For many, the word “audit” brings a range of negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. But does it need to be that way? After all, an audit is essentially a diagnostic or check of the business processes and results that exist in a company. Hence, it should be viewed as essential to business success.

Before we joined Ironside’s consulting ranks, we went through multiple audits as compensation administrators and found that preparation and good software were essential to our success. Both the preparation and software are vital to providing auditors with what they love to see — namely, a record of activity. In the example shown below, the software being used provides key details of what changed in updated records. Read more

A recent Alexander Group survey showed 59 percent of participants reported quota setting as the top challenge among over 20 choices for their sales compensation program. Accenture research tells us that about 90 percent of companies leverage some quota-based incentives. Clearly, quota setting and management is a major focus for most sales teams. Read more

Squeaky wheels usually don’t go away; they just get louder.

Imagine you purchase a new car. The car is shiny and runs great, but after a year maybe there are few things you wish were different – the seat design could be more comfortable or the road noise is louder than you expected. Maybe you just bought the standard model. Now you wish you researched a bit more or requested a few more accessories. Or maybe in reality you just need a quick tune up. Read more

Continuing from where we left off in the last article, I wanted to go more in-depth on which incentive compensation management (ICM) reports you should start with as you begin moving toward a full-scale sales performance management (SPM) strategy. In my experience, ICM implementations include at minimum both a compensation statement containing high-level compensation information and a detail statement, also called an Individual Performance Report. Although the quality can vary, these two reports cover the immediate needs of an ICM system in which the primary goal is to calculate and pay variable compensation. Read more

Version 8.1.0 of IBM Cognos ICM, formerly Varicent, was released on Friday May 16th. It has become common practice to have approximately two major releases each year and several smaller releases between them. Updates roll out as needed between releases. The most important fact to remember is that the product is continuously improving to meet client needs. Enhancements start from two primary sources: implementers and business users requesting a product enhancement. Read more

While working as a Compensation Administrator, I used IBM Cognos ICM, a sales performance management software solution, to empower account executives to understand their compensation plan quickly, so they could get back to selling. The visualizations and rankings available in IBM Cognos ICM are excellent sales enablement tools for motivating individuals at all levels of a business. When leveraged correctly, these resources allow territory and channel managers to speed the production and delivery of scorecards and other reporting deliverables, leading to faster, more strategic decision making. Read more

compensation management pain points mazeWhether you are a Compensation Administrator, Account Executive, or Sales Manager, the process of paying people commissions and tracking their performance can be frustrating. I spent several years as an Administrator and worked with sales people, sales operations team members, executives, and many others. The following are the top 5 incentive compensation management pain points that I have discovered during those interactions: Read more

On April 13, 2012, IBM announced the acquisition of Varicent, a leading provider of sales performance management (SPM) and incentive compensation (IC) analytics software. The Ironside Group loves this move as it further sets IBM business analytics solutions apart from the pack. This acquisition is continued proof of IBM delivering on its strategic growth objective of expanding its analytics portfolio to help enable a “smarter planet”. When reviewing this acquisition, it appears the most quantifiable value proposition marketed is heavily weighted towards improving back-end sales operations; “reduce sales operations administration by 40-50%, reduce commission calculation and erroneous payments by 90+%, etc.” This article is going to focus on what I believe to be the real value of a commercial IC and SPM solution. Read more