Gartner Research

Players Know the Score: Communicating IT Value Through Benchmarking

Published: 01 February 2009

ID: G00165757

Analyst(s): Barbara Gomolski, Michael Smith, Richard Hunter


CIOs are going beyond traditional IT process efficiency benchmarking to IT service effectiveness benchmarking. To help the enterprise make wise investments involving IT, these CIOs are collaborating with peers to benchmark business process capabilities.

Table Of Contents


Executive summary

  • Benchmark IT processes to show efficiency
  • Use IT services to communicate effectiveness
  • Use business performance benchmarking to guide IT investment and value delivery

Benchmark IT processes to show efficiency

  • Know the score to be a player
  • Use traditional IT process benchmarks to measure IT efficiency
  • Select peers and data points for benchmarking carefully
  • Repeat benchmarking at 12- to 24-month intervals
  • Honestly communicate benchmark data to IT and non-IT audiences
  • Manage benchmarking as a program, not a project
  • Go beyond IT process benchmarking to show business value

Use IT services to communicate effectiveness

  • Define IT’s contributions as services
  • Develop the IT services catalog in collaboration with the rest of the business
  • Use the services catalog to begin the transition from efficiency to effectiveness measurement

Use business performance benchmarking to guide IT investment and value delivery

  • With IT value for money established, focus on business processes
  • Benchmark business processes to set baselines for process performance improvement
  • Link IT services to business process performance in a “causal chain”
  • Set SLAs based on links between IT services and business process performance metrics
  • Demonstrate value by benchmarking performance before and after a change in processes or services
  • Use business performance measurements as input for change planning
  • Manage the cycle of IT and business performance benchmarking

Appendix: Case Studies

  • Case Study: CEPSA—Benchmarking business processes to link IT to business value
  • Case Study: City of Stirling—Reducing the arguments against benchmarks
  • Case Study: Coventry Health Care—Evolving business performance benchmarking to optimize investments in business process change
  • Case Study: DevCo—Benchmarking to prove you are in control
  • Case Study: HardwareCo—Defining business processes to align IT measurements with business value
  • Case Study: Informatica—Creating a business and IT process orientation, one process at a time
  • Case Study: SAP—Benchmarking to improve business performance: Observations from a benchmarking group
  • Case Study: Vought Aircraft—Benchmarking to manage outsourcers
  • Case Study: Zentiva—Knowing when to benchmark

Further Reading

  • Gartner EXP reports
  • Core research
  • Book
  • Article

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