Information technology benchmarking is a process wherein companies involved in information technology (IT) compare and measure their products and services against each other. This helps companies determine whether they are competitive enough and if there are aspects within the company that need improving. The process usually looks into three important factors: budget, technological resources, and human resources. Information technology benchmarking can be done on a local, national, or international level, depending on how competitive and successful a company aims to become.
One of the first steps in carrying out information technology benchmarking is the collection of data, which can include questionnaires and interviews from customers, public records of rival companies, and the company’s own previous records. Statistics such as sales records, production costs, and overall budget allocation are also typically looked into. By collecting relevant and significant data, the company can have a definitive reference to which it can compare itself and its overall performance.
After the collection of data comes the analysis and comparison of data. In this stage, companies can form focus groups, composed of key people within the company, or peer groups, which consist of different people from other similar IT companies. Peer groups are often preferred because, although the group is made of people from “rival” companies, it brings a wider perspective and more creative ideas because of different backgrounds. One important condition is that members of the peer group should be willing to impart information, as the goal is to make the industry of information technology, as a whole, more successful. In this stage of information technology benchmarking, companies involved can begin to identify their strengths, weaknesses, and outside opportunities that can improve products and services.
In the next stage of information technology benchmarking, solutions can be created, recommended, and applied. The application period itself may take a long period because it can involve introducing and adapting a new system to the company and observing whether or not it produces improvement. Information technology benchmarking is often done regularly and repeatedly, with long intervals in between, especially since technology is constantly changing and updated and companies need to keep up with innovations. The process, however, should be carried out wisely and with enough preparation, as it can consume a lot of time, energy, and money. Information technology benchmarking is beneficial not only for IT companies, but is also very advantageous for customers, as better products and services are constantly made available to them.