The process of change within a business must begin by looking at existing demand on the service. Demand analysis is therefore a technique used to gather qualitative and quantitative data. Similar to special purpose records, demand analysis allows us to work out how much demand there is for particular services over a given time. While it can be tailored to the particular needs of the service, it is able to capture the volume of service users and the method of engaging with the service to help inform the project team of how change needs to be designed to take this into account.
Demand analysis requires two core skills once the template has been agreed upon: communication and analysis. Communication entails explaining what the analysis is trying to achieve and how front line staff have a responsibility to complete their templates to the best of their ability with accurate information 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 analysis forms are usually created on an Excel template, then shared amongst all staff within a respective service. Staff are then required to fill out timesheets for a given week within a service, listing all the various tasks they do by time. The data for all the staff is then aggregated to give insight into the most demanding tasks within a service. It is important to note that staff should be fully informed on how to fill out the timesheets prior, as there can often be the issue with poorly filled out sheets which can result in skewed data.
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Demand analysis in itself is a useful exercise to show how the service in its current format is being used by its customers and how the staff react to the customer demand. Though demand analysis does not show the best future way of working and provide the materials for staff to migrate to this new way of working, it should highlight the areas where change is required.