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Micah Fairchild Excentive Compensation Management System Review

4 stars Average rating: 4 (from 56 votes)
 By Micah Fairchild

Excentive's Compensation Management Application—A Vendor Solution Brief

Headquartered in Fribourg, Switzerland, Excentive International is the fastest growing global compensation management software system vendor on the market. Built on the foundation of an enthusiastic customer base, supported by strong partners such as Microsoft, and financially backed by BNP Paribas, Excentive (which started in 2002) is one of the few HR software vendors that offer a total (comprehensive) compensation management application. While the company has only been in business for just shy of a decade, its initial success fueled the organization to expand worldwide in 2009 with a global software solution supported by offices throughout North America, Europe and the Middle East. This move netted the company a strong financial showing during the 2011 cycle and has pushed Excentive into what they have deemed as the second tier of their global approach: the tackling of the North American market for 2012.

Of course, as a point solution with eyes on a global market, Excentive has also reached out via strategic partnerships to tackle the issues that, while ancillary to compensation management, are nevertheless essential. These partnerships include:

  • Micropole – a leading specialist in France and Switzerland for business intelligence and e-business consulting, engineering, and training.
  • Umanis – a company providing problem solving technologies for business intelligence, customer relationship management, and e-business architecture adaptation, externalization, and full implementation.
  • Norse Solutions – the largest supplier of software and services for share-based compensation administration plans in the North- European region.
  • Sopra Group – a major European Consulting, Systems Integration, Application Outsourcing, and Applications Solutions company.
  • Business & Decision – a market leader in European business intelligence (BI).
  • Glenture – a consultant firm specializing in the design, development, and implementation of Incentive Compensation Management systems.
  • MCR Groupe - a self-proclaimed "creator of motivation" that specializes in implementing and consulting on variable compensation strategies through the venues of MCR Consultants, MCR Management, and MCR Patrimoine.
  • OpenSymmetry – an independent and specialized consulting firm focusing on Sales Performance Management (SPM) and Business Intelligence (BI).
  • LeapComp – a consulting boutique that focuses on sales performance and incentive compensation.

Excentive's Compensation Management Application Purpose

Excentive's flagship solution, the Excentive Compensation Cockpit (ECC) enables users to design compensation in a range from the macro-level of the total workforce down to the micro-level of specific line-of-business needs for sales and service. Excentive achieves this through compensation plans that cover merit, variable, and incentive compensation; as well as stock options and bonus management. However, the true star of the Excentive Compensation Cockpit is the compensation modeling environment, a strategic compensation tool that provides business rule and workflow flexibility to be able to handle multiple operational scenarios. Organizations reviewing Excentive will likely also be enticed by the company's salary review and equity management; software functions not typically seen in lesser systems but integral nonetheless. These capabilities allow for the delivery of compensation plans that are competitive (vs. market and competitors), equitable (based on local cultural and legal practices) and motivating (based on performance expectations). However, Excentive's solution also includes the following tactical and strategic functionalities:

Sales Performance: which features the benefits of:

  • Management of direct (internal) and indirect (external) sales channels
  • Target setting and quota management
  • Real-time performance management and simulation
  • Rule-based incentive calculation
  • Rule-based payment management
  • Real-time what-if scenario modeling and simulation
  • Dispute Management

Reporting and Analysis: which features the benefits of:

  • Web-based report libraries with dynamic criteria-based reports
  • Manager reports, end-user reports and administrator reports with email distribution
  • Intuitive Excel-based ad hoc reporting with drill-down and expansion
  • Self-service portal

Planning and Budgeting: which features the benefits of:

  • Headcount Planning
  • Salary Planning
  • Rule-based budget allocations
  • Manual budget adjustments with approval workflow
  • Scenario planning

Simulation, Modeling and What-if analysis: which features the benefits of:

  • Simulation of performance to analyze impact on compensation
  • Scenario modeling, with optimistic, realistic and pessimists assumptions
  • Rules modeling in specific sandboxes
  • Fast interaction thanks to OLAP technology and Excel interface

Excentive's Customer Target Market & Perfect Prospect Profile (PPP)

While no specific enterprise sizes or markets are targeted by Excentive, the robust compensation capabilities of the system are likely to be best utilized by organizations with globally-dispersed workforces or complex compensation issues. Further, by way of customer research, it's clear that Excentive plays extremely well in the public sector and public services vertical markets, as well as communication and media; manufacturing and resources, retail, and financial services. Marquis customers for Excentive's compensation software include: Stryker, Novartis, Pepsico, Turkcell, Telecom Italia, Orange, Groupama, and Mercedes.

Excentive's Technical Specs

Based on a Microsoft technology platform, Excentive's solution can be delivered on-premise or hosted as a service. Excentive Compensation Cockpit is developed on the Microsoft SQL 2008 R2 platform. ECC leverages SQL stack components and features strong Excel integration which has led to the company being selected by Microsoft to be a managed partner in Microsoft's ISV High-Potential partner program.

Transactions and data for the Excentive compensation software connect to most existing HR systems and provide: a standard data model fitting SAP HCM or Oracle's PeopleSoft (based on compensation management best practices); standard business objects, attributes and mapping routines; synchronization with HR software modules such as organizational management, Payroll, and HR Administration; and standard report capabilities.

Excentive Compensation Software Primary Competitors

Aside from Cornerstone OnDemand, Ultimate Software, and Saba who all have integrated compensation and talent management capabilities (a serious Excentive weakness), Excentive also competes with vendors solely dedicated to sales compensation management. Competitors within this market include Callidus Software, Merced Systems, as well as Xactly; however, Excentive often exceeds these vendors' feature set capabilities due its expansive scope outside of sales.

Strengths of Excentive's Compensation Management System

  • Excentive's unification of Performance and Compensation Management provides immediate (real-time) calibration analysis; appraisal collection and validation automation; and approvals that are fully integrated with the merit increase process.
  • The compensation system provides functionality for Sales Performance Management (SPM) and Employee Performance Management (EPM) on top of the application's compensation capabilities.
  • The Excentive Compensation Cockpit's access for employees (i.e. the personal dashboard that highlights objectives, results, and compensation) is best-in-class and provides an environment to ensure that competitive, equitable, and motivating plans are well understood by employees.

Weaknesses of Excentive's Compensation Management System

  • While Excentive does provide interoperability for performance and budgeting, broader talent management integration is currently weak or not available for the solution—a potentially damaging element for wider-scale adoption.
  • Though Excentive is hoping to change this through FY2012 efforts, the fact is that most U.S. companies are far from knowledgeable about this company's product—a brand deficiency that could impede market share and global progress.

Concluding Thoughts on Excentive Compensation Management Software

The Excentive application is an impressively robust solution that can offer the type of compensation management functionality few other vendors can match. More specifically, Excentive's Compensation Cockpit has the capabilities to help attract, motivate, and retain employees, while at the same time significantly improve the efficiency of an organization's performance management, budgeting, and efficacy processes. However, the challenge for point solutions such as ECC is that prospective customers are increasingly seeking broader HR software solutions that are fully-integrated, rather than piecemealed from a smattering of best-of-breed offerings.

While Excentive has the capabilities to deliver compensation simulations, planning activities, and analysis (thusly covering one of the broadest scopes of compensation available), the fact of the matter is that the solution is standalone and will undoubtedly require other systems to integrate with. Integration issues aside though, Excentive has a solution that begs a second look for any company in the midst of a compensation management software selection process. Indeed, as Ventana Research's Mark Smith puts it, "Excentive has a good opportunity to shake things up in the compensation application market. Organizations should consider its application and the successes of its customers as part of their own research". End

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Author  Author: Micah Fairchild
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Excentive's Compensation Cockpit (ECC) has the capabilities to help attract, motivate, and retain employees, while at the same time significantly improving the efficiency of an organization's performance management, budgeting, and efficacy processes.


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