Benchmarking has become an established approach for IT organizations to assess their performance. Strategic IT benchmarking performs such an assessment by a structured comparison of IT management to a peer group. Despite strategic IT benchmarking’s long tradition, many such initiatives do not result in the desired improvements, or fail completely. In light of increased pressure to justify IT organizations’ value contribution, however, the relevance of assessments such as strategic IT benchmarking is increasing. Hence, a deeper understanding of the factors that differentiate between successful and unsuccessful strategic IT benchmarking is required.
This thesis is a collection of five cumulative articles that help advance our understanding of strategic IT benchmarking success. Building on an exhaustive literature review of the related literature of strategic IT benchmarking, in this thesis, an instrument for strategic IT benchmarking has been developed and theorized. This instrument has been used in three cases of strategic IT benchmarking using a deductive-inductive research setting. The cases provided rich insights on the relevant effects leading to successful strategic IT benchmarking. Based on a broad theoretical integration and abstraction of the case findings, eventually a theoretical model for strategic IT benchmarking success is presented, operationalized, and tested in a pilot study.
Altogether, this thesis provides an in-depth understanding of the various aspects that impact successful strategic IT benchmarking. By framing benchmarking as a social process involving social actors and various units of analysis, the research presented here offers a new perspective on benchmarking success, on which future researchers may elaborate further. Additionally, practitioners benefit from a better understanding of how to deploy strategic IT benchmarking as a tool to generate meaningful data for their IT/IS strategizing.