Beyond benchmarking

Industry benchmarking has the potential to help answer many strategic questions, but traditional benchmarking efforts seldom gain widespread acceptance.

Example reporting map for the professional staff activity survey data

The value of a benchmarking project is often limited by insufficient rigour in the approach used, a naive belief that benchmarking will provide all the answers, and a poor understanding of the contextual settings for all of the participants.

The UniForum approach avoids the common benchmarking pitfalls in four important ways:

  • Benchmarking is used as the starting point for a conversation, driving early prioritisation of the areas for deeper contextual reviews, and allowing time for these reviews to assess both the efficiency and effectiveness of the services.
  • Study groups are structured to encourage open sharing, and to build a fuller understanding of the differences between members, the choices each member has made, and the implications of those choices.
  • UniForum studies create opportunities for senior service division executives to engage with peers who face, or have faced, the same challenges, and so learn from real practical experience, supported by a detailed fact-base.
  • UniForum collaboration is supported by independent, expert facilitators to ensure a robust process is applied consistently across participants, information is reviewed objectively, and insights are presented in ways that encourage debate and constructive engagement by all participants.

The UniForum approach takes stakeholders through a process of building a robust, fact-based understanding of the choices available to them.

The starting point for studies is the benchmarking data, but the endpoint is a better understanding of the drivers of difference and the consequences of different decisions management can make.