by Loren G. Edelstein | December 22, 2010

Debi Scholar, president of the Scholar Consulting Group LLC, has released a free online benchmarking tool for organizations developing strategic meetings management (SMM) programs. The website asks users a series of questions that result in a qualitative ranking and gives recommendations for process improvement. The tool gauges the maturity of a program using six levels, starting with "unaware," describing firms that are just beginning SMM efforts, through "mature," referring to firms with a comprehensive process in place. After completing the confidential survey, users receive a benchmark report that provides a self-assessed level of program maturity, an action plan, best-in-class practices, savings opportunities and the risks of remaining with the status quo. Those who do not wish to complete the benchmark assessment can view aggregated results at SMM Benchmark LIVE. The website also offers educational templates and guidelines for meeting planners, including "10 Pillars of Savings Opportunities," a change-management matrix and a list of 80 components that make up a thorough meetings policy.