ITSM Survey: Businesses Still Busy Laying the Foundation for ESM

While most executives are actively working to improve their IT service management (ITSM) over the next 12 months, few are ready to turn their attention to enterprise service management (ESM), OTRS Group’s most recent survey finds.
  • 92 percent of US executives plan to improve their ITSM, according to OTRS Group survey
  • Lack of staff and tight budgets pose biggest obstacles
  • Only 20 percent already actively involved in enterprise service management
  • Focus on software and processes – at the forefront in the United States

Cupertino, CA, April 20, 2023 – More than nine out of 10 United States executives want to improve their organization’s IT service management (ITSM) in the next twelve months. However, transferring experience and best practices from ITSM to the service management of other departments is currently still far down the list of planned investments. Only 20 percent are already devoting their attention to Enterprise Service Management (ESM) in the next year. Instead, due to a lack of staff and tight budgets, U.S. businesses are currently focusing more on tools and automation to optimize their ITSM, thereby paving the way for a later transition to ESM: More than half are budgeting for software upgrades in the next twelve months (52 percent), around a quarter want to review and re-design processes (29 percent) and just over a quarter want to automate processes (28 percent). These are the findings of the first part of the new “OTRS Spotlight: IT Service Management 2023” study, for which the software company OTRS Group surveyed 600 executives worldwide, 100 of them in the United States.

Lack of staff biggest challenge for ITSM optimization

Leaders in the United States who want to improve their organization’s ITSM are primarily struggling with the lack of budget (25 percent), followed by lack of staff (18 percent). Worldwide, the financial aspect is not as frequently the greatest difficulty (17 percent). In the U.S., 12 percent also lament a lack of management commitment; software limitations (13 percent) and difficulty measuring success (10 percent) round out the challenges. In Brazil (19 percent), Hungary (17 percent), and Mexico (13 percent) regulations also present major obstacles, while in the U.S. (5 percent) and Singapore (8 percent), this is rarely perceived as the biggest challenge.


United States lags behind others in use of ITSM software; less so with CMDB

In the United States, only 49 percent actively use a dedicated ITSM solution with pre-defined ITSM processes. This is on the lower side compared with other countries surveyed: The global average for usage is 57 percent. Specifically in other parts of the world, the survey found 77 percent in Mexico use dedicated ITSM software, 70 percent in Hungary, 64 percent in Brazil. In similar situations are Germany (42 percent) and Singapore (37 percent). Today, 34 percent in the U.S. rely only on a simple help desk or ticketing solution, so there remains room for further professionalization related to ITSM.


In contrast, a configuration management database (CMDB) is also used comparatively often in the U.S., and when it is, it is typically not used exclusively for assets related to IT service management. Currently, 41 percent of leaders are already using a CMDB with another third planning to adopt its use within the next 12 months (30 percent). Of those that are using a CMDB, more than three quarters track non-IT assets, such as vehicles or office space, within their CMDB as well (85 percent). Considering current and potential usage of a CMDB, this puts the United States in the middle of the international comparison. Mexico clearly leads the field, with 96 percent either already using a CMDB or intending to do so in the next year. This is followed by Brazil (92 percent), Hungary (64 percent), Singapore (62 percent), and Germany (52 percent).


Also of note, in the United States, discovery capabilities in combination with the CMDB are particularly important. Of those who have shopped for a CMDB, 97 percent indicated that the functionality was greatly important or important in their purchase decision. Another key criterion is asset tagging, which is always used by 59 percent of those with a CMDB and sometimes used by over a third (37 percent). Discovery capabilities (90 percent) and asset tagging and scanning (97 percent) are widespread among Mexican companies with CMDBs as well, while in Germany only 68 percent of those with a CMDB also use discovery functions and 72 percent use asset tagging and scanning.

Software solutions for IT: Functionality more important than cost

When it comes to purchasing new software solutions for the IT department, the most important criterion for U.S. executives is functionality (48 percent). Despite overall high budgetary pressure, usability (47 percent) is also more important to them than cost (36 percent). The importance of functionality over cost is true globally as well with functionality being most important to 40 percent of leaders and cost the top consideration for only a quarter of global leaders (22 percent).

Least important considerations in the U.S. include provider industry expertise (4 percent), on premise availability (6 percent), GDPR compliance (8 percent) and post-sale support (9 percent). Whether a tool is also useful for other operational areas, such as HR or building and asset management, is of little relevance to the purchase decision at only three percent; worldwide, only five percent of leaders see this as one of the most important decision-making criteria. This supports that emphasis on ESM is not yet well ingrained.


Andreas Bender, VP Consulting at OTRS AG, is generally positive about the study results and encourages companies to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by tools such as ITSM software and CMDB: “Executives have widely recognized that it pays to invest in their IT departments. Software-assisted process optimization and automation make workflows more efficient, thereby reducing the workload for employees suffering from staff shortages. This leads to greater satisfaction among employees and customers, and thus to greater business success. Once this foundation has been laid, the next step for businesses is to transfer the experience and best practices from the IT teams to the service management processes of other departments. However, executives should already think about this aspect today and factor it into their purchasing decisions when sourcing new software. That way, they avoid having to invest in new tools and training for employees again in a few years.”


About the “OTRS Spotlight: IT Service Management 2023” Study

The data used for the study is based on an online survey conducted by Pollfish Inc. on behalf of OTRS AG, in which 600 business owners and executives in Germany, the U.S., Brazil, Mexico, Singapore and Hungary participated between March 7, 2023, and April 8, 2023, including 100 in the United States.

The complete first part of the study is available as an infographic for download here.

About OTRS Group

OTRS Group is the manufacturer and the world’s largest provider of the enterprise service management suite OTRS, awarded with the SERVIEW CERTIFIED TOOL seal of approval. It offers companies industry-independent solutions for structured communication in customer service, IT service management and security management. In addition to the core product OTRS, the security solutions STORM and CONTROL ensure efficient cybersecurity incident management and transparent documentation in accordance with standards such as ISO 27001.

Among its customers are Lufthansa, Airbus, Porsche, BSI (Federal Office for Security in Information Technology), Max Planck Institute, Toyota and TUI Cruises. The company consists of OTRS AG and its five subsidiaries OTRS Inc. (USA), OTRS S.A. de C.V. (Mexico), OTRS Asia Pte. Ltd. (Singapore), OTRS do Brasil Soluções Ltda. (Brazil) and OTRS Magyarország Kft. (Hungary). OTRS AG is listed on the basic board of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

For more information, see

Press Contact OTRS:
Address OTRS AG
Zimmermühlenweg 11
61440 Oberursel
Name Laura Bug
Phone +49 6172 681988-32

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