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Quote of the Day

"Stick to the basics, hold on to your family and friends - they will never go out of fashion."

- Niki Taylor

Back to the Basics:
What To Look For and Why When Evaluating HR Software

(June 1, 2009) Whether you are currently in the market for HR software or have already chosen a vendor, you know the search for quality can be vast and confusing. From ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) to TAS (Talent Acquisition Systems), to TMS (Talent Management Systems), to HRMS (Human Resource Management Systems) you might have found yourself wondering, "What's the difference?" Well you're not alone.

Throughout the past decade or so, the HR software market has become increasingly crowded with similar software. As a consequence, consumers were left to base their purchases on the number of bells and whistles of a product. The problem with this decision making process came down the road when purchasers were left with a poor customer experience. More often than not, the user found the product to be lacking in at least one of five basic areas: Customer Service, Speed/Security, Ease of Use, Configurability, and the convenience of a Single Platform. It soon became very apparent that vendors were fighting on features, but failing on the fundamentals.

So Now What?
The "Back to the Basics" philosophy takes a step back to refocus the evaluation of HR software on the core tools required within any organization, not the "bells and whistles" that, while often implemented, are seldom used. So in this five part series we will take a look at the core fundamentals that serve as the backbone to your hiring and talent management initiatives.

These core areas include Customer Service, Speed/Security, Ease of Use, Configurability, and the convenience of a Single Platform.. Within this philosophy, the idea of turning less necessary system functionality into configurable options and creating the easiest-to-use and most flexible technology platform available on the market is emphasized. This vision, coupled with dedication to providing superior customer support can enable a superior customer experience.

Customer Service
The primary element of the "Back to the Basics" philosophy is customer service. What happens when you buy reliable, efficient software, but don't have the proper customer support to help you fully implement and adopt it? Even the best technology has little value unless users adopt it eagerly and enthusiastically through the help of multi-tiered support for its users.

A reliable customer service team must offer more than a FAQ page on the company's website; instead, a 24hour, M-F help desk should be offered as well as a dedicated account management team. From Implementation Managers to Client Relationship Managers to Subject Matter Experts, each support tier is critical in facilitating the use of the software. Whether you're currently in the market for HR software or evaluating your current platform, it's important to look at how your vendor treats customer service.

A superior vendor will offer an Implementation Manager (product expert) to work directly with you to ensure that the first, critical phase (software implementation) is handled professionally, on time, and to your satisfaction. After implementation a Client Relationship Manager should be readily available to oversee your account with a single goal in mind: 100% Customer Satisfaction.

The final tier should include a Subject Matter Expert, available 24 hours a day Monday through Friday, to answer your questions and concerns. Whether it's through a toll-free 800 number or by email, your vendor should guarantee direct access to a member of their team on the first call and in real time. Truly complete customer service should also consist of alternative sources for customer assistance including free training, weekly webinars, onsite training, video library training, etc. In the end, every size company should benefit from unlimited access to enterprise-level support.

Furthermore, training offerings need also be not straight off-the-shelf, but rather should be tailored around each organization's unique needs and preferences. Lastly, customer support should not be a costly add-on to your platform, full of hidden fees or limited access. It should come completely free with your service along with unlimited access to your customer support team.

Case Study
KIPP, the Knowledge is Power Program, is a national network of college-preparatory public schools with the aim of preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and in life. KIPP New Orleans, a supporting organization, is focused on helping the students in traditionally neglected communities of New Orleans build a strong culture of achievement. In order to accomplish this admirable goal, KIPP New Orleans looks to their talented pool of employees.

KIPP New Orleans needed a provider that could offer industry best practices and expertise, as many of their HR professionals were new to recruitment. The vendor they ultimately went with rose to the occasion: migrating job and candidate data into one centralized location, as well as providing meaningful and effective consultative services to help ensure recruiting success. Particularly for the KIPP employees new to recruiting, the vendor's dedicated Customer Support Team proved to be invaluable.

By providing Best Practices consulting and unwavering support, the new HR professionals were able to not only learn the system, but achieve overall recruiting success. For Soraya Verjee, a new recruiter, the vendors' Support Team made all the difference: "The fantastic team really helped me develop my recruitment skills! Whether it was my implementation manager sharing her knowledge of best- practices, or my client relationship manager answering any and all of my questions (whether it be system-related or just about recruitment in general), they was always there for me and eager to assist in whatever way they could." KIPP has found a great fit by choosing a HR software provider that focuses on the fundamentals, as their dedication to teaching and developing their students is mirrored by the vendors' commitment to providing superior customer support through training and consultation.

About iCIMS:
iCIMS, the third-largest provider of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) talent acquisition solutions along with Taleo (NASDAQ: TLEO) and Kenexa (NASDAQ: KNXA), is an Inc. 500 honoree focused on solving corporate business issues through the implementation of easy-to-use web-based software solutions. iCIMS' Talent Platform, the industry's premier Talent Platform, enables organizations to manage their entire talent lifecycle from applicant tracking through onboarding and beyond through a single web-based application.

With more than 700 clients worldwide, iCIMS is one of the largest and fastest-growing talent management system providers in the space. With the belief that a product is only as strong as the service behind it, iCIMS is committed to our ongoing pursuit of 100% customer satisfaction. This dedication to customer support and satisfaction has helped iCIMS maintain a near-perfect 97% client retention rate since 2003.

Our dedicated Customer Support teams lead the industry, receiving a perfect 4.0 out of 4.0 in a recent independent study, as well as a 9.5 out of 10 on our latest customer satisfaction survey. From hosting and migration services to Best Practices and consulting engagements, iCIMS provides the value-added support that many competing solution providers simply cannot offer. To learn more about how iCIMS can help your organization, visit or view a free online demo of the iCIMS Talent Platform at

Back to Basis, The Series
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

Colleen Gildea

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