I previously mentioned that I have been fortunate in that I have had the opportunity to work with a number of very knowledgeable people in the SPM space. Ritu Thakur is one of those people. (Follow this link to see her profile - http://www.linkedin.com/in/rituathakur). She has worked on several SPM implementations in high-tech and large financial institutions. We had an email exchange after my last Keys to Success post (see the Keys to Success tab)
She agreed with the idea of ensuring the the incentive compensation team is trained and put on the project early, but she talked about another huge benefit that I wanted to pass on.
In addition to all the benefits that you have listed, I wanted to add one additional benefit of your new Key to Success. While the implementers have a lot of best practice experience, they are not as close to the intricacies of the client data and processes. Despite the synergies across industries and function, there are always unique and specific requirements that can make or break a project. Hence, having the client participate in the implementation brings those key details to the implementation effort. It allows for an effective implementation, helps avoid gaps in design and reworking the project.
This makes a lot of sense, and just one more reason to ensure that your team has representation from the people who run the compensation process and know how it works at a very detailed basis.