Members of the Communications Management Association have been invited to form closed benchmarking groups, in response to the increasing trend to outsource network management and services to third parties.
The CMA membership survey, released at the organisation's annual conference in London in February, revealed that 29% of members planned to outsource more telecoms services over the next 12 months.
Fifty five per cent of respondents expected their level of outsourcing would be similar to last year and only 14% said they would outsource fewer services over the next year.
The CMA has begun working with consultancy Mason Communications to set the parameters for benchmarking companies of various sizes. It hopes to gather enough data to allow businesses of similar size operating in the same sector to assess whether they are spending too little or too much on networks and telecoms.
The CMA is using a confidential closed-group model to gather benchmarking data, where participants release confidential contract details and performance levels to the CMA which can then be matched with information from others in the group.
The CMA said participants would be provided with regular reports highlighting the best deals available, but the identities of the participants would not be revealed to other members.
Phil Sayer, CMA enterprise sector director, said, "The service is in response to suggestions from members who want help with benchmarking at a competitive cost. "Commercial benchmarking studies can cost participants as much as £50,000 or more. Ours will be a fraction of that."
The benchmarking initiative is only open to companies employing at least one CMA member. The plan is to provide price and service updates once or twice a year to make sure the results remain current.
David Hartley, associate director at Mason, said, "We plan to provide benchmarked results for both international and national outsourced networks."
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This was first published in February 2004