The days of the custom-built, single instance, single tenant applications for Incentive and Recognition programs are waning. While these bespoke solutions have the advantage of achieving close to 100% fit to business needs, companies are finding that over time the maintenance and scaling costs are adding up and the technology begins to lag the market. As the custom-built applications age, they become increasingly more entangled and fragile – making change harder, more time consuming, riskier, and therefore costlier. It becomes harder to justify the spend required to modernize the application – either from a replacement or a costly re-engineering activity. Furthermore, as the environment ages, the sustain costs increase as a percentage of the overall budget.
Technology-Seekers are at a Crossroad
In general, companies are at key junctures on the road to performance and profits. Some businesses will opt to continue pursuing a custom solution path largely defined by a continuous search for incremental cost reductions in transitional areas and in traditional ways. The more innovative and forward-looking companies will rely on continued and careful stewardship over these traditional cost reduction efforts combined with a search for new ways of delivering and leveraging information services to both reduce costs and gain greater efficiency and performance.
Instead of relying on the historical custom solutions, companies are looking to purchase off-the-shelf, SAAS-based packaged solutions to run their incentive and recognition programs, viewing it as a self-service commodity software purchase and seeking to lower their total cost of ownership. However, for many medium to large sized enterprises with complex program rules and reward structures, less then perfectly clean data, a web of suppliers and vendors, and/or intricate employee and channel hierarchies, this approach can be fraught with potential pitfalls.
At One10, we are seeing our enterprise clients who venture into this product strategy experiencing issues such as incorrect/late reward payments/calculations, time consuming program set up and maintenance, less than motivating or confusing participant messaging, incomplete or missing reporting, and issues with time, cost and quality when launching programs. All of this adds up to sub-optimal program performance and a lack of trust in the system on the part of the participants. In addition, due to the inefficiencies and inflexibility of the product solutions, manual effort is needed to keep the programs running correctly and therefore these companies are not necessarily reaping their cost savings goals.
The Right Solution
The ideal solution for these medium to large size enterprises seeking to maximize performance by incenting their employees, supply chains and channel partners would be a powerful state of the art Incentive and Recognition platform which is configurable for a company’s branding, data management, program set up/management, reward payouts and associated reporting. But the software is not enough on its own to make these companies successful. Their complex program rules and payout structures necessitate a strategic partner who is not only a thought leader on the psychology of Incentives and Recognition and reward structures but also on the specific client’s industry vertical, data, hierarchical structure, business model and program rules. By bundling the software and the service, the companies are getting the best of all worlds – configurable, powerful automated programs and the subject matter experts to help set up and run them successfully. Substantiating this theory is the fact we are finding enterprise clients beginning to come back to One10 as their product purchase strategies are failing.
Advantages of a Platform over a Product
Often when it comes to Sales Incentives programs, medium to large sized companies view their specific programs and rules structures as giving them a competitive advantage. They may devise programs and rules structures that cannot be contemplated in any off-the-shelf product. This highlights another limitation in the product-based purchase when companies attempt to leverage these out of the box products with limited configuration options and no extensibility. At One10 we have found that clients with complex rules and requirements that are unique to the marketplace, have found that these needs are not contemplated in an off-the-shelf product they are selecting. Making the needed customizations time consuming and expensive. In addition, it is possible that the time and cost persist as the customizations need to be reapplied after each product release.
A better solution is a platform-based approach which is highly configurable but also expendable for all the unique requirements. As many companies view their exclusive requirements as differentiators in the marketplace, the custom layer on top of the platform reaps rewards in the long run.
What is a Company to do?
At One10, we believe the latest evolution of our PerformX platform solves for all these situations.
- First, it is a platform not an out of the box product, so it can be extended as needed to meet unique requirements without adding significant future integration costs.
- When warranted, PerformX can be bundled with the Incentive and Recognition thought leaders within One10 who have decades of experience designing, configuring and running complex incentive and recognition programs across many industries.
- At the core of our PerformX platform is a powerful, Rules Engine. At One10 we view the implementation of a rules engine as often more of an art than a science. The translation of desired business outcomes into rules often takes deep subject matter expertise. There can be too many options that when selected in certain combinations can create program rules that do not necessarily work together and have unintended consequences. With the right strategic partner, companies can have confidence that the rules configured into their programs will yield their desired business outcomes, pushing the organization to their performance goals.
Contact us to talk about how PerformX and our skilled staff can help you engage your employees, dealers, channel partners and customers.