Expending the energy and expense of collecting information can all be for naught or generate only mediocre return on investment if the data is not converted into useful information that can be integrated into the overall service delivery creation process.
Constructing great questionnaires, recruiting excellent team members , and conducting mind-expanding site visits will produce very little if there is no effective documentation created.
Assigning responsibility for documentation prior to the site visits is essential. That responsibility can be shared but, much like a successful marriage , each participant must contribute 100 percent, not a proportional percentage.
There may be an opportunity to do an audio or video recording of the site visit, but in many instances the presence of recording devices may dampen the spontaneity desired in the meeting.
Facility tours are especially useful to observe services actually being delivered, but are challenging from a documentation standpoint. A small notepad is very useful for this.
In addition to documenting the answers to the questionnaire, any documentation of processes, methods , agreements, or metrics are valuable artifacts to be collected.
Again, planning pays a premium in this aspect of benchmarking. In addition to using profiles, frameworks, and guidelines to keep the process focused, you must begin with the end in mind. Work backward and envision what it is you wish to prove or disprove about the service delivery environment and construct a process or methodology to accomplish that specifically . Create spreadsheets or shell databases in advance to aid in the analysis of the data captured.
Utilize research data from sources such as Gartner, Forrester, or Giga to supplement, enhance, and validate the data collected.
Getting caught up in analysis for the sake of analysis, or analysis paralysis, can produce a slow death to the benchmarking effort, as the value of the information has a very short half-life. Benchmarking information must be current, especially with the exponentially increasing rate of evolution or revolution that is taking place in the IT industry.