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Friday, March 16, 2012

More on Demand Management

Now that we have learnt the basics of Demand Management and its Goals, Purpose & Objectives, let us now look at some important concepts related to Demand Management

Understanding Demand Fluctuations

Since the work that creates the demand comes from the business, ITIL recommends that to understand how demand fluctuates we identify Patterns of Business Activity. There is clearly a relationship between business activities and the consumption of IT resources. Our challenge is to understand that relationship well enough so that when the business shares its plans and forecasts with us, we can predict the impact on our resources. This in turn will tell us which resources need to be replaced or upgraded, and when, so that we can cost-effectively plan and budget our IT spend.

Attempting to Reduce Peak Workloads

Provided the business agrees, IT can look to influence demand to reduce peak workloads and protect service levels without spending money on capacity that would otherwise be unused most of the time.

Usually there are times in a year where the demand is very high and there are low times. For ex: during Christmas & New Year, many people are on vacation and the demand/load on the system is pretty low. The basic idea is to ensure that we minimize the time we spend on peak workloads so that the load is balanced and even across the year.

One way of limiting demand is to increase the price for work units at peak times and/or reduce the price at off-peak times. Another way is to restrict the workload, for example in an online application by limiting the number of concurrent users, or in a Service Desk by reducing the number of lines available to callers.

Patterns of Business Activity

Patterns of Business Activity (PBAs) can often be conveniently associated with a small number of defined user profiles. In this way we can relate any new individual, team or department to a particular user profile to understand their impact on resources rather than spending the effort to consider them individually.

User Profiles

User profiles should be based on the roles and responsibilities in an organization. In this way, each user profile can be assigned to one or more PBA

You will notice that applications and processes can also be profiled in the same way as users. This approach allows patterns and profiles to be matched in order to understand and manage customer demand more easily and accurately.

Benefits of Demand Management

Once the Demand Management process has understood demand fluctuations and applied controls to limit peak demand, Capacity Management becomes more effective in planning capacity, reducing unnecessary spend and acquiring resources more cost-effectively. As a result, service levels improve and the business gains increased confidence in IT’s ability to meet both its present and future requirements.

Prev: Goals, Purpose & Objectives of Demand Management

Next: Relationship with Other Processes

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