Easing CIOs` Pain for Meeting Business Expectations

In an ideal world, CIOs would manage a well coordinated stream of requests for new and enhanced business capabilities from their customers: the managers of the businesses IT serves.

Requests would be well articulated and sufficiently detailed so it would be easy to estimate the resources required to meet them, and on delivery every new capability would precisely match the need originally described. Resource leveling would be no problem because demand for new IT business capabilities would flow evenly. Technology refresh cycles would never interfere with business operations because the IT infrastructure and business solution platform would be sufficiently well architected, abstracted and modular. Complexity would be minimized by a standardized and consistently deployed solution architecture.

Businesses could take advantage of any new technology that offered sufficient maturity, stability and return on investment. CIOs would lead wonderful lives.

But in the real world, it doesn’t work that way.

Businesses are bereft of natural cycles, so it often seems as if demand comes from all directions at all times. That makes it difficult to prioritize and hence difficult to allocate resources efficiently. The range of disparate demands for new capabilities is so wide it’s almost impossible to deploy a coherent, well architected solution platform and technology infrastructure.

Business managers often show up with demands for “how” a solution should be provided as well as “what” is needed. Vendors sell around the IT organization, undermining whatever standards are in place and increasing operational cost and complexity.

Approaches to solutions come and go. CIOs lead lives of continuous hassle.

There is no magic bullet for dealing with these real-world challenges. After all, CIOs have been trying to fix them for more than 30 years; CIOs are smart people and if it were easy, they’d have done it by now. But there are some well established if not yet commonly deployed practices to make life easier. Using them won’t make life wonderful, but it will reduce many of the hassles CIOs face and let IT contribute real value to business success.

Page 2: Demand Management

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