Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Varicent SPM 5.0 - Interview with Varicent

I know I said I would only present industry news once a week, but I wanted to take a moment to discuss the availability of Varicent’s SPM solution - SPM 5.0. I want to talk about this because I’ve received a few questions about it, and especially because following a good conversation with Kelley Kassa, Director of Corporate Communications and Rod Radojevic, Vice President Product Marketing I can offer a bit more information.

Varicent SPM 5.0 is its flagship solution managing incentive compensation and sales performance. As with every other SPM solutions on the market, the value proposition is clear; Varicent SPM can predict costs associated with new plans, reduce errors, save time, reduce dispute resolution and administrative time of sales professionals, etc. More importantly, it can help out addressing the gaps existing between different business areas and departments.
I had never seen Varicent SPM solution before this overview. It seems like most of the changes were done with the business user in mind.

One of the major changes in release 5.0 was the complete redesign of the user interface. The interface is very clean and has a non-technical feel. As you can see in the screen capture below, the bar graph almost looks as if it was hand-drawn. The menu also consists of well designed 3D icons which are pretty self-explanatory. The visual appearance of the interface gives it a very pleasing and non-intimidating look-and-feel.

A new module called Composer was also introduced to this release. Rod pointed out that this module makes it easy for business users to set-up, manage and show rules and data flows. This workspace can give insight over calculations, territory assignments, credits, adjustments, overlays and exceptions. Rod added that the workflow appearance of this workspace makes it non-intimidating for anyone to jump-in and review the system.

Composer is not the only module using workflows; a new workflow module can be used to represent plans, reports, web forms, and document signoff and inquiries.

I asked Rod what makes Varicent SPM different from its competitors. We talked about its open architecture, its web analytics and reporting capabilities, its flexibility, scalability, and robustness. Rod also mentioned how Varicent was the first product to be a complete SPM solution, but I've seen this claim made by most other companies.

In my opinion, one of the features of Varicent which I have not seen elsewhere (and maybe it does exist and I'm just not aware of it), is Varicent's mobility feature. Business users or comp professionals can access information such as the Payee Ledger and Inquiries via a mobile device such as a BlackBerry. This seems like something that could be useful for professionals and consultants who are frequently on-the-road, in meetings, or for those who must be available 24/7 to resolve issues. I can see a particular benefit for a feature like this, for companies choosing an on-premise solution (Varicent is available on-premise as well as on-demand). It seems like it's the start of a new trend, just last Friday I read an article about how SAP and RIM teamed up to bring native CRM to the BlackBerry.

Overall, Varicent SPM 5.0 appeared to be very user-friendly and flexible, and seems to offer everything I would expect from an SPM solution.

If you have any other questions, please send them to me and I will gladly get an answer for them.

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Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Julien Dionne is a well-rounded consultant with global business management experience and outstanding technical, business and leadership skills. He earned a Bachelor of Applied Science in Software Engineering from the University of Ottawa, Canada, and he is a member of the Canadian Professional Sales Association. The views posted within this blog do not reflect the views of Julien’s current or previous employers and clients. Julien can be reached at julien.dionne@gmail.com