Looking for a benchmarker? Ask some questions


Benchmarking business and IT operations is a tried-and-true method of ensuring that internal and/or external service providers are performing efficiently in terms of costs and service quality.  A good benchmark shows how an organization is doing relative to industry peers and market standards, identifies improvement opportunities and provides a stake in the ground from which to plan and implement a transformational change strategy.

But a good benchmark doesn’t happen by itself. As a client, you have to conduct due diligence in selecting the right benchmarking partner; specifically, you need to ask some direct and detailed questions around the benchmarker’s capabilities, methodology and experience.

For example, you should know how many analyses the benchmarker has conducted of operations that are similar in size and scope to your organization’s. You should know about the depth, breadth and quality of the data used in the analysis: how many organizations are used in to provide a comparative reference? How is data normalized? How recent is the data? How is the analysis conducted? How long will it take? What client resources will be needed?

The answers to these questions should be transparent to all parties involved. While it’s important for the client organization to be comfortable with the findings of a benchmark, it’s imperative for the service provider to trust the numbers if an outsourcing contract is being benchmarked.  Since the findings will potentially impact a service provider’s bottom line, they will push back if the numbers are dubious.  And the last thing you want is for the benchmark process to become contentious and argumentative.

Ultimately, If the benchmark is effective, the provider may not like the results, but will accept them and do what is necessary to improve the situations.

For additional detail on the results a proper benchmark can achieve, check out this new white paper guest-authored by an ISG client, Lawrence Kane, a senior IT leader at Boeing.

About the author

Kathy works with enterprises across ISG’s client base to address unique business challenges leveraging our Data & Analytics methodologies and tools. Whether she is developing and deploying delivery methodologies or serving as the go-between for global teams to ensure end-to-end service delivery, she earns rave reviews from her clients. Throughout her more than 20-year career in information technology management and business operations, Kathy has linked IT to business value and assessed the performance of internal operations and outsourcing relationships. Her industry expertise includes oil and gas, aerospace and defense, retail, finance and local government.