Archive for the ‘Enterprise Incentive Management’ Category

Incentive Compensation Industry News

July 11, 2008

Callidus Software Reports Preliminary Financial Results for the Second Quarter 2008

  • Subscription and support revenues for the second quarter are expected to be approximately $10.0 million, an increase of 68% over the second quarter of 2007.
  • Callidus On-Demand (subscription) gross margins for the second quarter are expected to be within the range of 45 to 50%, up from 22% in Q1 2008.

WageWorks Selects Centive Compel(R) to Automate Sales Compensation Management

Centive, the leader in on-demandsolutions for sales compensation and sales performance management, todayannounced that WageWorks, the leading provider of tax-advantaged benefitsprograms, has selected Centive Compel to automate sales compensation and drivesales performance. Here is another related article.

Xactly Named World’s Best New Company by 2008 International Business Awards(SM)

Xactly Corporation took home theprestigious International Stevie(R) Award in The 2008 International BusinessAwards.

Sales Resource Group’s PlanIt solution earns finalist award at 2008 International Business Awards and for for Microsoft Bluesky Finalist.

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Popularity Burst

July 10, 2008

I’m not sure what is happening to my search engine ranking on Google, but it has been climbing very quickly over the past few weeks! Here are a few examples as of this afternoon:

  • Incentive Compensation: 10 (1st page!)
  • Sales Performance: 17
  • Enterprise Incentive Management: 20
  • Incentive On-Demand: 7
  • Incentive Offshoring: 2
  • Incentive Compensation Implementation: 1 (woohoo!)

And that’s not including all the vendor-specific keywords where I’m also ranking very well.

Thanks to everyone who kindly link to this blog. Your help in making it more visible is very appreciated. Please keep the comments, topic ideas and questions coming.

Julien

EIM Solution Maintainability – Should you care about this?

June 11, 2008

People often consider buying an Enterprise Incentive Management (EIM) solution based on several criteria including cost, performance, ease of implementation, support, etc. One factor that if often overlooked in my opinion is the system’s maintainability.

What is Maintainability?
ISO 9126 defines maintainability as the ease with which a software product can be modified in order to:

  • correct defects
  • meet new requirements
  • make future maintenance easier, or
  • cope with a changed environment

Why is Maintainability important?

The ability to modify a software system is obviously important for any type of system, but it is particularly important for an EIM solution. Why? Because compensation plans, organizational data, quotas, etc typically change at least once a year. Modifying this information is not a task equally easy to perform in all software packages.

How to find out if a EIM solution is maintainable?

Any vendor will say their solution is maintainable… only an opinion from an unbiased person with experience implementing the particular EIM solution will be able to give a true account of how easy it is to maintain the application.

Effective dating plays a big role in maintainability. Being able to modify the information at anytime, but with changes effective only at a certain date, is critical to maintain a system.

Another key aspect of maintainability to consider the impact of year end on the plans. Some of the important information to find out is:

  • Are the plans still going to work at year end?
  • If plans need to be modified, how big of a change is it?
  • How easy is it to modify the quotas?
  • What about the rate / lookup tables?
  • If formulas are embeded within the tables, do those need to be modified as well?
  • How easy is it to move people in different positions?
  • What do I do when people leave the company?

It is not atypical to see a somewhat complex logic which could be impacted by a simple change. For example, a formula referencing a table which contains another formula pointing to a quota. If the quota values can just be updated, it’s not a big deal. If a new quota needs to be created, then the formula will also need to be updated to reflect the new quota.

Another example is when an EIM solution needs to be able to handle last year’s orders at last year’s rates. Depending on the system, this could mean creating new rules, new formulas, new tables, new quotas, etc.

It may not all be about the Product

Implementing a software package is a bit like custom development. A quality architecture results in the possibility to re-use components. Some programming languages are easier to maintain than others; as we discussed, the same goes for EIM solutions. However, no matter how good a programming language, a bad programmer can make the maintenance a nightmare. A bad EIM implementation team can also make the system’s maintenance very hard, no matter how good the product is.

The bottom line:

Finding out the details about how maintainable an EIM solution is, is as important as finding out other characteristics such as how easy it is to implement it. You do not want to have to re-implement every plan every year; not only because it is time consuming, but also because major changes imply bigger risks.

The first part of the battle is to select an EIM solution which will make maintenance as painless as possible, but the battle is not won until the solution has been implemented properly.

Review of Centive Compel On-Demand EIM Solution

June 10, 2008

It has been a few weeks already since Sarah Carlisle, Director of Product Management and Bob Conlin, Chief Marketing Officer at Centive agreed to give me a detailed demonstration of Centive’s on-demand Sales Performance Management solution called Compel.


About Centive

Let’s talk about Centive for a moment: Centive has been around for a while; the company was founded in 1997 and originally focused on delivering on-premise Enterprise Incentive Management (EIM) solutions for very large companies. By 2004, Centive saw an opportunity to leverage the growing on-demand market and began developing the first on-demand sales compensation management solution – this time targeting mid-market companies. In May 2005, Centive released Compel. Shortly thereafter, they divested their original on-premise application business to ensure a focus on the on-demand market.

Compel Review
Compel is another leading on-demand EIM/SPM application with a value proposition almost identical to other applications and companies I have reviewed including Callidus, Varicent and Xactly. One nice aspect of Compel is that all its functionalities are bundled within the core application (no additional modules are required for reporting, modeling, analytics, etc.). Compel is a SAS70 Type II attested application and offers AppExchange-certified integration with SalesForce.com. Centive also has an OEM reseller agreement with ADP where Compel is sold as “ADP-ICM powered by Compel.”

Many companies like Adobe, Salary.com, McKesson, Cars.com and Sterling Commerce selected Compel to automate their sales compensation.

Compel Interface
There are 3 main “views” for Compel, each for a different type of user: the sales user view, the manager/executive view and the compensation administrator view. All views have one attribute in common: they are all very interactive. Any report or charts displayed will provide additional information when the cursor hovers over them. Clicking generally results in drilling down to get more detailed information.

Sales User
The main screen for the sales user displays at a glance all the information the salesperson needs to know. On the left portion of the dashboard they can see their total compensation, along with some details of how the total was derived. Clicking on the underlined amounts will result in showing more details.

The central portion of the screen represents in a graphical format their year-to-date total compensation, and analytics showing earnings and performance (sales vs. target) for each of their plan measures.

The bottom portion of the screen show alerts which can be either system generated or input by a business user, and more details on measure results.

Hovering over a graph displays additional information:

Drilling down from the Incentive Payment section shows information at the transaction level:

Another very interesting feature of the salesperson dashboard is the ability to display sale opportunities (from salesforce.com or other CRM/SFA systems) and the effect they have on the rep’s total compensation:

Manager View
The manager view has a very similar look and feel to the salesperson view, but displays information for the entire team:

Results can also be expanded to easily find details about how a transaction was commissioned:


Comp Admin View
This is where plans are created and configured.. Unlike other systems I have worked with, Compel abstracts the process of creating calculation and crediting rules through their Plan Builder wizard. Plans are created by defining and grouping the “Measures”by which reps will be compensated. First, the measure name, description, period, and type of measure is specified.

The next step consists in specifying what is being measured, and defining any filters (for example, exclude sales to existing customers):

The administrator just needs to choose the appropriate option and click on “Next” to the next configuration window.


Other systems have a component approach, and maintain a component library. In Compel you build measures. You can clone measures or plans, so if you need to build a new plan it is easy to clone an existing measure and re-use it as is or modify it using the plan builder wizard

Effective Dating:
I described effective dating when reviewing the latest version of Xactly Incent and discussed how critical effective dating is in my opinion. Centive uses effective dating for everything: people records, quotas, measures, plans, transactions, results, reports, etc . which makes its maintenance much easier. It also solves the difficult problem of handling prior period adjustments – Compel recognizes the crediting rules, roll-ups and structures that were in place at the time of the original transaction, and trues-up the adjustment to the current period.

The following plan builder screen capture shows how each plan uses effective dating:


Conclusion
I would probably need to work with Compel to make-up my mind about if I like the concept of how plans are built, since it is so different from the other applications I have seen. It’s very exciting to see a different way of thinking.

What I can say is that configuring a plan seems to be a very user-friendly step-by-step task. The user interfaces for sales people and managers are also very clean and display all the required information at a sight. Compel also seems to offer all the functionalities anyone could be looking for, and does so without the need to purchase additional modules.