Effectively compensating sales staff can be a tricky proposition, particularly when managing large product sets, diverse incentives rules, and a disparate sales and distribution system.
Synygy Inc.s EIM (Enterprise Incentive Management) 10 gives larger companies a way to manage compensation while giving salespeople better transparency into their incentive pay. EIM 10, which began shipping in September, lets companies design and implement incentive plans on a single system.
eWEEK Labs tested a hosted version of Release 10. Because we didnt test the entire product, including integration with existing applications, we are not scoring the product as we would in a normal product review.
Overall, EIM works well, although at a significant cost. EIM is priced at $170 per user. Anyone who is paid using the software is considered a plan participant. EIM can be purchased as software, as a hosted service or as an outsourced application.
Although we found the product easy to use, it will require considerable training. The user interface could use improvements as well: Many of the screens share similar forms and views.
Designing, building, approving and managing incentive plans is no easy task, but EIMs Web-based interface gives companies a way to share and manage information that takes many headaches out of passing around and updating spreadsheets.
Companies that employ a system such as EIM will likely receive benefits from it soon after deployment—primarily a sales team that is not distracted by mistrust of the incentive process and improved visibility into how incentive plans actually influence the bottom line. Salespeople will no longer be spending their time verifying that theyve been paid properly, and managers can see the relationship between discounting and commissions on profits.
EIM offers broad data input support and a powerful way to build tables and relationships among them. From a design standpoint, the most powerful feature of EIM is its ability to create models within the product and test them without affecting pay. Once a company is comfortable that a model works, the model can then be copied into a compensation plan.
We also liked the products flexibility. We could create sales entities beyond individuals, including stores or distributors, that fit into a compensation program. This flexibility also extends to the allocation of plan credits, including the ability to create multiple credit dispersal options.
We found it easy to create complex compensation formulas from within the application. Systems that work can easily be duplicated and tweaked as business conditions change.
Credit allocation schemes can also be overridden for those inevitable situations where sales representatives need to be compensated for coming off the bench to close another teams sale.
We could manage rollups (payment structures that benefit others in the sales organization) within the management and sales structure as well.
EIM provides impressive graphical representation of plan elements, such as a canned report, within the system. The graphical representation provides iconic access to functions within the element, such as a form or data set, to quickly modify a given process. At times, we did get lost within a data view, however, because most forms rely on similar layouts and elements.
Most of the training required will be getting those unfamiliar with aspects of building compensation plans, such as the IT staff, up to speed on how application elements relate to managing compensation.
Security management is also good: The granularity in roles and permissions should keep confidential compensation information confidential.
EIM runs on Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition application servers and requires a SQL database on the back end. On the client side, some of the component applications, such as the earnings tool, require a Java viewer to view charts, graphs and tables.
Technical Analyst Michael Caton can be contacted at [email protected].