For the right changes to be made within an organisation, and for these changes to be sustainable, they need to be based on evidence. One way to gather the evidence you need is to use demand or activity analysis.
Demand analysis is a technique used to gather quantitative data on the demand for a particular service or services over a given time. It can be tailored to the particular needs of a service and often captures the volume of service users and the method of engaging with the service, for example, over the phone (i.e. the ‘channel’ used by the customer). Working out the demand on particular channels or services can help inform the correct service design.
Like demand analysis, activity analysis can also be used to gather baseline data. How the technique differs is that activity analysis focuses on how many times specific tasks are completed in a given period. Periods of downtime or failure-demand tasks (such as fixing errors) can also be recorded.
Demand analysis is helpful when considering the pressures on a service. It can help inform the design of systems and processes to manage the customer demand. It may be helpful to consider that the ‘customer’ here is not always the external customer. It can be useful to think about internal customers as well, for example, all departments within an organisation are customers of the HR department.
Activity analysis can help to better understand, and make improvements to, the business processes. By understanding and conducting an analysis on things such as error rates, remedial tasks, percentage downtime and time taken to complete tasks, you can make improvements to the organisation.
Demand and activity analysis relies on the staff carrying out the tasks filling in a form. The forms used are usually created on an Excel template, then shared amongst all staff within a respective service. Depending on what information you require, the template can be tailored accordingly.
We have an example demand analysis template found on our Change Framework which you can download and modify.
As well as the individual organising the analysis work, front-line staff are vital in demand and activity analysis.
Front-line staff are required to fill out the template(s) for a given period. In activity analysis, this could involve listing all the various tasks they do and time spent. In demand analysis, this could involve keeping a tally of the method of communication for each customer interaction. The data for all staff is then aggregated by the organising individual and analysed to give insights. It is important to note that staff should be fully informed on how to fill out the forms, as there can often issues with poorly filled out sheets which can result in skewed data.
There are two core skills required when using demand or activity analysis once the template has been agreed upon. Effective communication and good analysis skills are required to make sense of the data. Effective communication is required to explain the purpose of the analysis to those involved, especially how integral front-line staff are in completing their templates accurately so that the analysis produces meaningful data.
Once received, the data sets need to be analysed and conclusions drawn, before submitting these to the appropriate management.
Demand and activity analysis provides the evidential basis for change and will inform potential solutions. While the techniques do not show the best future way of working, they should highlight the areas where change is required.
Senior Business Analyst
Tel: 01506 283885
Tel: 01506 282879
Tel: 01506 203800
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