Benchmarking in ClearPoint

Webinar 57 in the "I Didn't Know ClearPoint Could Do That!?!" Webinar Series

For high-performing organizations like yourselves, sharing data and benchmarking against peers is a great way to connect with your community and continue your journey towards excellence! We’ll walk you through the best ways to leverage ClearPoint to help you achieve these goals – including joining and contributing to the Measure Library, Peer-to-Peer Sharing, and tips from some of our existing client benchmarking groups. Join us on this episode of the “I Didn’t Know ClearPoint Could Do That!?!” to learn more!

Webinar 57 Transcript


  • Introduction (0:00)
  • Agenda (0:59)
  • Benchmarking Basics (1:28)
    • Types of Benchmarking (2:01)
    • Where to Benchmark (3:21)
    • Who can Benchmark? (4:35)
    • Benchmarking Benefits (5:20)
  • Benchmarking in ClearPoint
    • The ClearPoint Measure Library (7:11)
    • Peer-to-Peer Sharing (9:19)
  • Questions (12:36)

Introduction (0:00)

  • Laura: Hello everyone, and welcome to the “I didn’t know ClearPoint could do that!?!” webinar series
  • Today, we’ll be talking about the benefits of benchmarking in ClearPoint!
  • But before we get started, here are your smiling hosts, I’m Laura
    • Pierre: And I’m Pierre!
  • Laura: As a few housekeeping announcements:
    • We will be recording this session and will make it available within a week
    • The webinar will last about 20 minutes with time for questions at the end
    • So you can submit your questions to… the new Q&A chat box!! This is located in the toolbar at the bottom of the Zoom window.
    • As always, any that we don’t get to, we’ll follow up with over email!
  • Now, on our last installment, we walked through the brand new ClearPoint 14.5 features which are now live! So if you’re interested in setting up Reporting Workflows, leveraging the My Updates page, or opting in to the new Schedules Calendar, be sure to check out that recording and transcript on our website or Vimeo channel!

Agenda (0:59)

  • Pierre: Today, we’ll be talking about benchmarking!
  • Laura: We’ll go over what benchmarking is, why you should do it, and finally how you can tackle this process in ClearPoint. So again, if you have any questions you’d like us to address during the webinar, be sure to submit them to the Q&A located at the bottom of your Zoom toolbar!
  • Laura: On your mark…get set…let’s go! First, let’s talk about what benchmarking is.

Benchmarking Basics (1:28)

  • Pierre: Benchmarking is: the process of measuring key business metrics and practices and comparing them—within business areas or against a competitor, industry peers, or other companies —to understand how and where the organization needs to change in order to improve performance.
  • Laura: It’s important to note that benchmarking is a continuous process, not just a one-time project. In other words, it’s a marathon, not a sprint!
  • Pierre: Fun fact, did you know the term “benchmarking” comes from the land-surveying practice of comparing elevations?

Types of Benchmarking (2:01)

  • Laura: Cool! Luckily our type of benchmarking won’t be as rocky. There are many different approaches to benchmarking, and they each can yield different results for your organization. Let’s break some of them down:
    • First, you can benchmark performance or practices.
  • Pierre: What’s the difference?
  • Laura: Think of performance benchmarking as evaluating how you compare to other departments and organizations in quantitative or measurable aspects of your operations. Let’s say that you and I both manage our own football teams. We both track certain stats and data, and we might be interested in comparing how our stats compare to each other’s. For example, we might be interested in comparing data on penalties per game, or average yards gained per play.
  • Pierre: So it sounds like anything that you could build a chart around is an example of performance benchmarking?
  • Laura: Yes exactly! On the other hand, benchmarking practices is more about process improvement, which is not as easily quantifiable. This analyzes the way a decision was made or a process was implemented. When benchmarking practices, you’re asking the question, “What can we learn from them?” In our football example, I might be interested in learning how your team organizes your practice schedule or when you start your recruiting season.

Where to Benchmark (3:21)

  • Pierre: Ok, that makes sense. So where can you benchmark?
  • Laura: Well, you can benchmark either internally or externally
    • Internal benchmarking means measuring within your organization’s departments, or across different products. For my football team, this might mean that I benchmark my offense against my defense – how much money does each “department” spend? Who makes less mistakes?
  • Pierre: So what does external benchmarking mean?
  • Laura: External benchmarking involves measuring against organizations outside of your own. A local government might be wondering how their citizen satisfaction survey compares to a different city. Or a private manufacturing company might be wondering if they are using the most efficient shipping methods.
    • It’s important to carefully choose who you will benchmark against – you’ll want to choose departments or organizations that are similar in size and geography for best results. If our football teams are going to benchmark against each other, we probably belong to similar-sized schools, with similar rankings and resources.
  • Pierre: Yes, and research shows that internally benchmarking best practices is as effective as externally benchmarking in driving continuous improvement.

Who can Benchmark? (4:35)

  • Laura: Now that we understand what benchmarking is, I’m wondering who can benchmark?
  • Pierre: Most any organization can and should engage in some form of benchmarking. Since local governments and non-profits usually easily and openly share information, benchmarking is a more common practice in those industries.
  • Laura: However, that doesn’t mean private companies don’t benchmark! They certainly do, though it’s sometimes more difficult to obtain competitor information. This is why we recommend non-competitor benchmarking as the best approach for private companies.
  • Pierre: Yes, and often there are standards published by associations that private companies can access and use as a starting point for benchmarking. This information might be anonymized, but is still helpful!

Benchmarking Benefits (5:20)

  • Pierre: So what does all this mean in practice? And why should we care?
  • Laura: There are many benefits to benchmarking. Firstly, it is critical to maintaining a competitive edge. Studying best practices keeps you ahead of the game.
    • Benchmarking also enables you to better understand your strengths and advantages, as well as your gaps and room for improvement. You can use all this information to create new goals and targets to work toward.
  • Pierre: You can also form beneficial partnerships and networking opportunities across your industry.
    • But most importantly, you should benchmark because it will help you understand where and how to improve your organization.
  • Laura: It’s time to get up off the sidelines – you want to be a benchmarker, not a bench warmer! No matter what type of benchmarking you decide to engage in, ClearPoint can help you knock it out of the park. This quadrant shows how our different features, such as calculations, alignment reports, the measure library, and our amazing community network can help you carry out benchmarking. Today, we’ll be focusing on benchmarking in the Measure Library, but if you have any questions about how these features can help you benchmark, please reach out to our support team or your account manager!
  • Laura: Okay, so we understand benchmarking’s value but how do we get started?
  • Pierre: Great question. So there’s a ton of data out there and getting started can be intimidating. One of the first factors you want to consider is relevance. There may be great data available to you, but if it has no relevance to your services and organization, it likely isn’t worth your time.
  • Laura: Makes sense. I don’t need to spend tons of time tracking the number of 3-pointers made if I’m a football team.
  • Pierre: The second factor is feasibility. Say you’ve identified what would be great to track, but how do you so. How do you actually do it. This is where ClearPoint comes in.

Benchmarking in ClearPoint

The Measure Library (7:11)

  • Laura: So how will ClearPoint make it easy to benchmark?
  • Pierre: Well, in mainly two ways. The ClearPoint community spans time zones and countries to provide you a wealth of knowledge, and the ClearPoint Measure Library puts it at your fingertips, which brings us to gathering and analyzing information.
  • Laura: Time-out! Who has access to the measure library? And what is it?
  • Pierre: Right now, every local government account has access to the Measure library. You can ask us to set up peer groups to benchmark in, and if you are not a local government, please contact us to see how the Measure Library can help you!
    • The Measure Library contains hundreds of measures covering a variety of themes. Fortunately, it’s easy to search and review information that is relevant to you. So let’s check this out.
    • Search for “Average number of pounds recycled per capita”
    • Open the review. The Measure Library comes with great visuals that allow you to easily analyze the results and trend of relevant data points
    • The data grid tab gives you the underlying data if you’re a data junkie and want to run your own analysis on the results
    • You can also review the Measure Definition tab to see what this data means and confirm it’s relevant to you
    • Click Contact Information Tab – And if you still have questions on the data, your fellow industry professionals have volunteered to offer some insight into the data. A special thank you to Laura and the City of Tamarac for being such great contributors to the Measure Library and benchmarking
    • So in Taking a step back, you can see that the ClearPoint Community and The ClearPoint Measure Library will work together to help you effectively benchmark.
  • Laura: That’s amazing! I can find great data with tons of context and review it whenever I want. But how do I actually use it

Peer-to-Peer Sharing (9:19)

  • Pierre: Thinking three steps ahead Laura, that’s awesome! So now you found great, relevant data that you love, but you don’t want to keep going back and forth between the library and your data to compare and assess.
    • Fortunately, ClearPoint is here to help. You can add any data in the Measure Library to your account for easy benchmarking
    • Click Add Account. We’re going to add to an existing measure of ours
    • Our measure is called Number of Pounds of Recycled
    • Monthly Actual is what works best for our setup
    • We’ll change the default name slightly
    • Click add to account and go to measure
    • And that’s it! When we go to our measure, we’ll see the data there
  • Laura: That’s amazing. The data really is at my fingertips
  • Pierre: But wait there’s more. Now we’re in overtime, so we need new plans, new strategy. We can go one step further and have ClearPoint automatically evaluate compare our performance to the benchmark.
    • Create the evaluation from edit window
      • Green is at or equal
      • Red is below
      • Blue is no info
      • Set to use
    • So if we scroll down, we can see our performance compared automatically to the benchmark
    • And for our game winning play we can visualize the data on charts. Add the new series to the chart.
    • Let’s look at the game highlights: We have raw, relevant data, auto evaluations, and charts indicating how we’re performing to high-performing peers!
    • And that’s the final whistle! Let’s head over to the press conference to take some questions

Questions (12:36)

Laura: Awesome Pierre. So, with that, we’d love to use our remaining time today to open up the floor for your questions! So, it looks like a couple of you have written in.

Question 1: Who can I lean on for help?

  • Laura: Both the ClearPoint team and the ClearPoint community are invested in helping you benchmark effectively. Reach out to us at the support team, your account manager, or the data owners listed in the Measure Library for help benchmarking at your organization.

Question 2: How is data from benchmarking peers updated?

  • Pierre: Automatically, as peers update data it will show up in your account. No need for manual checking or refreshing on your end!

Question 3: It looks like this example is only benchmarking with one peer. What if you want to benchmark against multiple peers?

  • Pierre: You can benchmark against as many peers as you want, whether that is within different measures. Or if you want them to be columns added to the chart and measures data table. However you want to approach it is all possible! And if you need help with the technical aspects of that, your account manager is more than happy to get started with that!

Question 4: How do you see what is in the Measure Library if you don’t currently have access?

  • Laura: If you don’t have access to the Measure Library right now, you can email us at [email protected] and we’ll help you enable that in your account so that you can browse the hundreds of measures that are in there.

Pierre: Those were some really great questions guys, and we want to thank you! Laura, I’ll let you close us out.

Laura: Yeah thank you Pierre, and thanks to everyone for joining! So we hope you can now confidently say ‘I DID know ClearPoint could help me benchmark!’. See you next time, and Happy Benchmarking!