The following is a guest post from a good colleague and friend Hans van Grieken who has often been a thought leader. It’s a novel idea and a good one building on the wisdom of the crowds. I am sure it will promote some good posts ! Andy
A personal call to enrich some of our sector specific market Metrics
For decades the Consulting Industry has made huge sums of money by measuring their client’s performance to industry best practices and standards. Over the past 70 years, millions of Executives have looked their consultants in the eye with that weary look in their face: “am I still on par?” As a result, companies such as McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, Baines and Capgemini produced massive and expensive sector market-overviews with which they engaged with their clients to either benchmark them or to develop transformation-business engagements for the unfortunate and perpetual “underperformers”. According to Wikipedia, Benchmarking is a powerful management tool because it overcomes “paradigm blindness.” But is sensitivity to paradigm shifts “inside ones company or market sector” enough these days? I think not.

‘The term ‘benchmark’ presumably originates from the practice of making dimensional height measurements of an object to a workbench’ using a gradual scale or similar tool, and using the surface of the workbench as the origin for the measurement. It was put into a formal process for the first time by Rank Xerox. Yet, one might argue that a lot has changed the last 10 years, specifically since the internet. Competition has become a much fiercer and global play, customers demand an ever growing number of individualized/personalized products and services which calls for “mass customization”, time to market has become key in conjunction with extremely shortening Product/Service Life Cycles, disruptive Web 2.0 technologies enable new entrants to rapidly move into a new business/market on a massive scale. The question as to the extent of your market performance in comparison to your peers therefore, has become less important over time. One might even argue that “if you’re not on par, you’re dead anyway(or at least for sale)”. That obviously doesn’t mean to say that these companies aren’t interesting to look into as potential clients for our Consulting offerings: they are. But having said that I think it is time for us to develop an additional set of benchmark-offerings totally geared at those companies that are on par or beyond anyway. An offering that I would like to refer to as the mashmark.
A mashmark I would define as is the ability of a company to structurally scan the environment for anomalies that might trigger new business opportunities, new coalitions, both inside its own vertical markets but – far more important – outside its sector in mashup with players from other sectors. As put in a recent article by Ron Tolido, Koen Klokgieters and myself , “a mashmark indicates the level at which an organization is able to integrate with the outside world and quickly arrive at new insights based on continually changing information sources and events. A mashmark also indicates the extent to which an organization is to enter into new, flexible collaborative ventures with partners and customers, even if these are in totally different sectors or the parties are on remote continents.”*.
What metrics make-up such a mashmark? This is obviously work under construction, but to get your idea’s “pumping” here’s some of my own indicators:
1. does your company have an organized outside-in radarscreen that detects anomalies both outside and inside your marketsegment?
2. does your company have an ecosystem of business partners with whom to team outside your vertical market?
3. does your company have a specific set of “rules of engagement” to deal with issues of intellectual property in interacting with potential mashup partners (“open source, wicki,)
4. does your company have an IT architecture that allows you to easily and securely interact with potential mashup partners (SOA, deperimeterisation/Jericho principles/risk appetite, Web 2.0)
5. does you company have the company border crossing collaborative tooling in place to support these business processes?
6. and finally: does your company have the “open innovative culture” that is vital to make this work in a sustainable fashion?
These thoughts of mine are meant to stir thought and feedback, it is a call to collectively define a number of metrics and indicators that might well make up a future ‘benchmark’: for want of a better name for now and to build around the idea I refer to this as the Capgemini MASHMARK. Let me know what you think.
Hans van Grieken
VP Business Innovation
Capgemini Netherlands
Further reading:
* From benchmarking to mashmarking – Koen Klokgieters, Ron Tolido, Hans van Grieken – Capgemini Face to Face – NL Corporate Clients magazine
Clayton Christiansen – the innovators dilemma
Chan Kim, W. and Mauborgne, M., Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant (Harvard Business School Press, 2005)
Chesbrough, H., Open Business Models: How to Thrive in the New Innovation Landscape (Harvard Business School Press, 2006)
Christensen, C.M. The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book that Will Change the Way You Do Business (Collins Business Essentials, 2003)
Friedman, T. L. The World Is Flat [Updated and Expanded]: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006)
Moss Kanter, R., Innovation: The Classic Traps. In: Harvard Business Review (November 2006)
Don Tapscot, Anthony Williams, Wikinomics
On the history of benchmarking: 12manage
On mass-customisation: Mass Customisation is the customisation and personalisation of products and services for individual customers at a mass production price. The concept was first conceived by Stan Davis in Future Perfect. It was then further developed by Joseph Pine in his book Mass Customization