Are Customers Satisfied with Talent Management Software? Find out.

As theCustomer Satisfaction talent management software industry continues to grow and mature, it is time to ask some critical questions.

How well do these systems really work? How well do they drive value? Do they meet customer expectations? And what can vendors, customers, and consultants do to create higher levels of satisfaction and ROI?

We will be answering these questions, and many more, in our upcoming industry study on this topic, Talent Management Systems: The Customer Experience®.  The research will be launched at the HR Technology Conference in Chicago on September 30, where Leighanne Levensaler will be presenting the findings.  (Please come join us.  Be sure to use the case-sensitive Promotion Code BERSIN when registering online to obtain a $470 discount.)

The purpose of this blog posting is to give you a sneak preview of a few of the findings and invite you to learn more.  (You can also listen to the just-recorded interview Leighanne Levensaler recently completed on the The Bill Kutik Radio Show®.)

Here are a few of the interesting findings from this research, which is baed on more than 450 respondents regarding over 750 different system implementations:

  • Customers are very realistic about the maturity and potential for this type of software, so on the whole they are fairly satisfied.   We believe this satisfaction is due to several factors:  first, their implementations are relatively new and many do not yet have broad deployments;  second, the SaaS model clearly delivers a more rapid and low cost implementation approach;  third, the vendors are actually doing a good job (on the whole) of delivering on the promises they make.
  • About half of the companies we interviewed would do more business with their current vendor, about a third are not sure, and about 15% said they would not do further business.  When asked whether they would extend their license contracts, respondents responded similarly.
  • One of the most important drivers of customer satisfaction is customer support and service (not feature richness or product capability).  This finding echos what we learned in our other customer satisfaction research:  customers do not expect everything to be perfect, but they do expect (and demand) help and support when things do not work right. (The issue of customer support and service, by the way, was one of the biggest differentiators in vendor-by-vendor results.) A critical part of customer service is a vendor’s ability to be a “business partner” to its clients, which we will explain further in the research and in Leighanne’s presentation.
  • On the product side, the two biggest challenges to success and satisfaction are configurability and reporting.  (Interestingly these are precisely the same two issues we identified in our LMS customer satisfaction research.)  These two areas are the most daunting to engineer and they also reflect a vendor’s ability to focus on a defined number of customer segments  – ie. industries, company sizes, geographies, and application areas.

This is highly compelling and useful research – for vendors, consultants, and buyers.  You can learn more about this research in three ways:

  1. You can come to the HR Technology Conference.  HR Technology ConferenceAt this event, you will have an opportunity to hear Leighanne’s presentation and meet with us.  You will also be able to witness the Second Annual Talent Management Shootout, which gives you a chance to see four vendor solutions in action back-to-back.   There are many other reasons to come, including the opportunity to listen to the analyst panel, view vendor and customer presentations, and meet a large number of other practitioners in our industry.
  2. You The Bill Kutik Radio Show listen to Leighanne’s interview with Bill Kutik on this topic, featured on the The Bill Kutik Radio Show.  It is a very interesting discussion, and it gives you a few more insights into how we do this research and what we discovered.
  3. You can wait for the published study which will be available in October.  Bersin & Associates Research Members automatically have access to the study, as well as follow-on webinars and forums.  If you’re not a member, you will have the option to purchase the study separately at our Research Store.

Overall this research shows a very positive trend in this market:  solution providers are delivering high value products (for the most part), buyers have realistic expectations of success, and while implementation of talent management tools is not at all easy, customers are slowly and surely developing successful implementations in every-growing areas of functionality.  I believe that the talent management software market, which we believe is over $2.2 Billion this year, is becoming one of the most important, high-value elements of an HR and L&D systems strategy for organizations of all sizes.