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How good is your IT organization at responding to your requests? IT value chains: request to fulfill


In “What every business leader should know about IT management,” I shared that it was possible for business leaders to understand “what’s going on” in IT by understanding the five value chains of IT:


  • strategy to portfolio
  • require to deploy
  • request to fulfill
  • detect to correct
  • data to information


In this post, I will review the third value chain, request to fulfill, having reviewed require to deploy in my last post.


Request to fulfill

Request to fulfill focuses on how well IT manages its overarching request and fulfillment activities. It aims, to quote COBIT 5, to “increase user productivity and minimize disruptions through quick resolution of user queries.” As a process, it touches multiple IT disciplines including, but not limited to, the following: service request, change management, asset management, configuration management, and supplier management (including cloud supplier management).


What are the goals for request to fulfill?

To be successful within this value chain, your IT department must ensure that service requests are handled appropriately. This is a great place to positively or negatively influence customer satisfaction. Further, request must be done in alignment with IT governance and compliance. User requests need to be processed according to IT policies. Meanwhile, change requests need to be completed in a timely fashion with minimal errors. As part of this, there needs to be a reasonably accurate estimation of business demand­–in particular, for software licenses–so that business or user disruptions are minimized. Within the fulfillment process, not only should items acquired be added to the configuration management databases accurately, but also their configuration needs to set so it matches enterprise architecture and industry standards. This way future maintenance times are minimized, the mean time between failures is maximized, and the mean time to repair is minimized. Finally, suppliers need to perform as agreed. Suppliers impact this value chain at multiple points and must be actively managed.


Measuring whether improvement is indeed happening

Your IT organization should be continuously improving its quality of service for this value chain. Your IT organization should be measuring improvement across all of the domains of request to fulfill, and managing requests against service-level agreements (SLAs). IT should be working to minimize the average time to evaluate a proposal and the size of its change backlog. These three things tell us about the responsiveness of IT to all forms of demand. IT also should be working to make changes, as a request type, error-free. At the same time, IT must ensure that licenses are current to avoid compliance and legal risk. For example, you should not deploy a Visio install without a license, or you will fail your next Microsoft license audit. As a part of this, IT should actively measure the percentage of changes resulting in outages; a high percentage signifies immaturity in the change process. As a balancing act, IT should also be looking at the percentage of software licenses in use. Clearly, the goal should be to have enough licenses to minimize business disruption but not so many that they are paying for licenses that are not currently needed. Lastly, IT should be looking at the percent of assets returned to suppliers. Suppliers often fulfill requests, and you need to know how well they are doing at this. Each failure here indicates a failed interaction with the customer.

Where do you go from here?

Start by asking your business about its request-to-fulfill value chain. Then make sure they are actively working to improve this process. This way, they can help improve your business processes, and you can ensure that you get what you need, when you need it and when the business needs it.


Related links:

Blog post: Making COBIT 5 part of your IT strategy

Solution page: IT Performance Management

Twitter: @MylesSuer

Label: IT management

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About the Author


Mr. Suer is a senior manager for IT Performance Management. Prior to this role, Mr. Suer headed IT Performance Management Analytics Product Management including IT Financial Management and Executive Scorecard.

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