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IBM - New Business Intelligence Solution

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2018, Click to Enter The 2019 Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer Service

Company: IBM, Armonk, NY
Company Description: IBM is a values-based enterprise of individuals who create & apply technology to make the world work better. Today, more than 377,000 IBM employees around the world invent and integrate hardware, software and services to help forward-thinking enterprises, institutions and people succeed on a smarter planet.
Nomination Category: New Product & Service Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Business Intelligence Solution – New

Nomination Title: Holistic Incentive Plan Letter (IPL) Deployment Management System

Tell the story about this nominated product or service (up to 650 words). Describe its function, features, benefits, and sales to date:

We’ve had a growing problem for several years at IBM, where sales management and support teams were spending far too much time chasing status and data to know if we had completed all of the incentive cycle start up requirements to enable sellers to focus on what they do best - selling. But, if they don’t know what sales plan they are on, have an assigned quota and territory, then they can’t be effective sellers. Hence, the Watson Analytics Holistic Incentive Plan Letter Management system was implemented to be an integrated and automated solution to enable timely and accurate deployment of seller incentives plans.

Utilizing IBM Watson Analytics, global and geographic Watson storybooks and operational dashboards were deployed to support the management system for Seller Profile, Incentive Plan Letters, Territory deployment and the coverage alignment framework business unit guidance which enables sales executives to effectively complete all cycle start up requirements.

Watson Analytics is IBM’s smart data and visualization service on the cloud that helps just about anyone quickly discover patterns and meanings in their data. There are mainly two audiences positively impacted by the implementation of this end to end on-line management system: Some 200 sales executives/leaders and another 500 support team leaders and analysts in our Geographies and Centers of Excellence utilize these dashboards to manage the start-up cycle bi-annually. In total, this user group of nearly 700 individuals is providing direction and support to nearly 7,000 sales managers world-wide.

The Watson Analytics interface is a highly interactive and intuitive experience for sales leaders and executives that shows insights and focus areas required. The visualizations provide an immediate view of where they need to focus to complete all actions and therefore achieve their goals. The storybook increased a sales executive’s efficiency to complete all cycle start up requirements by providing 1) updates every three hours 2) detailed information down to the seller and 3) dynamic filtering by geography, business unit, and/or market(s). The sales leaders and executives no longer needed to rely on others to provide manually prepared detailed reports. The visuals show where they need to engage with their sales managers in order to complete critical deployment activities.

In addition to the Watson Analytics management system, we implemented robotics to streamline and show near real time updates as activities were completed. We can update 21 instances of dashboards behind the scenes with no human or manual involvement. This consolidated the reporting process as opposed to separate daily input from data providers. It also reduced the daily review and status updates from 1-2 hours to 30 minutes. The review meetings became more effective due to the level of insightful data. This enabled the team to go directly to problem areas rather than spending time on data preparation and explaining results contained in worksheets and presentations.

Some improvement data points:

-3Xs data update timeliness improvement
-90% reduction in time required for preparing the data for reviews and analysis
-75% reduction in time required to review the data
-5 to 16 points improvement in start-up completion time (varies by Geography)

Feedback from sales exec on dashboard:

Europe Global Market Sales Exec: “This is great, everything in one place and I know which managers have outstanding work to do….. I can even see the sellers impacted.”

Global Senior VP reacting to demo of Watson dashboard: “Glad to see we are using what we are selling. Love the recaps on one page….”