We've been throwing around bencharking as a way to communicate the value of user experience in a concrete manner. "When Benchmarks Don't Work", an article from Working Knowledge, suggests benchmarks may not always be the best way to go (and sometimes may be the worst).
Benchmarking certainly has its virtues. Comparing production time or the cost of a standard process to that of peer companies can yield important insights about your own efficiencies—and ultimately, competitiveness. But benchmarking also has its limits. When you ignore the differentiated output that internal support or shared services groups provide, such straight-across cost or numeric comparisons become meaningless.