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ITIL Service Strategy: Demand Management, and the top 4 resistance you can expect during implementation

Every process that you implement into the organization, will initiate some form of resistance. A large component of your planning should revolve around communication, education and awareness. It is through these activities that people in the IT organization AND in the units start to understand what Demand is trying to achieve.

It may take anywhere between 6 months and 2 years before people start to actively believe and evangelize about the benefits of Demand Management, keep that in mind!

 Some potential reasons for resistance are listed below:

  • Difficulty to produce a service before the demand materializes.
    Developing products and keeping them in stock is easy: as long as you have a manufacturing process and the warehouse to store it. With services this might be more difficult. For services you not only need physical assets, but also the capabilities of Human assets. In order to prepare for the delivery of a service you need to train, up skill or employ people with the desired skillset. When the demand is not there yet, these people might feel frustrated because they can’t do the job that they were promised. 


  • Aligning Capacity Production cycles to PBA (Patterns of Business Activity).
    This is also a potential area for resistance as the Business processes might be fluctuating more than initially expected. With the help of Demand Management you spend a lot of effort in aligning the Production cycles to (what you think is) the PBA, but all of a sudden the business activities change. This also may lead to frustration of staff members and you will hear the catch phrase “I told you so… this new process doesn’t work!”
  • Customer resistance to Demand restrictions
    Potential resistance doesn’t only come from within the IT organization, but you can also expect some to come from the business side. Especially since most of the communication around demand and business activities has been between the Business Relationship Manager and the Customer…. Most end-users won’t necessarily have been involved in this process but they will be affected by the potential demand restrictions that are a result of these discussions. This form of resistance can be managed by strong communication messages to all stakeholders, including end-users.  
  • Loss of business growth due to too many restrictions
    One of the possible challenges that you may face is that the Demand Manager will be a bit ‘too enthusiastic’ about the way the process is implemented. The process and associated controls go from one extreme to the other (being from no formal demand restrictions at all to too many restrictions). The pendulum needs to swing to a happy medium where the business is supported in its growth strategies by appropriate demand restrictions and controls. This issue won’t happen as clearly when the Service Level Packages are clearly aligned with the desired business outcomes.