When I present benchmark metrics to a law department, some lawyer inevitably attacks the non-comparability of the other companies, the lack of rigor of the definitions, the vagaries of data collection, the inter-relatedness of the numbers, the bad faith of the participants, the methodological impurity of the process.
Granted, metrics have flaws. The consistent clamor for benchmarks, I have to point out, belies these charges. Many metrics are inputs (what the law department does, such as filing patents, reviewing 8-Ks) rather than outputs (achieving the results the business clients want, such as opening a store, making the sale, buying the goods).
Better to make a good faith effort to collect and analyze metrics than to stumble around in the dark, bumping into unpleasant surprises. Light a metrics candle instead of wandering through Stygian management.