November 25, 2013

With the onslaught of regulatory change programs and corporate realignments, more firms are performing internal current-state assessments of their practices and procedures and reaching out to the industry to benchmark against peers. Often, these initiatives require considerable time and effort, yet once the final reports are delivered, typically only 20% of the findings are acted upon. In this article, Sylvia Darwell and Gavin Kaimowitz of Sapient Global Markets explain how taking a slightly different approach can provide the majority of the results in a fraction of the time.

Sylvia Darwell, Sapient Global Markets
Sylvia Darwell, Sapient Global Markets
What is Peer Benchmarking?

Benchmarking is a continuous, systematic process used to evaluate and compare the capability of the organization as a whole against its peers and/or industry standards in order to optimize processes. Benchmarking can also be utilized to compare certain functions of the organization, such as data management. The analysis builds the foundations that help to create a future vision and enables improvement.

In order to benchmark itself externally against its peers, a company must first perform an assessment based on an industry-recognized measure, such as a capability maturity model (CMM). During the assessment process, the organization analyzes and uncovers the current state of its processes and areas of improvement, determines the steps to achieve it and defines how to measure progress.

Gavin Kaimowitz, Sapient Global Markets
Gavin Kaimowitz, Sapient Global Markets

Benefits of Sentiment-Based Assessments

A sentiment-based assessment is one type of self-assessment. It captures the opinion, attitude and/or perception of the user and further reinforces the value of the capability maturity exercise, quickly uncovering areas of strength and allowing stakeholders to consider leveraging them to improve the inefficiencies. As a result, it gives benchmarking a greater level of credibility. Performing a sentiment-based maturity assessment exercise creates immediate benefits for the firm. Often the perception and the reality vary within the organization. To see the difference between the sentiment (what people think) and the reality (what actually exists), firms must first conduct a current-state analysis, identifying procedures, costs, key stakeholders as well as inefficiencies and overlaps. Bringing together executives at the organizational level helps firms save the time and money that would be needed to garner a greater level of detail, otherwise uncovered only through individual conversations and countless meetings from various groups across different product types and possibly geographies. Furthermore, the organization is able to gather and integrate a breadth of information across the entire business. And lastly, by creating a sense of a common goal, the organization generates “buy in” that helps accelerate improvement when establishing and taking the next steps.