As any IT department will tell you, an increase in reliance on technology means a lot more requests coming through. It’s important to manage these effectively, to provide a reliable service for the rest of the business and reduce the stress on your team! There are five simple steps to manage demand for IT services:
- Approve & Plan
- Benefits Realization
How to Manage Demand for IT Services: 5 Steps
To avoid confusion, it’s important to have one central location where people can send their requests (for example, our Support Services team use a webform).
This will allow you to collect all potential projects together in one place, using a standardized format – saving you lots of time on hunting through emails! (Because who wants to spend their afternoon trawling through Outlook?)
You’ve gathered your requests for IT services, and now it’s time to rank them. You can triage requests using criteria such as:
- Time/resources required
- Potential impact
- Alignment to business strategy
You can then use this criteria to assess the urgency and importance of each request (innovation software is great for this!). A great way to prioritize tasks when managing demand for IT services is to use this classic framework, taken from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:
- Urgent and important (bump to the top of your list)
- Important but not urgent (put time to complete it in the calendar)
- Urgent but unimportant (ask someone to do this when they have time)
- Neither urgent nor important (remove these requests).
It’s also important to account for more important/urgent tasks coming in – for example, if your team are working on upgrading HR software, but then the entire financial system goes down.
Having a common framework will mean that you can compare different types of requests using the same standards. Plus, it makes it much more transparent for your users, so you can let them know your criteria for prioritizing tasks. This makes it much simpler to manage demand for IT services.
Approve & Plan
This is where you evaluate which projects you need to prioritize and move forwards. It’s important to think about your overall business objectives and strategy when choosing.
You’ll also need to consider the resources you have available – people, finances, and technology – and where these should be spent (there’s plenty of software that can help you to visualize this!).
Once you have your priorities in place, it’s time to get planning! Don’t forget to talk to those who’ll be involved to get a realistic sense of the time and resources required.
This is the bit where your teams crack on and carry out the request. You can manage this more effectively by using project management software to create a roadmap and monitor progress (it’s especially helpful for picking up on bottlenecks before they become an issue).
As your project moves along, be sure to track how well it’s meeting its targets and if your resources will be better spent elsewhere.
It’s also a good plan to hold a wash-up meeting afterwards so that you can continually improve your processes and resource allocation. (By the way, we have a great blog on reducing process waste!)
Some great questions to ask, include:
- Were the details of the project clear?
- Were there any setbacks or bottlenecks?
- How did the team find the workload? Did they have time to complete their tasks, or did they feel rushed/overloaded?
- Did the project have the impact on the business that was predicted?
- What could we improve next time?
Once your project has come to an end, don’t let your hard work go unnoticed! It’s important to show the impact that this work will have had on the business in the short and long term.
You can use reporting software like Power BI (did we mention this integrated in edison365?) to track the results of your work and showcase them to key stakeholders.
Plus, you can use the data you’ve collected to make improvements to your process for next time – making it more efficient to manage demand for IT services.
Summary: How to Manage Demand for IT Services
When managing demand for IT services, it’s important to have a standard process in place:
- Collect requests in a central location.
- Evaluate them using standardized criteria.
- Choose the most urgent and valuable.
- Plan how to carry them out.
- Execute your plan!
- Showcase the benefits that your hard work has brought.