.

And just as ERM can be built up iteratively, over time, starting with just one or a few services and gradually adding more, so it can spread department by department. An ERM deployment needn’t span the entire organization immediately; it can be rolled out, function by function, gathering support and enthusiasm along the way.

So in the end, IT becomes the enabler, giving managers more control over creating the service processes for their departments, and users self-service capabilities to input and track the status of their own requests. No more “no, you can’t.” With ERM, automating and deploying services across the enterprise becomes “yes, you can.”


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