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How Focus Drives Innovation at BetterComp

One of my favorite stops in my career was the 3-ish years I spent at Workday. I was employee #764 (and I have the coffee mug to prove it!). While I was there, we went through a successful IPO and grew to over 3,000 employees when I left. I wasn’t a huge part of Workday’s success in any way shape or form, but I took away a series of valuable learnings.

One key take-away was the importance of focus. At Workday, we called it “The Power of One” - all of our resources went into one version of Workday, one version that every customer used, only one set of code to maintain.


Contrast that with our competitors who had grown by acquisition - a customer running Oracle couldn’t talk to a customer running PeopleSoft and really get anywhere. From a product development perspective, any feature built for a PeopleSoft customer did absolutely zero for any Oracle customer and vice versa. Any innovation that was developed would only help some of the customers. 

Now it seems that legacy comp technology is going down the same path as Oracle - multiple products, with multiple support options, multiple roadmaps, multiple data sets. Customers running one product don’t get any updates to any other product (not that there are many updates anymore).

Focused and Deep vs. Scattered and Shallow

At BetterComp, it’s important that all of our customers benefit from the innovation we’re creating with the BetterComp platform. Our product strategy is built on the idea that market pricing has long been too manual and too cumbersome and it’s only through innovation that we can move the industry forward. Splitting innovation across multiple products wouldn’t let us move fast enough to keep up with changing business conditions. 

Part of the inspiration for this type of focus stems not just from my time at Workday but also something Jim Collins calls out in his seminal business book, Good to Great

He calls it the “hedgehog concept” in reference to the fable of the Fox and the Hedgehog. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the nuts and bolts of the story are as follows: 

A fox sees a hedgehog and decides that said hedgehog would make a delicious snack. The fox tries over and over, with increasingly complex methodology, to eat the hedgehog, but each time the hedgehog curls up in a spikey ball and the fox can’t eat it. The idea is that while the fox knows a lot of things, the hedgehog knows one perfectly.

In Collins’ book, he equates the hedgehog to successful companies that are built around one clear, easily stated idea. Our take on this is focusing on one product to drive innovation to make market pricing Better. 

In practice, this means several things.

1. Our customers drive the direction of our product. 

We are committed to listening and working with our users to adapt our product in ways that bring real value to their day-to-day. A lot of comp software is bogged down with “nice to haves” that maybe look flashy but don’t get used or don’t address a core customer need. Conversely, when we roll out new features, our team focuses on making sure customers are aware of all the new features through our white-glove support model and that those updates actually move the needle for the comp teams who rely on our software.

2. Our customers get access to updates and new features as soon as they’re ready. 

We’re not splitting our customer base and only giving access to people who are on one product. Every BetterComp customer gets access to every feature. Always.

3. We leverage partnerships to bring our customers comprehensive solutions.

Our expertise is in market pricing, but comp and HR teams need a wide array of solutions to cover things like pay equity, payroll management, benefits, and job description management - not to mention accessing market data. Since we don’t believe in offering our customers mediocrity, we work with carefully vetted partners who are the best at what they do to support these needs. Partners like JDXpert (job descriptions), Syndio (pay equity), and Decusoft (employee compensation management) all collaborate with the BetterComp team to answer the varied needs of our customers.

And, when it comes to data, because we are a data-agnostic platform, we work closely with all the premier market survey providers to identify and bring customers the data they need. Our partners include Aon, Mercer, WTW, and Culpepper - and we have relationships with many other survey vendors to support our customers' data needs.

Building a Better Customer Experience

As a result of this focus, our customers see more innovation on a faster timeline. For example, we’ve worked with our customers to help drive market pricing at scale and partnered with both customers and survey data providers to support access to survey data in under 24 hours - up to 9 days faster than legacy provider’s SLAs.

Want to see how our focus on a Better market pricing software can make a difference for you? Book a demo with us today.