Power of N: Empowering Users

In the previous post, we described how businesses need to be agile to keep their competitive advantage and drive value. The greatest value being achieved when the software is fully aligned with [...]

In the previous post, we described how businesses need to be agile to keep their competitive advantage and drive value. The greatest value being achieved when the software is fully aligned with the business process, both at the strategic and tactical levels. A central assumption in that value equation is that users are fully productive with the system. Software must empower the users. Any friction can dramatically reduce the value of the system, negating any expected value.


Power of NThe software industry is past the days of early adopters intrigued with the underlying technology living with clunky paradigms and interfaces. No longer do the users adapt to the system. What does it mean to empower users and motivate them to use the software to the fullest extent? The foundation for great business software is supported by three pillars: Usefulness, Goal Alignment, and Cognitive Alignment.

Pillars of Success

  • Usefulness It’s almost too obvious to state. Software should have the features that are required by the user to accomplish their goals. Any missing capabilities detracts from the system’s usefulness, causing the user to perform tasks outside the system or develop workarounds that slows them down. For the Revenue Management process, the core capabilities include pricing, contracting, incentives management, and ad-hoc analysis.
  • Goal Alignment While a Product Owner can define what features are required, that’s just the first step. The system must surface those capabilities in a way that facilitates the user towards their goal. In an effort to minimize development complexity and promote framework consistency, many business applications treat all scenarios similarly, usually fitting them into a “search for then edit document” pigeon-hole. Software can be much smarter by embedding an understanding of the user workflows. For example, a chargeback analyst needs to efficiently resolve any discrepancies in the chargebacks claimed by their wholesalers. Software that delights the user needs to draw from all the information in the system and guide the user. The system should proactively indicate what claims need attention separating data problems, such as incorrect IDs, from eligibility problems, such as missing membership, from contracting errors. Drawing on all the knowledge available, the system can enable the user to work swiftly and reliably.
  • Cognitive Alignment As computers have permeated all aspects of people’s lives, a new field of study has grown that has focused on building better computer interfaces for people, so called Human-Computer Interaction. Psychology and the understanding of human behavior plays a strong role in ensuring that users can interact with the system effectively. Is the information laid out on the screen in a way that the user understands? Does the system use terminology that the user expects? Can the user tell if fields are required or not? Does the user know how to resolve any potential error condition? Modern software companies, like Model N, build strong expertise in the cross-disciplinary field of User Experience. These UX teams work side-by-side with the Product Management teams defining the usefulness of the product and the Engineering teams building the product to ensure a strong cognitive alignment.

Pillars of Success

Software that successfully builds in these three characteristics empowers users, but can it motivate users as well? Tying into user motivations can take good software and make it great. Motivation, Daniel Pink argues, is driven through Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose (AMP). Business software is typically used heavily and user motivation can be significantly impacted by the tools and software they use.

  • Autonomy Users need to feel self-sufficient in the work they undertake. Simple tasks should not require complex skills. Adapting to a changing business should not require IT involvement. Great software thinks about the user holistically and adapts to their needs.
  • Mastery Users need to be able to grow to become experts in the system. The system must adapt and not treat them always as a novice. Multi-step wizards may give way to direct editing. Browsing and exploring may give way to searching. Great software should build in efficiencies for expert users whilst not complicating a beginner using the system for the first time.
  • Purpose Users need to know that what they do is important. Great software takes away the menial tasks and focuses the user on their goals that are aligned with the larger business processes and goals.The combination of empowerment and motivation cannot just arm users with the tools they need to be productive, but can also instill delight and passion. And passionate users are productive users.

Welcome to “Power of N”, a collection of blogs by John Ellithorpe, CTO of Model N. John’s series will give you an inside perspective on enterprise software and how Model N builds applications that solve our customers’ critical business needs. Power of N takes you behind the scenes for a look at what’s required in the applications that our customers use to realize exponential growth in revenue.

Monster Spreadsheet Pitfalls: Why Replace Excel with CPQ?

Lurking in your sales quoting process is the monster spreadsheet. It’s big, cumbersome and sometimes unruly. You’re team has been using this manual system to create quotes for so long now that [...]


Lurking in your sales quoting process is the monster spreadsheet. It’s big, cumbersome and sometimes unruly. You’re team has been using this manual system to create quotes for so long now that it’s hard to imagine doing it another way.

The Excel whiz that created your quoting spreadsheet system probably thinks it’s like a hand-built Ferrari engine. He is proud of it, but it’s admittedly complex. Of course this provides some job security because he is likely the only one who can maintain the monster. Your sales people may also be comfortable – very few people like change – even though the manual configure, price and quote process is time-draining and error-prone.

Maintaining the status quo, because your team is used to it, is not always what’s best for your business. Despite being the industry standard for spreadsheets, Excel has clear drawbacks when it comes to creating sales quotes. There are some things Excel simply can’t do for sales users.

1.Setting rules. Adding new rules can be a cumbersome process. The formulas and tables can be very confusing for someone who is not updating the spreadsheets daily. So, generally, a sales department relies on an Excel guru to administer the quoting system and maintain the rules. In many organizations it takes days and lots of testing to get new rules working correctly and to make sure the rest of the rules still work too.

2.Quote approval. A big pain point for many organizations is getting the quotes out the door. Because sales users need to gather information from disparate pricing sheets and input them into the quoting spreadsheets, the organization spends more time on quote approval. Did the rep use the latest pricing sheet? Did the rep correctly select the right combination of options and service plans? Is this a special price request that needs additional approvals? Manual quoting requires manual verification of accuracy and approvals that slow the process.

3.Scalability. As businesses grow, their product and service offerings grow with them. Thus, their quoting spreadsheets keep growing and growing. For complex products and recurring services, manual quoting eventually becomes impossible to sustain while delivering accurate quotes to prospects.

4.Maintenance. Relying on one Excel whiz to maintain your configure, price and quote spreadsheets is a disaster waiting to happen. If the whiz is unavailable or on vacation, then peers will likely struggle and may be unable to figure out the calculations or unlock the spreadsheet to make updates. There is also the risk that your organization may not be able to access your spreadsheets on shared network drives because they were accidentally deleted, not backed up, or the network drive was unavailable.

5.Real-time data. Another downside of the cumbersome, manual quoting process is that you can’t see your sales funnel. Sales managers have little or no visibility into the history of quotes that reps or channel partners send to prospects or what’s in the pipeline. Without some intense custom reporting and an individual dedicated to generating these reports on a regular schedule, you’ll be hard pressed to link your quotes with an opportunity, so you can see value of your deals today.

We understand that sales organizations and administrators can view their Excel system as a security blanket of sorts. But it’s this false sense of security that slows down your quoting process and puts deals at risk. Cloud-based CPQ software can liberate your sales team from the spreadsheet monster, so you can maximize the value of every sale, quickly.

Learn more about what you can do with automated CPQ solutions and how to capture more revenue faster.

Model N Global Price Management SaaS Solution Gains Momentum Within the Life Science Vertical

7 of the top 20 Pharmaceutical companies are customers of Revvy Global Price Management, a SaaS solution to manage prices globally Redwood City, CA – March 2, 2015 – Model N, Inc. (NYSE: [...]

revvygpm7 of the top 20 Pharmaceutical companies are customers of Revvy Global Price Management, a SaaS solution to manage prices globally

Redwood City, CA – March 2, 2015 – Model N, Inc. (NYSE: MODN), the leading revenue management solutions provider to the life science and technology industries, today announced that 7 of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies, including Gilead, are customers of Revvy Global Price Management (GPM), a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution to drive effective global pricing strategies.

With the recent addition of a Top 3 Pharmaceutical company to the roster, Revvy GPM customers represent over 2,000 seats in over 100 countries, supporting product portfolios that collectively generate over $100B in revenue.

Maximizing revenues and reducing price erosion is top of mind for Pharmaceutical executives and requires access to up-to-date global pricing data, improving cross-regional pricing collaboration and uncovering insights through historical and predictive analytics. Failing to manage and understand pricing on a global level can translate into revenue loss amounting to tens of millions of dollars. International Reference Pricing adds another layer of complexity. A price change in one country can dramatically lower the prices that government buyers are willing to pay in other countries, creating a geo-complexity for the Pharmaceutical CFO and can result in millions of dollars of annual losses and negative brand equity.

Model N Revvy Global Price Management (GPM) is the only enterprise-grade SaaS solution for the life science vertical focused on helping pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, and medical device companies maximize revenues by reducing price erosion and comply with global pricing regulations.

Built for international pricing and market access department leaders, the solution helps global pricing teams realize better prices throughout the product lifecycle, surfacing insights to execute revenue maximizing pricing strategies, and drive better business governance with unified pricing processes. It is the only global pricing, vertical specific, SaaS solution built on the Salesforce1 Platform that delivers enterprise-grade business continuity, collaboration, efficiency and work process flexibility.

“The life science industry continues to require an end-to-end, enterprise class solution to manage timely global pricing” said Zack Rinat, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Model N. “With pressures on price such as international referencing becoming more and more common both at launch and on an on-going basis, Global Price Management becomes a strategic imperative.”

About Model N’s Revvy Global Price Management

Revvy Global Price Management helps global manufacturers mitigate reference pricing risk and profitability erosion through a powerful combination of data management, SaaS applications, and best practices, including:

  • Global Pricing Database: Manage price lists, calendar of price events, fix rates, volume forecasts in a single global repository
  • Global Price Governance: Administer user roles and rights; manage approval routes; trigger alerts, acknowledgement or escalation
  • Rule Definitions and Calculations: Consolidate international reference pricing (IRP) rules — country baskets, formulas, timing, channel, formal/informal, etc.
  • Simulation Analytics and Reporting: Access price change impact reports and referencing country reports, create ad-hoc reports and charts
  • Launch Tracking and Optimization: Monitor launch preparedness and market access timelines, and identify best combinations of launch date and price in each country
  • Cloud Delivery and Mobile Access: Optimize time to value and reduce capital outlays through rapid cloud deployment; built on the force.com platform. Mobile application for on-the-go data access and price request approvals
About Model N

Model N is the leader in Revenue Management Cloud solutions. Model N helps its customers maximize their revenues by maximizing sell time, revenues per opportunity and number of opportunities. Model N Cloud solutions manage every dollar that impacts the customer’s top line and transforms the revenue lifecycle from a series of disjointed operations into a strategic end-to-end process. With deep industry expertise, Model N supports the unique business needs of life science and technology companies across more than 100 countries. Global customers include: Actavis, Allergan, Atmel, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Dell, Johnson & Johnson, Linear Technology, Merck, Marvell, Maxim, Micron, Nokia, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, ON Semiconductor, and STMicroelectronics. Learn more at: http://www.modeln.com. Model N is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol MODN.


Model N® is a registered trademark of Model N, Inc. Any other company names mentioned are the property of their respective owners and are mentioned for identification purposes only.

Additional Resources

White Paper: Define a Global Price Management and Market Access Strategy
Gilead and Model N Webinar: Effectiveness in Global, Regional and Market pricing
Website: Revvy Global Price Management

Infographic: International Reference Pricing 

Connect with Model N


Twitter (@ModelN)



Media Contact

Sara Black


Tel: 213.618.1501

Email: sara.black@grayling.com