10 Pillars of ServiceNow Success for CIOs – Pillar 9: Strategizing to Manage Demand

4 minute read

Welcome to Part IX of Crossfuze’s 10 Pillars of ServiceNow Success for CIOs blog series!

First, a story about the universal, pervasive challenge of demand management: Jason is a veteran CIO who has made many friends and allies within his company by being a “yes man.” He bends over backward to fulfill everyone’s IT service requests, even when doing so puts tremendous strain on his team. And he makes this constant juggling act seem effortless. Consequently, no one is aware of how thinly stretched his resources are, and his work keeps piling up. Following a successful implementation of ServiceNow to manage in-house IT resources, Jason is suddenly hit from all sides with requests to extend ServiceNow’s capabilities. This flurry of requests comes from multiple departments at once, and he feels his resources stretch to a breaking point. How should he strategize to manage this demand?

Crossfuze has worked with dozens of CIOs just like Jason who are in desperate need of strong, strategic demand management capabilities as they implement ServiceNow. Indeed, as soon as other divisions and departments get a taste of the transformative approach ServiceNow takes to managing resources and services across an organization, demand for ServiceNow-related projects spikes. When this happens, it’s critical that CIOs are fully prepared to quickly cut through the noise and identify candidate projects that truly add value to the organization’s bottom line; this philosophy is known as Lean IT.

In a survey of IT professionals who were asked how Lean IT changed their demand management strategies, 92% reported that they experienced moderate to significant improvements in project success. In other words, while the professional judgment of a CIO can add value to demand management, best professional judgment alone is not an effective or adequate approach to managing demand fueled by ServiceNow implementation.

Having a clear strategy for demand management also is crucial for informing evolution of your ServiceNow implementation roadmap over time. For your roadmap to meet its long-term objectives to transform your enterprise, the roadmap needs to be continuously updated and modified, enabling it to remain responsive to the organization’s changing ITSM priorities and needs.

A CIO’s best approach to demand management is to deploy a series of time-tested, best-practices strategies for responding to, managing, and prioritizing demand within your organization. Let’s explore these essential strategies:


  1. Rank projects according to scope, scale, and cost: Ranking is at the heart of demand management, and you want to use a clearly defined, methodical approach to ranking projects for strategic business value to the company. All projects should be evaluated based on scope, scale, and cost. While cost may seem like a fairly obvious metric, it’s actually complex, as you don’t want to rank projects by total cost only; you also want to identify opportunities to break down bigger projects into smaller, more incremental projects. In many cases, you’re not going to greenlight the big project anyway; rather, you’re going to test the feasibility or value of the larger project by moving forward with one of its iterative elements.
  2. Scrutinize projects for incompleteness: As you’re working to prioritize projects, you want to be looking for signs of incompleteness that are often indicators of bigger problems that lie ahead. Incompleteness could be a failure by the requester to provide critical information, or an unaddressed and obvious logic hole, or an overall inability to articulate the project’s potential value to the organization. If you don’t think you can resolve these issues, or if you don’t have time to fix them, you want to immediately move these projects to the end of your priority list.
  3. Seek out expert perspective from your ITSM team: From the 30,000-foot level, you as a CIO may not be aware of all the nuances of what’s involved with a particular project or type of project. Your ITSM team on the ground, however, will have a much stronger sense of these nuances, can help you with ranking, and can scrutinize for incompleteness. This also helps get buy-in from the those who will most likely be involved with the projects that come from the demands and will reduce non-productive cycles trying to get them on board later.
  4. Assign a business owner to every project: Taking on a ServiceNow-inspired project for another division or department is not a one-way business proposition. The other party needs to play an active role in supporting the project’s success—and ultimately take ownership of the final product. That’s why you want to always treat the project’s requester—not the ITSM team—as the business “owner.” When the requester is known within the organization as the owner, the requester is motivated to deliver on the outcome and empowered to help with planning, to bring energy and thought to the iterative testing process, and to align the project with strategic, big-picture company goals. Moreover, you want to leverage your interactions with the requester to initiate an ongoing dialogue about their overall ITSM priorities. Through this dialogue, you are often able to identify low-value ITSM tasks that you and the requester mutually agree can be streamlined and reduced.
  5. Take advantage of third-party consultants: Demand on ITSM teams tends to ebb and flow over time, making it impractical for CIOs to maintain exclusively in-house resources and expertise. For an implementation as involved and dynamic as ServiceNow, outside consultants are critical to maintaining flexibility when managing demand. In fact, ServiceNow consultants should be an integral part of your implementation strategy from the outset. An expert consultant like Crossfuze will not only assume some of the enormous pressure on your in-house team, but also will bring invaluable expertise and experience that will protect your company against serious setbacks and hurdles that you didn’t anticipate–but that your consultants will anticipate.


Anyone who has worked in ITSM dreads the pervasive “I have a favor to ask of you” mentality that too often influences how work gets done. Fortunately, a strong demand management strategy enables you to stop prioritizing projects based on who asked first or who is the most persistent. Instead, you can focus on projects that truly add value to your enterprise.

The best way to ensure you’re maximizing value is to use an expert consultant. With hundreds of highly successful ServiceNow implementations under our belt, Crossfuze is optimally positioned to be an essential project partner. Crossfuze consultants will help you cut through the flurry of ServiceNow-related requests that you receive, and zero in on the projects that will drive bottom-line efficiency and productivity. We’ll work alongside your in-house teams to ensure project requesters truly invest in and take ownership of the project. And we’ll improve your process for ranking projects, flagging potential problems, and establishing healthy relationships with your business owners.

Thank you for reading. If you found this post informative, please consider sharing it with others. Also, if you’re interested in finding out more about strategizing in order to manage demand, send us an email at letstalk@crossfuze.com.


Enjoyed this Pillar? Request your FREE copy of the 10 Pillars of ServiceNow Success book to read them all!


Related Content:

Pillar 8: Optimizing ServiceNow to drive enterprise-wide transformation

Pillar 10: Creating a fully integrated ServiceNow ecosystem


Additional References:

CIO: How Lean IT impacts business outcomes

CIO Insight: Demand Management: The Cornerstone of Strategic Leadership

CIO: 4 ways good project leaders create cultures of success


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Welcome to Part II of Crossfuze’s Pillars of ServiceNow Success blog series!

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Welcome to Part V of Crossfuze’s Pillars of ServiceNow Success blog series!

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