Benchmarking Jonathan Poland

Benchmarking is the process of comparing the performance of a business, product, or process against other businesses, products, or processes in the same or a similar industry. The goal of benchmarking is to identify best practices, areas for improvement, and potential opportunities for innovation.

To conduct a benchmarking study, businesses typically gather information about their own performance as well as the performance of other companies in the industry. This information may be gathered through a variety of sources, including financial reports, customer feedback, and industry data. The data is then analyzed to identify key trends and insights, and to compare the performance of the business against its competitors.

One key aspect of benchmarking is identifying areas for improvement. By comparing their performance to that of other companies, businesses can identify areas where they are underperforming and develop strategies to improve. For example, a business may discover that its competitors are achieving higher customer satisfaction ratings or lower operating costs, and use this information to develop strategies to improve its own performance in these areas.

Another important aspect of benchmarking is identifying best practices and potential opportunities for innovation. By understanding the strategies and approaches of other companies in the industry, businesses can identify practices that are working well and consider incorporating them into their own operations. Additionally, benchmarking can help businesses to identify potential opportunities for innovation, such as new business models, products, or services.

Overall, benchmarking is a valuable practice for businesses that want to improve their performance and stay competitive in their industry. By comparing their performance to that of other companies, businesses can gain valuable insights and develop strategies to improve and innovate. The following are examples of benchmarking.


A database firm benchmarks the query performance of products against the competition on a regular basis as part of their product development efforts.


A utility provides investors with a comparison of financial metrics such as operating margins against industry averages.


An airline hires a consultant to benchmark customer service metrics such as customer satisfaction against key competitors.


A telecom company implements a new process for provisioning and benchmarks its results against industry best practices.


A trading firm benchmarks the decisioning and trading speed of its algorithms compared to what is known about the competition on the same exchange.


A firm benchmarks its average fulfillment and delivery speed against key competitors.


A city benchmarks its quality of life measurements against other cities in the region or world.


A state benchmarks its healthcare costs and indicators of health such as life expectancy against other states in the same county.


A solar module manufacturer benchmarks the conversion efficiency of its products against other solar manufacturers on a global basis.


A social media firm benchmarks its spending on research & development against close competitors in the industry.


An IT operations team benchmarks its uptime against a top competitor that published their uptime figures in a media report.


A data center is moving towards automating time consuming maintenance and support tasks. Before the project begins they seek employee productivity benchmarks from a consultant who is familiar with best practices in the industry.


A shoe retailer compares their sales per square foot with industry peers.

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