Benchmarking is a popular way for companies to measure their performance, and technology is expediting the practice. For example, the Hackett Group now offers a dashboard that automatically pulls data out of a company's ERP system to track processes that a company is working to improve.

The tool, the Hackett Performance Exchange, addresses one of the basic challenges of benchmarking, "the level of time and effort it takes to get the information," said Jeffrey Rosengard, a principal and global finance advisory practice leader at Hackett, a Miami-based strategic advisory and operations improvement consulting firm.

Performance Exchange connects to companies' Oracle and SAP systems to extract data on costs, cycle times, and error rates, as well as information around working capital management, like order-to-cash and purchase-to-pay. "This is a very efficient and effective way our clients are able to extract their own information and then also do comparisons against Hackett's broad database," Rosengard said.

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Susan Kelly

Susan Kelly is a business journalist who has written for Treasury & Risk, FierceCFO, Global Finance, Financial Week, Bridge News and The Bond Buyer.