This week we released the next major advancement in Xactly Connect™. I’m very proud of the team and the new capabilities and value that we’re bringing to market. However, as Xactly’s CTO, I’m even more proud of the commitment that we made to the underlying development and design of this solution and its open, standards-based approach. Xactly Connect addresses four things for customers that I’m always thinking about in terms of operating our own internal technology systems and ROI:
- Talent and Training
In this blog, I’ll explain why these issues are key priorities for IT organizations, and how Xactly Connect solves them. Because the way that vendors approach these issues can vary, it’s important to understand how any solution you choose for a primary business function addresses them. Adopting the wrong approach can impact your business success—as well as cause a lot of frustration for your IT team.
Talent and Training
When I assess any new system, I always consider the training and expertise needed to get it up and running. That time can represent a huge cost. Additionally, if you can’t easily find the right skill set to manage a system, you lose its benefit. A standards-based approach helps alleviate these problems. With a standards-based approach, there is broader familiarity with the technology; a larger pool of qualified applicants available to work with it; and a higher degree of integration with other solutions. With all of our solutions at Xactly, we want to fit into a customer’s existing environment—not the other way around. Using industry standard languages, protocols, and interfaces makes this possible. Learning a new protocol takes considerable time and effort for IT teams. This, in turn, makes implementation slower and fraught with more challenges. Xactly Connect uses an industry standard REST API and the most common and familiar database language: SQL. No SaaS application is an island. Data must get in and data must get out. Because Xactly Connect was architected as an open platform, it’s easy to pull data from and push data to virtually any business system.
Customers never want a black box to store their data. Even if you’re outsourcing management of a system or project to a systems integrator, IT still wants visibility to monitor and understand what’s happening with the data. If something goes wrong, you also want to be sure that there are logs or audit trails to see what happened when and by whom. Transparency is essential. Xactly Connect has always provided data and audit visibility, but we’ve taken transparency a step further by adding a new web UI. Purpose built to work with our Xactly incentive management systems, the Xactly Connect UI provides customers with a window and a door to interact directly with their data. Your IT team gets insight into everything the API is doing, as well as a complete audit trail.
Every CIO or CTO (myself included), has at some point in his or her career felt locked in by a solution or vendor. With self-implementation and hybrid options, Xactly Connect gives users full control over implementation and maintenance of their data and eliminates the single point of failure. If your IT team wants to self-implement data integration processes within Xactly Connect, they can do so. If you prefer to have Xactly or an SI manage data integration processes for you, we can do that, too. You can also choose a hybrid approach—perhaps using Xactly or an SI for initial implementation and managing ongoing changes internally, or another combination. The key point is that you can choose what works best for your organization. With whatever option you choose, you retain full control over your data.
Resiliency can be looked at from two lenses. First, you need to have the mechanisms and protections in place that help ensure the uptime of your systems. These can include things like retry logic and error codes. Xactly Connect includes a robust set of retry logic. With the richness of our error codes, we help the programmer understand what’s going on at all times. Secondly, transparency and control empower the user to be proactive in managing system resiliency.
The Right Approach Brings Peace of Mind
A large component of IT’s job is to protect the usability, reliability, and security of organizational data. With standards-based technology, you get peace of mind knowing that you won’t be held hostage with a solution or have a single point of failure. With transparency and control, you can see what’s happening with your data; have a path to make adjustments if needed, and greater influence to ensure system resiliency. These are all fundamental IT requirements. However, technologists don’t just think about technology. We also want to maximize the value of all internal systems for the benefit of the business. In today’s world, that means intelligence. Xactly’s domain of expertise is incentive compensation. Using that expertise, we’ve applied highly specialized intelligence within the Xactly Connect Platform. That intelligence works with Xactly’s “optimized data model” to provide organizations with enhanced functionality and value. In my next post, I’ll explore what an optimized data model really means from a practical business standpoint. Please stay tuned, and, if you don't get the Xactly blog, hit the subscribe button above.