Setting a high standard for quality results
The health insurance company KKH-Allianz has completed a benchmarking process to measure its IT capability. Jörg Peschke, Head of IT Operations, describes the experience in this interview.
Maturity: What did you embark on a benchmarking exercise of your IT operations?
Jörg Peschke: We wanted to undertake a comprehensive comparison to guide us on where we stood with our IT, what we had done right and where we needed to improve. We wanted to identify where action was urgently required.
Maturity: What would you say are examples of best practice in benchmarking?
Peschke: First of all, you need a good process model. A key factor for us was that the comparative data from the peer group companies had been standardised to our values. As a result, we were able to identify where we came in the rankings at all points of the process. The quality of performance data and the method of peer selection were also important. Maturity presented us with twelve companies in the peer group. We compared ourselves with the best eight in each IT segment that was investigated.
Maturity: What else mattered when you were deciding on a benchmarking consultant?
Peschke: The discussions with the bidders were certainly thorough. We analysed their approach, methodology and process. And we wanted to get to know the people who subsequently would be probing our department and asking sensitive questions. It has a lot to do with trust.
Maturity: What was the main criterion?
Peschke: For a comparison to be useful, it needs, above all, to be based on good data acquisition. If I collect and analyse the wrong information, then the results are no good to me. We wanted clean results where there could be no doubt. Ultimately, Maturity offered the best value for money.
Maturity: How did you find the data gathering?
Peschke: I would describe that stage as a “positive dispute” at a constructive level. We set a high standard for the quality of the results and ultimately that was how we worked out a common approach with Maturity that was supported by all those involved. This was a key factor: after all, if staff and managers don’t genuinely trust the process, they will not be prepared to accept the end results of benchmarking – regardless of what they are.
Maturity: And what were the weaknesses in your IT operations?
Peschke: Most of the work we needed to do was in the area of mainframe and open-world backup, where we were somewhat behind the times. Following on from the benchmark, we immediately set up a project to address the problem. It had in fact become apparent before then that our backup solutions had come to the end of their life cycle, but the figures from the benchmark showed us that we needed to start as soon as possible.
Download the case study IT benchmark at KKH-Allianz as a PDF file