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The Ripple Effect: How Incentive Compensation Technology Can Empower Smart Decisions

Feb 16, 2021
3 min read
Technology is growing at a rapid rate, and so was our customer Databricks when they first implemented their first Xactly solution. Learn more about how they were able to harness scalable, automated compensation technology to help aid in their explosive growth.

Databricks, an enterprise leader in AI and data analytics, offers customers one unified platform to host all of their company’s digitized information. Their mission? To simplify and democratize data and AI in order to help data teams solve the world’s toughest problems—and they chose us to help them along the way.

Back in 2017, Databricks began to grow quickly, and the administrators at the time knew that spreadsheets would no longer suffice in managing the company’s sales compensation. They foresaw the exponential growth to come and quickly transitioned to Xactly Express in 2018. When 2020 rolled around and flipped the business world on its head, Databricks recognized the value in driving behavior through incentives for teams outside of direct sales roles—and brought its entire Business Development, Go-to-Market, and Value teams onto Xactly Incent.

Because of that addition to their business, Databricks was able to match its sales compensation program to its growth trajectory in order to prepare for all sales compensation changes necessary to drive the business forward.

We recently spoke to Databricks to talk about how they were able to ditch spreadsheets and grow with new incentive compensation initiatives using Xactly. Here’s a quick transcript of the interview with Databricks’ Juli Spagnuolo, Senior Manager of Global Sales Compensation, and Jan Cipriano, Senior Commissions Analyst, about their experience with rapid expansion and the need for scalable technology.

How Xactly and Databricks Collaborated to Manage Compensation Change:

Question 1:

Q: Traditionally, when people think of Incentive Compensation Management (ICM), they picture a person sitting behind a desk crunching numbers. What new doors have opened for your compensation admins since you’ve implemented your automated solution?

A: Juli Spagnuolo: “If you didn’t have a solution like Xactly you would be spending all your time doing calculations and just making payroll. With Xactly, you are freed up and can start to give insights to the business on top performers. You have access to more analytics versus just cranking a commission calculator. We are now able to provide the high-level data analytics our Finance team needs to make critical decisions.”

Q: At what point did you realize that manually calculating your company’s compensation was no longer feasible?

A: Juli Spagnulo: “As a company grows, you reach a point where you can no longer do it in Excel. It’s truly unmanageable. You NEED a solution that can grow and scale with your company. We’re more efficient at what we’re doing, and we have increased visibility into the data we need.”

Q: In what ways has Databricks reduced time spent on administering commissions after adopting an ICM solution?"

A: Juli Spagnulo: “Prior to Xactly, we used to have difficult reviews with our finance leaders that lasted hours. We didn’t have the system transparency to provide them all of the information they needed. Now, we have that data at our fingertips, and those meetings only last 20 minutes. No subjectiveness, no questions, no uneasiness. A big part of that is using Xactly.”

Q: There is much to be said about the human element in business success. What are the biggest changes you've seen across your team?

A: Jan Cipriano: “This visibility increased motivation, and employees were less distracted. The concern of getting paid improperly can be a huge distraction. Now that there’s less to worry about, our teams can focus on selling and the organizational goals at hand.”

Q: Since implementing Xactly Incent, what has been one additional benefit you’ve experienced that you weren’t originally expecting?

A: Jan Cipriano: “Finance leadership now comes to us to add context to the numbers. Commissions are the number one expense for most companies. Now, we’re able to add context to those numbers and paint a picture for all of our executives.”

Q: What factors played into your decision to select Xactly as your ICM partner?

A: Juli Spagnuolo: “We recently re-evaluated Xactly in comparison to its competitors, and are sticking with Xactly! I have used Xactly in several other companies, and I am a fan.”

How Databricks Achieved Positive Performance Gains Due to Scalability

With Xactly, Juli, Jan, and the entire Databricks team were able to automate their ICM processes, reducing payout errors, driving growth, and providing easy access to needed data.

With the right solution at such a pivotal point of expansion, Databricks was able to manage growth, scale, and respond to change quickly. The company stood out by managing to keep its positive momentum while making changes that accelerate its business. Since implementation, Databricks has been able to move away from purely tactical administration and elevate their admin roles to achieve a more strategic seat at the table.

Read more about Databrick's journey with Xactly in their full customer story, “A Partner in Sales Compensation Scalability: Xactly Supports Expansion for Hyper-Growth Startup Databricks.

  • Compensation
  • Customer Story
  • Incentive Compensation
Jordan Scott Headshot
Jordan Scott
Senior Manager, PR and Customer Communications

Jordan Scott is the Senior Manager of PR and Customer Communications at Xactly. She attended The University of California at Santa Cruz, and received degrees in Literature and Education.