Most executives understand that a business’ performance is only significant when it is benchmarked against its competitors. As an accepted business best practice it is expected that the functioning of an individual organization will be measured against other like type organizations. This practice of benchmarking oneself against competitors should be no different for any IT organization. There can be no better instrument to utilize then benchmarking to insure whether the IT operation is providing a competitive product. Without this peer to peer comparison it would be difficult at best to define if IT’s performance is weak, competitive or an industry leader.
Of course in order to benchmark you must first determine are my processes mature enough to ensure that I can gather the significant data needed for this undertaking. If not then your resources would be better utilized in first assessing your processes maturity through tools such as the ITIL Process Maturity Framework (PMF). An effective approach for conducting a process maturity assessment is to create a process improvement team (PIT) that can assess the level of maturity of your individual processes.
Through the initial activities of the PIT you can begin to define the characteristics of your processes. Once established, documented, defined and agreed, your team can begin to look at what challenges you face and what maybe the transition steps that need to be taken to begin the continual process improvement activities. Organization and their processes are not usually able to move from an immature state to a world class industry leader status. This is a continuing and repeatable process and will need the appropriate timescale to be accomplished.
Just a couple of thing to remember. You have to start measuring - even if the metrics are imperfect, use them. They will improve over time.