In the final part of this series, we are going to discuss centralization of ongoing IC operations and change management processes. In effect, a global Center of Excellence (CoE) is created to handle incentive compensation needs of the organization globally. The objectives are: to gain operational efficiency, remove variability in system deployment, provide best practice guidance from the center, and to reduce overall operations costs.
This aspect of centralization is most likely to have the greatest pushback amongst the three aspects considered in this series. Primarily this emanates from the feeling that it separates the IC administration from the local market and local leadership. This may also be perceived as lacking transparency and may impact field relations with local IC admin personnel. The preferable approach to tackle this aspect would be to create a global framework for management and governance of the operations and changes. This framework sets an operational paradigm within which each geography needs to manage their IC operations locally. It also embeds a healthy level of governance and rigour. This operational paradigm should include aspects like:
Operational Quality Framework
- Paradigm defining quality touchpoints
- Business Insights – trends, top & bottom performers etc
- Input data validation – Format of files, control totals etc.
- Constraint Checks – Range checks, month over month variations etc.
- Referential Integrity Checks – across files, with master dimensions etc.
- Process maps with clearly defined input, output, processing time and exception handling information
- Standard operating procedures (SOPs) describing activities necessary to run the processes successfully and to deliver desired outputs. This document should include all the information including any additional manual checks (QCs) that needs to be done on intermediate and final outputs. There should be clear roles and responsibilities (perhaps a RACI matrix) defined to avoid any confusion during the process run. There should also be provision to track ongoing processes along with some capability to provide sign-offs, auditing and approvals
- Issue tracking document highlighting various issues related to data, process and technology during monthly operations to track the health of the existing program.
Broader framework to communicate any changes to various stakeholders and with HQ. To make the operations guidelines effective, it is also important to incorporate certain design principles during system and process implementation. These design principles enable simplicity and ensure flexibility for any future changes.
Clear strategy and framework to account for various processing touchpoints like:
- Input receipt
- Data discrepancies
- Payment approval
- Field dispute resolution
- Process or data adjustments
- Output delivery
Field reporting requirements
– Modular & Visual reports
– Clear & Transparent Calculation flow
– Actionable Insights (IC Calculator)
Mandatory periodic reviews to provide opportunities to assess the health of the existing process and to suggest any future improvements
Operations data tracking with clearly defined KPIs number of issues each month (broken down by activities)
- Processing time for each activity
- Manual time
- Automated time
- Payment delays
- Number of field disputes / month
- Overpayment currency
- Underpayment currency
- Number of issues by type of input
- Time spent / month for changes
- Standard ticketing / documentation system with prioritization capability
- Protocol for change feasibility and impact analysis
- Change prioritization and implementation approval
- Standard for implementation
- Guidance on existing documentation changes
Such an approach which provides a broader operational framework but allows individual regions (where appropriate), and of course country affiliates to manage their own operations is more desirable.
In this approach, individual country affiliates are required to identify local process owners, define their responsibility matrix (RACI), perform IC plan administration using SOPs, act as a liaison for the local sales teams and take the lead with any queries including dispute resolution. They are also required to track operational KPIs and report them to the HQ.
This approach empowers the affiliates to take complete ownership of their IC program and results in better relationships between sales operations group and the sales team as well as with HQ. It also drives the sharing and adoption of best practice, process improvements, efficiencies and financial savings across the organization.
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