Benchmarking to measure and increase efficiency

Re-Benchmark at„W&W Informatik GmbH“

W&W Informatik GmbH is the in-house IT service provider for the entire Wüstenrot & Württembergische Group. The company was formed in 2002 from the IT departments of Wüstenrot Bausparkasse, Württembergische Versicherung, Wüstenrot Bank and Leonberger Bausparkasse. W&W Informatik GmbH and its 746 employees provide comprehensive IT support for the Group. In January 2005, the company decided to carry out a benchmark project to check the effectiveness of in-house restructuring measures.

W&W Informatik GmbH’s management introduced the SPORT project (Strategic Programme for Optimising Resource use in Technology) in the year it was founded. Its goal was to achieve market-driven prices and services while also significantly reducing costs. The technology was consolidated in the process and a new organisational structure was set up, which became ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) compliant.

Maturity was commissioned to perform efficiency testing on the SPORT project in January 2005 by Klaus-Rüdiger Willer, one of W&W Informatik GmbH’s 2 managing directors. A benchmark project was jointly set up that was initially designed to carry out an analysis of W&W Informatik GmbH’s situation as a whole. “We wanted to know how good our data processing is in terms of cost and productivity compared to the IT divisions in other firms”, explained Willer, “and we also needed to see how accurate the assessment of our company was as far as future requirements, processes, interfaces and the technology used were concerned.” W&W Informatik themselves wanted to set the bar high, and so they had a say in the make-up of the 2 comparison groups (6 in-house IT financial service providers and 7 off-site IT service providers, all in Europe). The results of the benchmarks were clear: while Informatik’s structure as a whole was productive and cost-efficient, there were some areas that came in below the average of the comparison group. The recommendations from the benchmarks led to the implementation of productivity and cost optimisation measures for individual segments in the mainframe, network, printing and middleware sectors.

Just one year later this was followed up with what amounted to a “benchmark benchmark”. In a new project, Maturity looked at those sectors that the first project had indicated were in need of optimisation. “There is more to it than merely assessing your own situation; you also have to check whether the corrective measures you have introduced have borne fruit,” says Willer. “Did the measures that were introduced based on the findings of the previous benchmarks lead to an improvement in our performance figures?” They certainly did.

Marked measurable improvement

By implementing the recommended corrective measures, W&W Informatik GmbH was able to adjust many parameters and make considerable improvements within one year. According to Klaus-Rüdiger Willer, a crucial factor in the success of both benchmark projects was the fact that both data collection and data validation were in place in the shape of interviews and discussions. “Joint discussion of the respective sectors under appraisal and the performance figures ensures that everyone is on the same page as far as the performance figures are concerned. It is also important to discuss the results obtained on each of those sectors, as they quickly reveal whether the investigation into the previous figures was correct”. Furthermore, the direct contact makes the customer feel that they are being well looked after.

When performing an IT benchmark on an in-house service provider such as W&W Informatik, factors such as quality, productivity and complexity are more important than a simple price comparison. Ultimately, the calculation of in-house service accounting is different to that used for the prices of off-site service providers. “W&W Informatik needs to be able to show our customers how we stand up against other companies,” Willer concludes, “and in this respect Maturity’s benchmarking approach has served us well.”

Download the case study IT benchmark at W&W Informatik as a PDF file

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