"No more spaghetti please" - it is time for a new IT demand management approach

The exceptionally well-attended "IT Demand Management" conference confirmed one thing: the fast-growing interest in a new demand management approach.

Campana & Schott believes that demand management will soon establish itself as a leading discipline.

  1.       Removing complexity (the spaghetti effect)
  2.      Strengthened functional departments
  3.      Special effect Industry 4.0

1. Removing complexity (the spaghetti effect)

Many conference participants spoke of "spaghetti environments". They were referring to the intertwined organizational interfaces between the functional departments and IT. This creates a lot of extra work and usually leads to wasted resources. But participants mainly discussed increasingly complex technical interfaces and dependencies a) between existing IT applications and b) on-going IT projects. Intertwined like a bowl of spaghetti.

What are some concrete approaches for getting a handle on spaghetti complexity?

  • The change of today is the run of tomorrow: before starting or - or even better - approving a new project, take some time to think about how the product result will affect the complexity of your system environment.
  • For smaller projects: make the projects as small as possible; this also reduces complexity and increases your company's ability to respond.
  • Shorter planning cycles: the project portfolio is reviewed three to four times a year, and adjusted.
  • Ideally, the project and planning duration are the same. For example: new priorities are set every three months, and at least a large portion of the projects also runs for approximately three months - this further improves your ability to respond to new circumstances.
  • Efficiency is one factor, but not the only one: Cost savings are one thing, but more and more companies view business cases at a more holistic level - what is the impact, what is the concrete added value of the project or new application for the core business or directly for the customer?

2. Strengthened functional departments

Another point on which the numerous discussions at the conference agreed: Functional departments are in effect creating their own IT organizations. But it does not have to be this way. When IT regains its agility and is quickly able to respond to changing requirements, it becomes a strong partner to the business. This works if IT truly represents the functional department and finally supports the division with its concerns. This becomes possible when demand management and project portfolio management become one in IT. Then one can truly say: "From shadow IT to a centrally balanced IT project portfolio". That is confirmed by the experience of our MDAX customer SMA Solar.

3. Special effect Industry 4.0

Finally, many companies are also experiencing a trend in which the collaboration between functional departments and IT takes on an entirely new significance. Demands by customers to move the provider's products into the "Internet of Things", and the rapid shift towards Industry 4.0 means that functional departments must provide a vision in terms of the internet. Particularly production and supply chains are digitally transformed. Companies must undertake enormous development efforts in very short time periods, so as not to be left behind, or to become the leader of the pack. IT demand management plays a key role in this context.­ At the same time, we will see entirely new approaches and tools to ensure the rapid success of the digital transformation:

  • Project management and project activities between IT and the functional departments will take on a much more collaborative character.
  • New (collaborative) tools will establish themselves for this purpose.
  • Communities, as a joint and dynamic but rather loose and theme-oriented form of collaboration, play a central role in this context.