In the IT organization, the "supply" tends to be the IT workers, who have the talent necessary to deliver on initiatives. The "demand" side, of course, is the project workload. Given that not all workers can support all projects, you need to consider the competencies of your resource pool. To do so, you'll need a clear understanding of two crucial elements: what is in the pipeline six to 18 months out; and what resource mix is currently available.
Many CIOs will introduce an organizational role called the business relationship manager. (Some companies have more than one person in this role.) These executives work very closely with the IT leadership team, business leaders and the prioritization committee. Essentially, their job is to integrate themselves across all functional areas of the business with the objective of anticipating upcoming strategic projects.
With this improved knowledge of the upcoming pipeline, the CIO can anticipate long-term resource needs. To effectively ramp up or down, CIOs generally use a mix of full-time employees and consultants The ideal scenario in a ramp-down situation is to eliminate the consulting staff. In a ramp-up scenario, the CIO can go to the consulting supplier for specific resource needs.
Sound demand management is a core competency for successful IT organizations. As the CIO puts processes in place to effectively manage demand, the CIO and the IT organization become elevated from serving as suppliers for the business to being true business partners. So, for the CIO, demand management is more than demand management--it is really about strategic leadership.
About the Author
Don Desiderato is a principal at Novarica and former divisional CIO. This article is adapted from the Novarica report "CIO Best Practices: Why Demand Management Is More than Managing Demand."
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