Just under a half of business leaders (46%) are unfamiliar with Enterprise Service Management (ESM). This is somewhat surprising considering that ESM is a method used to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and achieve quality customer experience – something most businesses strive to do, right?

Unfortunately, statistics are never as simple as what they seem on the surface, which we recognize with the misunderstanding of ESM. There are peaks and troughs in knowledge when it comes to company size, for example, suggesting that ESM is operating in a ‘sweet spot’.

Let’s explore who sits in this sweet spot and examine whether ESM familiarity is only prevalent in this category because elsewhere it’s irrelevant. Or if this sweet spot is truly sweet enough to really matter.

Identifying ESM’s sweet spot

Delving further into the knowledge of ESM reveals a specific bracket of businesses where ESM familiarity is at its strongest: those with 251-500 employees. Seventy-three percent of leaders within these organizations are familiar with ESM.

For context, this figure is reduced to just 21% in companies with 1-50 employees, 45% in those with 51-250 employees, and 51% in business with over 500 employees.

The stark differences between ESM familiarity provide fuel to the theory of a sweet spot. And this makes sense as this section of company’s sit centrally in the midsize enterprise category (which Gartner classifies as organizations with 100-1000 employees) who typically benefit the most from ESM.

They are likely to have the maturity for several service departments that serve multiple teams and users. In which case, a shared services solution can provide maximum value when it comes to improving efficiency, collaboration, and saving costs.

So, yes, ESM has a sweet spot: organizations with 251-500 employees. But what does this mean for everybody else?

The definition of a sweet spot

To better understand ESM’s sweet spot, we need to truly understand what it means. A sweet spot is an optimal point for action or a combination of qualities.

There are many sweet spots outside of the realm of ESM. Take cricket as an example: When a batsman is looking to strike the ball, there is an area on their bat where contact will be most effective. Hitting the ball on this exact spot will provide the optimal use of effort and power to achieve the desired score of a four or a six. Making contact with the ball outside of this area doesn’t mean you cannot still score runs, it just means that the effort and power are not as effectively used. The shot won’t be as impactful, more often than not failing to make it to a boundary, meaning the player is limited in what they can score and could be caught out.

To summarise, a sweet spot provides an optimal area for success. But making contact outside of this area doesn’t mean an automatic ‘out’ in cricket and the same is true for ESM.

Can we still succeed outside of this optimal point?

Earlier we established that ESM can be most effective within midsize enterprises (specifically with 251-500 employees). But it is also true that ESM has huge benefits for those with more or less employees than this so-called sweet spot suggests.

In fact, this system of working can help any organization with departments. A start-up with just two employees per department can benefit from ESM as can a global organization with departments of 100+ people. Why? Well, departments, no matter how big or small can be working in collaboration with one another or in their own silo. And regardless of whether you’re a start-up, midsize enterprise, or huge corporation, working in silos is detrimental to success.

Silos are a conversation of their own, but simply put they cost us money through the duplication of work and software, customers through a fragmented service experience, and employees through dis-harmonious ways of working.

ESM, on the other hand, is our key to achieving a collaborative way of working: sharing processes and systems, providing consistent services for our users, and sharing knowledge throughout an organization to help us all level up.

So, for those in ESM’s sweet spot, they may be hitting the boundary with every shot, but even those outside of this category can score points with this system of working.

ESM is relevant, sweet spot or not

Let’s head back to our original question: Is ESM’s sweet spot, sweet enough to really matter? The answer is no.

It’s ok that ESM has a sweet spot, most things do. Cricket has a sweet spot when it comes to batting. Organizational sweet spots are usually their ideal consumer. There’s a sweet spot when it comes to planting specific seeds during the year. But not all sweet spots are a be-all-and-end-all. If you’re growing tomatoes, you do need to sow the seeds between February and April to achieve any kind of harvest. But if you’re buying an iPhone you are not required to be within Apple’s target market of 22-55 years old.

Those businesses outside of ESM’s sweet spot could potentially see more long-term benefits from this way of working. It’s easier for a smaller organization with fewer departments and employees to adapt their way of working and collaborate better. Plus, setting the foundations with ESM will mean avoiding the natural development of the silos as a company grows into a midsize enterprise.

Additionally, an organization with 100 departments using 100 different systems is likely to experience higher cost-savings and improvements in efficiency when implementing ESM than an organization with say 50 departments.

Key takeaway: More organizations should know about ESM

The statistics show that knowledge of ESM is higher within its sweet spot. And it’s also very low in some areas outside of this bracket. However, we cannot put this lack of familiarity down to ESM being irrelevant to organizations with less than 250 employees or more than 500.

We’ve established that ESM’s sweet spot is not sweet enough to matter, so instead of discounting ourselves from this way of working because we’re ‘too big’ or ‘too small’, it’s time to realize that ESM is for every organization and more of our business leaders should know this.