HomeKSO Administration Made Easy Using Editable Data Grids in IBM ICM

KSO Administration Made Easy Using Editable Data Grids in IBM ICM

Key Sales Objectives (KSO) are strategic in nature and must be included in the compensation plan for it to be overall effective. Traditional processes for administering KSO’s have been touch-heavy with too many low-value activities. As a result, many companies either shy away from incorporating KSOs, or manage it outside of their compensation tool.

Typical low-value activities include:

  • Duplicating setup in both spreadsheets and IBM ICM
  • Emailing spreadsheets
  • Revising naming conventions
  • Consolidating spreadsheets
  • Re-keying data into IBM ICM

The end result is a slow, highly manual process. 

Starting with version 8, IBM ICM has introduced a new feature that will help eliminate some low-value activities within the KSO creation process.  Editable data grids allow users to enter data into IBM ICM through the web portal.  Combined with existing features in presenter reports such as conditional formatting and data validation, a powerful tool can be created for the end-user.  Incorporating an editable presenter report into the KSO process will improve collaboration, decrease rework, improve speed and reduce administrative effort.     


Creating process efficiency

Streamlining processes can decrease turnaround time and reduce an organization's workload.  Sales and compensation professionals can benefit by evaluating the KSO process for potential improvements.  A way to create efficiency for stakeholders is to eliminate lower valued activities, allowing participants more time to focus on the more important action items. Typical low value activities include duplication, storage, transportation, approval, and inspection.

A hypothetical KSO process might look like the one illustrated in figure 1.

In this example, set up is duplicated in both Excel and IBM ICM.  Email/Excel serve as duplicate data storage.  Email is used to transport data and can be slow and inefficient.  Inspection activities like data revision and consolidation add time to the overall workflow and increase the administrative burden for compensation plans.


Figure 2 illustrates how introducing editable data grids into the KSO process can reduce low-value activities.

In this example IBM ICM is set up once, eliminating dual set-up in both Excel and IBM ICM; Direct data entry is enabled, eliminating consolidation; Collaboration is facilitated online, replacing lengthy email iterations.  In addition, data in the editable reports conforms to naming standards and expected ranges, reducing inspection time.  Lastly, turn-around time can be improved with reduced administrative support.


Editable Data Grids

An editable data grid in a presenter report ties the grid to a data source that sits on top of a table.  In tying the grid to the source table, an end user can create new rows or edit fields directly in the source table through the web portal.  Using the web portal allows developers to leverage existing access, web groups and web tabs, thereby reducing the implementation timeline.  Another significant plus in using this approach is the familiar interface for the end-user.  Allowing for direct data entry in a report requires less end-user training, thus reducing the transition time into a production environment. 

Within IBM ICM, there are two types of data sources that support different processes, and when implemented, allow the creation of editable data grids:

  • A standard data source which allows for existing data on a table to be modified and
  • A row form source which allows for new data to be added to a table in addition to modifying existing data.

 Consideration of the end-user process determines which type of source will be built.


Creating Editable Data Grids

Creating editable data grids is similar to creating non-editable data grids.   For both types, start by creating the presenter report (establishing layout, building pick lists and parameters).  Once the presenter report is created, the next step is to create the data source.  When creating the data source, specific selections must be made to enable editable data grids.From this point, adding data and editing data follow different paths. 


Creating a data source to edit existing data

In a standard data source, specific fields on a table can be toggled to be editable, enabling data edits, but adding new rows of data will not be allowed.  A benefit to this approach is that the data table can be joined to calculations, tables and parameters.  These features can bring essential, non-table data together with table data for the end-user and provide security around modifying only data within the user’s span of control.

Setup follows the normal convention for creating a data source as illustrated in figure 3.  


After creating the data source, the initial step of setting up an editable data source is identical to setting up a non-editable data source. The differences between the two start with Step 2, although visually, it looks the same as setting up a non-editable data source, as illustrated in figure 4 

When setting up the source, the table that houses the data to be edited must be the first source selected.  Additional tables, calculations and parameters can be added to create more robust reporting, but they cannot be edited in the data grid.  Steps 3 and 4 of the data source (columns and restrictions) are completed like the build of a non-editable data source.  Make sure that the columns that are to be edited are included during column selection.  After creating a data source, the next step is to build the data grid.


Data grid setup for an editable grid

Adding an editable data grid to a presenter report follows the same process as adding a non-editable data grid.  After placing the data grid within the layout, the first two steps for setting up the data grid are the same for non-editable data grids.  Creating editable columns on the report occurs during step 3.  Select a column that users will be able to edit and select the toggle editable selection in the drop down menu as illustrated in figure 5. 


Once selected, a check mark will appear in the drop down menu, and the display grid and preview section of the report will have a box around the editable fields.  This process is repeated for every column that is editable.  Note that hidden columns, calculated columns and any primary key field(s) cannot be made editable.


After establishing editable fields, step 4 (data validation) for the data grid wizard will appear, as illustrated in figure 6.


All the editable fields will be available in the column drop down list and these can be joined to parameters, values, or source items.  With numeric fields, this can be a useful tool to assure that users enter data within expected ranges.  For example, negative values are not allowed for volume goal (USD).  A validation rule can be created for Volume Goal (USD)  >= 0.  Multiple validation rules can be added for the same column restricting the data entry within a range.  For instance, relative weight must be between 0 and 100.  Two validation rules should be added for relative weight; the first for Relative weight >= 0 and a second for Relative weight <= 100.

The final steps for creating an editable data grid are the same as creating a non-editable data source.


Creating a row for source to allow data to be added to a table

Row form sources have the benefit of enabling an end-user to insert a data row on the table.  In addition to allowing new rows, row forms can also be configured to allow the user to edit any existing fields not included in the primary key on the table. Row forms allow joins to parameters, but do not allow joins to calculations or additional tables. These limitations are important considerations when setting up the data grid.

Setup of a row form source follows a different process, as illustrated in figure 7.


Another difference in setting up a row form source can be seen during step 2 (sources) of the setup.  IBM ICM limits the selection to tables in the model.  Only one table can be selected, as illustrated in figure 8.


After selecting the sources, build out the columns and restrictions.   During step 3 (columns), primary key fields will be listed automatically.  Make sure that any columns that need to be added or edited are included in the list.  During step 4 (restrictions), joins to parameters or values in the presenter report can be enabled.  Using the restrictions can provide security on rows that can be edited by the user.


Data grid setup for a row form data source

After completing the row form data source, the next step is to add a data grid to the presenter report.  Adding a row form data grid to a presenter report, along with steps 1-2 of the data grid setup, follows the same process as setting up a non-editable data grid.  Limited joins on the row form data source may influence design choices.  In some cases security can be established with table data and parameters.  If so, that would support the creation of one grid with an input row and allow edits to exiting rows on the table.  In other cases, joining to calculations may be required to establish security.  To accomplish this, two grids can be created; a data grid pointing to a row form source with an input only row for the addition of new data, and a second data grid with editable columns pointing to a standard data source with the joins to calculations or external tables.  Starting in step 3 of the data grid wizard, different choices are selected depending on the process.  When security allows for editing table data, step 3 of the row form data grid is completed, as illustrated in figure 5 of the data grid setup for a standard data source.  If an input only row is created, it does not require toggling editable fields in step 3. 

Setting up the type of input process is done in the top section of Step 4 as illustrated in figure 9.


IBM ICM will default to a fully editable table with the input row at the bottom of the grid.  To create an input only row, check the display only input row box.  For a fully editable, the location of the input row can be moved to the top using the radio button. 


Additional input row controls can also be selected during step 4 to improve the end user experience and reduce data entry errors.  These controls can:

  • Pre-populate data with parameters,
  • control the display properties of the pick lists,
  • manage data entry within expected ranges and
  • limit values within the pick lists. 

These additional controls are illustrated in figure 10.



Using the local column, fields can be pre-populated with parameter values, making data entry more user friendly.  In addition, hidden fields can also be loaded with parameter data that will load to the table. For example, tracking the creation date of the objective may be important for auditing purposes. Tagging the record with a date can be completed using the system date and a hidden field. 


“Configure" is available for any pick list in the underlying table.  Using this control will allow the pick list to display the names or descriptions instead of the id, thereby improving the end user experience. 

 “Validation” can also be applied to the input row in order to help manage data entry within expected ranges.  


Lastly, filters can be applied to the pick lists and tied to parameters in order to assist end users during data entry.  For example, a structural table may include old KSOs no longer relevant to the current plan.  Tying the filter to an active/inactive flag on the structural table can help manage the list for the end user so that they can only add active KSO.


The final steps for setting up a row form data source are the same steps as setting up a non-editable data source.


Tying in additional presenter report features

Other presenter report features can be added to create powerful tools in the hands of end users.  By including calculated columns, conditional formatting, instructions and pick lists, the accuracy of initial data entry can be improved greatly, resulting in less inspection from compensation administrators.



Introducing editable data grids into a KSO process can help streamline the process by removing low-valued activities such as:

  • Duplicate set-up
  • Emailing/Managing spreadsheets
  • Correcting text
  • Re-keying data
  • Consolidation

Starting with version 8 of IBM ICM, there are two types of editable data grids available to support direct entry of data:

  • Adding new data – row form data source and data grid
  • Editing existing data – editable data source and data grid

Security and span of control influence the choice of which grids to add.  Fortunately, presenter reports are flexible enough to allow multiple data entry grids on the same form. While set up of the data sources and grids have many similarities to setting up non-editable data grids, each setup has distinct features that when utilized, can improve the quality of data entry or data edits.

In combining editable data grids with instructions, data validation, and conditional formatting, powerful presenter reports can be created for the end user, enabling the submission of error free KSOs in line with compensation guidelines.  Introducing editable data grids into the KSO process can reduce administrative support and improve turn-around time.


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This article is authored by a team of IBM ICM Professionals at Spectrum Technologies LLC. For further information on this topic, please reach us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or visit us at www.spectrumbiztech.com