• April 28, 2008
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

Analytics is Xactly What Sales Teams Need

On-demand sales performance management (SPM) provider Xactly today announced the pending availability of Xactly Analytics, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application that leverages the sales data already collected for compensation purposes and enables deeper understanding of business results and trends. Xactly spokespeople confirm that the new module will exit beta testing and become generally available the first week of June 2008.

Xactly Analytics provides unified views of key SPM metrics, including sales incentive analysis, product performance analysis, and sales performance analysis by sales team, product or region, according to the company. Upon subscription, customers' data residing within Xactly Incent is aggregated and made available through pre-built dashboards and reports. Users can also create ad-hoc reports and design automatic workflows triggered by key performance indicators. Xactly says updates to its Analytics product later this year will also leverage data from external sources, such as sales pipeline and expense management systems.

Xactly Analytics is designed around user personas, with different job levels and status as an information user or provider help define what reports are most useful to a given user, and who has access to what data. Such personas include sales management, regional sales management, finance, and sales operations users. "A sales VP, for example, would be able to immediately leverage metrics, such as progress to quota and target income trending over time, as well as gain visibility into the highest-margin deals and drill down for detailed, root-cause analysis," according to an example provided by Xactly. "A CFO, meanwhile, would be able to immediately view and analyze the roll-up results of the sales organization, graphically view commissions payments as a percentage of total sales over time, and gain visibility into sales performance metrics and commissions costs."

The addition of reporting analytics is welcome, according to at least one industry analyst. "With SaaS applications, in many cases, analytics comes later, but subscribers want better access to the information they're putting into the system," says Henry Morris, senior vice president of worldwide software and services research for analyst firm IDC. "I always thought business intelligence [BI] on demand would have difficulty taking off, since the application has to get its data from an outside source. But Xactly already has your data."

Morris notes that BI is still a hot topic, with ongoing consolidation among vendors. Additionally, economic worldwide economic worries mean Xactly Analytics will enable current Xactly customers to get more value out of their existing investment. Reporting combined with Xactly's modeling capabilities (present before the addition of the analytics package) lets businesses use their money more efficiently. "Part [of BI] is vision into trends, but at some point I have to make decisions based on those trends," Morris says. "That makes SCM an areas where it will pay to devote attention. Not just for sales or HR -- for finance."

Related articles:
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Compensation Management Pays Off in Performance
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Re:Tooling: Tech Solution: Sales Compensation Management
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Siebel Users Can Now Be Xactly Motivated
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Feature: Pay Day
You track your sales team's numbers -- and so does each member of the team. Here's what you need to know about the business of sales compensation, and how you can make it work for all of you.

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