Ready, Aim… You already Fired? Ensuring Readiness before a Commissions Management Implementation

Boom! Fifteen feet off the mark, missing the shooting target by a long shot and inches away from injuring his now angry partner. This scenario wouldn’t be surprising if you knew the marksman didn’t bother to center the target in the line of sight before shooting (and he would be a fool). Any good marksman knows that careful preparation prior to pulling the trigger is the key to making that one shot count, which may be all you get. The same can be said for an organization planning to migrate from existing manual processes and technologies to new best-of-breed Incentive Compensation Management (ICM) solutions. A readiness assessment is a critical step before pulling the trigger to invest the time and money required for a system overhaul. Core to the success of a readiness assessment are two critical dimensions: 1) the three key pillars for assessment and 2) the three criteria measures to ultimately determine an organization’s readiness.

Three Pillars for Assessment

Ensuring Readiness before a Commissions Management ImplementationOrganizations typically hone in on solving the solution aspect while downplaying the impact that new incentive compensation technologies will have on the existing teams and processes. It is critical to consider the impact on people, process, and technology as these components hold weight in the ultimate attainment of the desired future state.

  • People: The people pillar includes the stakeholders in the organization impacted by the implementation of the new system. A good question to ask is, “Who will experience change in their daily routine if we touch the comp system?” This may encompass stakeholders ranging from executives, field sales and their management, and internal personnel in functional areas such as HR, finance, and IT.
  • Process: The process pillar includes the major processes involved with “business-as-usual” operations for the organization in terms of the processing and payout of incentive compensation. Many organizations change the technology, but keep the same methods, which may result in the same gaps and errors in the incentive compensation process.
  • Technology: The technology pillar includes consideration of the complexity of the technology landscape, including all the systems that will integrate with the ICM platform. It also takes into consideration data availability and reliability, which determines the ICM solution’s effectiveness. As is often said in the field, “Garbage in, garbage out.”

Three Criteria Measures

Before starting any major project there are basics to consider. For example, if you are building an outdoor kitchen for your home, you would consider how much change is required to transform the area, identify any areas of risk such as having to re-route gas lines or plumbing, and calculate the complexity of key changes to make your dream a reality. Likewise, when you set out to implement new software to manage the various aspects of your incentive compensation, three main criteria must be considered.

  • Change: This criterion measures the relative change required for migrating from the known current state to achieve the desired future state. For example, are you just upgrading the solution, replacing the ICM tool, or are you modifying the solution as part of a wider program of system change?
  • Risk: This criterion measures the consequential risk of implementing new technology to “business-as-usual” functions and performance, including how critical ICM is to business functioning. This criterion could include the scale of the impact of failures or delays in any part of the implementation process.
  • Challenge: This criterion measures the scale-of-the-change challenge, taking into account the complexity of change and an organization’s experience with successfully managing change.

Ready to pull the trigger?

Putting the criteria measures and pillars for assessment together requires a well thought-out approach to measuring change readiness. At OpenSymmetry, we employ the following methodology for a thorough readiness assessment prior to implementation:

  1. First, we execute a series of workshops with key stakeholders to understand the current level of readiness and the degree of change required to deliver ICM technology implementation.
  2. Then, we follow up with working sessions to uncover and identify key dependencies across the three pillars to ensure a complete understanding of the impact.
  3. Once the core workshops are complete, the final critical task is the identification of those key risks that need to be managed with potential mitigation strategies for each. These could include the development of a more effective change and communications approach, a data strategy, or a process redesign.

In my experience, seemingly successful ICM implementations often get bogged down at the finish line with “unexpected” issues that could have been addressed and headed off with proper change readiness assessments and viable mitigation plans. The unplanned delays created by these unexpected issues come with high associated costs, which impact both funding as well as stakeholder confidence. No project manager wants to be the one to explain to the executive sponsor that, for example, the field is not ready to adopt the solution because the transactional data file from the source system has issues due to unforeseen dependencies. If you are currently in the beginning stages of formally assessing your options, or if you have already selected a CallidusCloud solution and have your finger on the trigger, be sure to conduct a thorough change readiness assessment, and have a risk-mitigation plan for implementation success. Not sure where to start? Schedule a FREE two-hour workshop with CallidusCloud partner OpenSymmetry to get the conversation started about change readiness for an ICM implementation.

By Mark Ryberg | January 9th, 2017 | Commissions

About the Author: Mark Ryberg

Mark Ryberg

Mark is a seasoned business consultant with 23 years of experience, with a specific focus in the Sales Performance Management space for the last 14 years. Prior to Mark’s current role, he led the Implementation Services Team at OpenSymmetry for North America. With firsthand knowledge of challenging projects, Mark is prepared to tackle any kind of ICM implementation obstacle, whether changing course from a solution that doesn’t align with business needs or helping companies prepare for the go-live beyond just the technology considerations.