According to Peru Consulting's research, 38% of retail CIOs claim making their businesses efficient through effective IT is a major challenge. But how can 'efficient' and 'effective' be measured in terms of best practice and cost of ownership?
A solution - and certainly one that Peru has seen first hand deliver powerful results - is IT Benchmarking. Essentially, it helps identify best IT performance and set targets for the future. Because it looks at a range of measurements – whether internal to a particular company, by competitor, or by comparison with an entirely different industry - it also allows more effective and sustainable supplier strategies
The quality of today's data collection - particularly in the retail sector - can now reveal detailed perspectives on the performance levels of best-in-class organisations and technologies.
This allows IT Benchmarking to be used in establishing Board-level cases to confirm effectiveness (or otherwise) of existing IT suppliers, or identify areas where both technological and business efficiencies can be found.
There are three main categories of IT Benchmarking:
Internal Benchmarking - when an organisation simply needs to share existing best practice across the business.
Competitive Benchmarking - for evaluating an organisation's IT position within its own industry or retail sector and/or identify and set performance targets.
Strategic Benchmarking - used to establish the ‘Rolls Royce’ standard by identifying world-class performance. Ideal for organisations looking to grow beyond their own industry.
The end result of accurate IT Benchmarking is the ability to leverage “Best in Market” pricing for service components, or optimisation of solutions, in a positive and constructive way while also meeting the organisation’s business case.
This can be both powerful and measurable. For example, one national retailer - working with Peru - used benchmarking to specifically reduce its Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and achieve BIM pricing. Overall IT costs came in below planned budget and this was sustained over the long-term.
In many ways, IT Benchmarking gives CIOs and their Board a crystal ball into which they can see is a clear vision of their cost-based IT future.
Steve Vora is a Managing Consultant at Peru Consulting and specialises in IT Benchmarking. He has worked with organizations including CSC, BT and T-Systems.