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Boundless benchmarking

Open standards benchmarking enables collaboration and innovation at speed and scale—laying a foundation for business models of the future.

Benchmarking isn’t just about cutting costs or increasing efficiency. It’s a driver of business transformation. It improves innovation, enables collaboration, and provides the insights needed for successful change.

But where does benchmarking deliver the most business value? To assess executive perspectives on benchmarking, IBM and APQC surveyed 2,000 global C-suite executives about where they use benchmarks, how benchmarking improves business performance, and how they expect to use benchmarks in the future.

We found that, on average, organizations with revenues of roughly $10 billion attributed the equivalent of just under 7% of revenues—or approximately $655 million—in business value to benchmarking. Extrapolated across Fortune 1,000 organizations in the US, this means the business value of benchmarking would be—at a minimum— an astonishing $1 trillion in 2021.

71% of executives say benchmarking helps drive organizational transformation.

While each organization uses benchmarking in its own way, our survey revealed that the more comprehensively benchmarking is used, the more business value it delivers. By helping leaders find ways to reduce costs and increase revenues, organizations that use benchmarking to inform a larger portion of metrics see a bigger value bump.

Benchmarking as a strategic asset

Our survey revealed that nine in ten executives see benchmarking as a strategic management tool and use it at least once per quarter. While improving performance will always be important for business leaders, our survey shows that executives now expect benchmarking to serve a host of more strategic goals.

Four in five executives see accelerating breakthrough innovations as one of the most important benefits of benchmarking—putting it at the top of their list of priorities. Better budget forecasting, faster organizational learning, and gaining competitive advantage are also highly valued.

Benefits of benchmarking: Executives now prioritize strategic outcomes over performance improvements

Accelerate breakthroughs or innovations

Improve budgets or forecasts, targets, and stretch goals

Understand cost position (e.g. to identify opportunities for improvement)

Gain strategic advantage (e.g. deciding which capabilities are most important for strategic advantage)

Increase the rate of organizational learning (e.g. accelerate new ideas and experience sharing)

Improve performance (e.g. improving operational efficiency and product design)

And this is just the beginning. As markets and industries evolve to become integrated partner ecosystems, we expect benchmarking to drive value in entirely new ways. Open standards can provide a shared language enabling collaboration and innovation at speed and scale—and lay a foundation for the ecosystem-based business models of the future. When deployed collaboratively within a broader ecosystem, the business impact of benchmarking can be exponential

Download the report to learn how open standards benchmarking can help your organization revolutionize its operations and get more value from partnerships in an evolving landscape.


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Additional content

Meet the authors

Lisa Higgins

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, President and CEO, APQC


Anthony Marshall, Senior Research Director, IBM Institute for Business Value

Kirsten Crysel

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, Global Performance Data and Benchmarking Director, IBM Institute for Business Value


Jacob Dencik, Ph.D

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, Global Economic Research Leader, IBM Institute for Business Value

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Originally published 10 October 2022