Compel Manages Incentives

Incentive Systems Inc.'s Centive Compel hosted application gives companies an affordable way to manage their incentive-based sales compensation.

Incentive Systems Inc.s Centive Compel hosted application gives companies a way to manage their incentive-based sales compensation—without a six-figure investment in an incentive compensation management solution.

eWEEK Labs tests show Compel, priced starting at $70 per user per month, provides a good set of tools for managing sales plans, putting only the necessary tools in front of users with different roles.

Compel would be a good fit for companies with 50 to 500 sales representatives. The application allows for complex rules and can even be used to manage multitier selling, but the cost structure and plan tools arent as well-suited as an on-premise application would be for thousands of payees in multiple tiers.

Compel relies heavily on batch uploading of data from other systems, such as accounting or order management systems; Incentive Systems is working on an API that will allow tight integration with other systems, allowing it to scale.

Compel divides users into three categories: compensation analysts, who build the incentive plans; sales staff, who can see their own performance; and sales managers, who monitor sales-staff performance.

Compensation analysts deal with the most complex elements of the system, but we found that with a little training, the system can be easy to manage. We recommend companies take advantage of Incentive Systems training and consulting services to get up to speed.

The Compel interface is built on Adobe Systems Inc.s Macromedia Flex and delivers an experience thats more comparable to a dedicated client application than to a Web browser.

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For example, when we built a compensation plan using the plan wizard, some forms that the interface exposed expanded and contracted sections as we proceeded. Compel requires a Flash-enabled browser to run; we had no problem accessing the application with Microsoft Corp.s Internet Explorer and the Mozilla Foundations Firefox.

The interface exposes spreadsheetlike graphic elements to help compensation analysts quickly build plans. Analysts can model plans before deployment, clone plans to speed creation of new ones and use existing plans for new groups.

For sales staff and management, Compel presents data generated from the work of the analysts. For example, for sales staff, the home page presents a view of earnings based on attainment of sales goals, whether theyre financial or measure-driven.

Results can be mixed with opportunities and can be viewed compared with peers to determine if a salesperson is going to get a new Cadillac or set of steak knives.

Sales managers have middle-ground rights between analysts and sales staff, with the ability to see plan details, run plan models, and approve bonuses and commissions for staff.

In addition, managers are kept in the loop when a sales representative requests review of a given commission or bonus payout.

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