Modern benchmarking evolved from the work done by R.C. Camp at Xerox, which is well documented in his 1989 book, Benchmarking. Benchmarking is generally defined as measuring your own products, services, and practices against the best in the field. It is often used as a precursor to reengineering efforts. Identifying best-of-breed processes and metrics to measure those processes is the typical goal of benchmarking efforts.
Classic benchmarking efforts oriented to manufacturing type environments can often be quite extensive , exhaustive, and expensive. In the rapidly changing and evolving IT environment, time is of the essence and return on investment is often challenging to calculate. Applying a focused approach while retaining primary process steps is the key to successfully implementing benchmarking in an ISD environment. The primary process steps are:
Establish the reason to benchmark
Develop an understanding of the current environment's needs
Identify appropriate target companies
Develop a methodology of collecting information
Commit to a plan of utilizing the information collected
Benchmarking is a viable tool to use in the development of an ISD environment.