Managed Services: Part Two – Core Processes

In my previous post (Part One), I spoke about the importance of planning for post-deployment when selecting and implementing a new sales performance management (SPM) platform. In today’s post, I will describe the core processes needed to support the end-to-end SPM process. These processes may be managed by a single team or multiple teams, which may be internal or external to your organization. Ensuring the effectiveness of these processes will depend on the expertise of your resources, so having the right people in the right place is critical for success.

Step one: Assess your technical operations.

While this might sound like an obvious place to start, many companies fail to effectively execute and manage their core technical processes. Technical operations involve all of the activities required to run and monitor your SPM platform and quickly fix any errors that arise. For example, loading data, running calculations, generating reports and monitoring all of these tasks requires people with the right skills to implement and maintain these processes. And that requires ongoing training and investment in your existing staff. You may also need to engage a third party to provide the required expertise.

As part of your technical assessment, make sure you have a well-defined support model to quickly resolve issues before they impact the business. In other words, what path does an issue take after it is first reported? Who is responsible for investigating the underlying causes and fixing the problem which may be functional, such as an incorrect payment, or technical, such as a slowly executing process? If a problem occurs with any of your processes, you have to identify the right people to address it, whether it’s an IT or an internal development team, the software vendor or an external team responsible for your configuration.

Step two: Review your business operations.

These processes typically involve standard compensation administration functions, such as reviewing and verifying system inputs (data) and outputs (results and payments), managing schedule and payment approval processes and updating compensation plans. If your system can’t automate the review and verification process for inbound data and outputs, then you should have a checklist of verification rules to ensure authorization every step of the way. For updates to plans and other system configuration, including reports and data feeds, determine if your resources have the skills and capacity to deliver a high quality of service.

Step three: Evaluate your sales channel and payee support process

This process contains the interaction and communication activities between your compensation administration function and the sales channels and payees. The main activities to consider are query management and dispute resolution, quota setting and plan communication.

Step four: Design and execute the strategy.

Companies everywhere talk about the importance of strategy, but few actually dedicate the time and resources to developing and executing strategic SPM initiatives. But strategy development is critical because it enables stakeholders to review the plan design and measure its effectiveness. As you go through the steps to assess your processes, be sure to keep what’s working well, but realize that not all of your existing processes will be transferred to the new system. Your strategy should weed out redundancy, identify new requirements and assign responsibility for the changes.

Now that we have identified the key processes and what to consider when implementing a new SPM platform, how long can you expect the rollout to take? The easy answer is it depends on your objectives and resources. But generally speaking, you can expect to implement and begin to realize ROI all within the first year after the system goes live. The ultimate goal is to create well-defined processes with clear responsibilities and agreements in place to ensure all relevant parties, such as internal teams, your software vendor and services providers, are working toward the same goal — a strategic SPM implementation that delivers exceptional business value.

Are you currently in the process of transitioning to an SPM platform? What have been your biggest challenges and benefits?