With the ever accelerating pace of change in business today, benchmarking is a well suited tool in order to:
identify performance gaps (answers to questions “where” and “how much”)
analyse the root causes, and
exchange on operational performance’s main pillars, e.g. organisations, processes, tools, knowledge (answers to question “how to”).
The ultimate goal is the adoption and adaptation of best practices coming from other companies. These methods and tools provide a potentially substantial impact on the economic performance and competitive position of the company. ETNO’s Benchmarking Working Group (BEN WG) thus offers positive opportunities for our community.
The ETNO Benchmarking Working Group was created in mid-2003 with the objective of promoting and facilitating benchmarking activities between its members by:
providing a mechanism to help recruit participants for specific studies introduced by individual members
actively encouraging both quantitative and qualitative benchmarking studies ;
providing rules and methods in order to manage the benchmarking studies in an efficient way while protecting confidential information
exploiting the use of benchmarking expertise within the constituent member operators.
The ETNO BEN WG also provides a centre-of-excellence forum for staying abreast of best practices in respect to benchmarking skills and techniques. Realising these objectives may contribute to the improvement of European telecommunications operations in general and operators in particular.
The BEN WG also works to establish links with other operators, industries and administrative bodies to widen data capture and also enable its members to pursue their own Benchmarking studies more effectively.
For the moment, major topics handled by the ETNO BEN WG are:
1. Quantitative benchmarking
As a main tool for metric comparison, the BEN WG has selected a benchmarking engine, managed independently of ETNO by a third party, to facilitate the ‘blinded’ exchange of numerical data between members. The necessity to ‘blind’ data arises where members wish to facilitate the exchange of sensitive / non public domain measures. To address competition law concerns, a legally approved and comprehensive Framework Agreement, produced by the third party agent, is signed by each participant of these studies.
Since the creation of the WG, the engine has been used to compare hundreds of defined metrics over a series of studies. The studies have included exchanges on a variety of areas e.g. product QoS measures; network resilience parameters; fieldforce efficiency; customer complaints and SME channel management.
Besides ‘blinded’ studies, members also undertake the collection and collation of public domain information to help with the broader understanding of economic markets. Such studies have included fixed/mobile convergence; product SLA offerings and the impact on telecommunications of to financial crises.
2. Qualitative Benchmarking and ‘best practice’ studies
BEN WG membership provides the opportunity for individual members to instigate and scope benchmarking best practice studies at any time during the year.
Past studies have covered a wide range of value chain activities from small surveys around topics as diverse as regulatory comparisons to best practices in Access Network Records Management.
Although the studies themselves are conducted independently of the ETNO BEN WG, the BEN WG monitors the progress of such studies to maximise the benefits of the studies, to avoid duplication and to ensure that the studies are executed in accordance with the relevant legal and regulatory frameworks.
Headline findings of such studies are reported back to the ETNO BEN WG. Access to full study results (final deliverables) is restricted to operators that have participated in the study.
3. Special Interest Groups
Where sufficient interest is communicated, typically following the successful conclusion of a best practice study in a specialist area, opportunity exists for the expert group gathered to form a subsequent ”Special Interest Group” (SIG). Operating under the same Rules of Procedure as the main BEN WG, the SIG produces its own agenda and meeting schedule. This is another example of ‘added value’ arising from involvement in the BEN WG. During 2008 a SIG was established to address Access Network processes and practices, and a SIG on Customer Experience was launched in 2012.
Working Group structure
ETNO WGs are the engine of the Association. The bottom-up approach when formulating ETNO position papers ensures that all ETNO member interests are captured. The BEN WG Chair is Thierry Denant of Orange: thierry.denant(at)orange(dot)com.