Managed Services: Part One –

You Have Purchased a New SPM Platform. How Do You Plan to Manage It?

As the Senior Director for Managed Services focused on Sales Performance Management (SPM), I work with companies that are looking to migrate their legacy incentive compensation systems (typically Excel or Access-based solutions) to “new world” enterprise SPM platforms. All too often, I see that once the new platform is purchased, most of the focus is on the configuration of the platform to meet business requirements. There is not enough emphasis placed on how the platform will be operated and maintained in normal operation. In addition, the changes require new internal processes to support the system. Without these additional steps, many companies will not realize the full ROI from the new platform.

To fully achieve the benefits of SPM, more focus should be placed on changing the internal processes that are required to use and operate the platform as soon as it’s deployed across the organization. Optimized internal processes are critical to ensuring the system will be effective. Once the new system is deployed, companies must be prepared to manage these processes (either in-house or through outsourcing), or they will likely encounter problems that could have been otherwise avoided. In the worst-case scenario, a successful implementation could become a failed solution.

I try to help organizations understand that system implementation is just the beginning of the legacy shift. They also have to evaluate and update their legacy processes in order to support the new implementation and achieve the full benefits and maximum ROI from it. Putting the right solution in place is not enough. You also have to establish the right processes to achieve your goals.

If you’re trying to decide between managing in-house or outsourcing, ask yourself these “post-deployment” questions during your planning stage:

  • Skills: Do we have the in-house expertise to support and manage the new platform? If not, can this be addressed by training? Will we be able to train/on-board new starters as we increase the size of our operations? Can we scale? Will we be able to deliver changes quickly to cope with our business requirements? Will we need ongoing support from an external provider?
  • Dependencies: Which teams within our organization will be involved in supporting the platform (e.g. IT, MIS)? Do we have a good relationship with these teams and can we depend on them? Do we have sufficient service level agreements in place to ensure we can meet our deliverables?
  • Support: If we have an incident in production how will it be supported? How dependable is the post-production support provided by the software vendor?
  • Costs: Do we know what the full cost of operating the system will be? Is it predictable?

If you have experience with transitioning your legacy incentive compensation practices to a present-day SPM platform, please share your experiences on what worked, and what didn’t. Or if you have other recommendations and questions — we’d love to know.