Benchmarking as a training element

Hubert Ludwig, MD of DVZ

Schwerin-based DVZ Datenverarbeitungszentrum Mecklenburg-Vorpommern GmbH (DVZ) is the IT service provider for the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern regional authorities. DVZ’s portfolio of services ranges from consulting and concept design through systems development, procurement and operation to system maintenance. In addition to “internal” clients, DVZ also offers its services to external clients in the third market. Both customer groups expect high quality at a good price. To gain an objective assessment of its own performance capability, Hubert Ludwig, MD of DVZ, decided on a benchmarking project. “It is important to know how competitive your own range of services is and in particular what response it has on the market”, said Ludwig.

The project focused on two previously separate areas – Data Centre and Service – which had been merged together into a single department following a reorganisation of the company. “We chose this department because we wanted to obtain informative statements on necessary changes and possible synergies here which did not result from an inhouse assessment”, explained Ludwig. The peer group consisted of eight IT service providers with a comparable spectrum of services. These selected German companies are considered among the best in their field. At the end Maturity offered recommendations for the Mainframe Server Operation, Windows/Linux as well as Support departments, but overall it was able to give DVZ a good reference.

Remaining competitive

Relative to the comparison group, the areas under analysis – apart from Mainframe – performed better than the average. In the so-called “new technologies” such as Unix, Linux and Client Services, DVZ is not only better than average but in the top third. That is particularly remarkable given that the peer group consisted wholly of businesses operating solely on the free market and offering their IT services in open competition. “We have no cause to rest on our laurels. DVZ will continue to work on and implement Maturity’s recommendations”, Ludwig went on. The aim is to expand the competitive portfolio and optimise control processes. There had initially been concerns about the outcome of the project, given that this was the first time the company had undergone a benchmarking process of this size. As to whether they were happy with the results, Ludwig says that this is far from easy to answer. The presentation of the results had been something of a “reality check”, but the company wanted to go on improving its own services so that it could remain competitive. “That can only be done if the prices are right for the market”, explained Ludwig. It was now up to the company to draw the right conclusions, develop realistic solutions and incorporate these into processes as quickly as possible.

But that is far from being the end of it for Hubert Ludwig: he sees the reviewing of the company’s own performance as a continuous task. “I compare it with a peak sportsman who can only bring his performances up to Olympic standard by adhering strictly to a training programme that is specially tailored for him. Where he then stands is determined in competition, in direct comparison with his rivals. That is why regular benchmarking for the purposes of reviewing our performances is part of our training programme.”

Download the case study IT benchmark at DVZ as a PDF file

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