Small and mid-sized businesses are often drawn to large vendors. But best known isn’t always best! Here’s how to find the best talent management company for your organization.
When leaders at small and mid-sized companies need new technologies – including talent management systems – they often have a long list of vendors, products, and solution sets to choose from. Market opinions can be nearly as varied, weighing in on features, point solutions versus platform technologies, price, customer service and so many other variables.
Too often, decision makers are automatically drawn to larger, well-known vendors. Perhaps stemming from the old adage that “Nobody gets fired for buying from IBM,” many believe that it’s safer to select a big company. Yet they do their organizations (and themselves) a disservice if they lock out less-recognized companies from serious consideration in their review and selection process. Here are six reasons a lesser-known talent management company may be the right fit for your organization.
ONE. Rich Feature Set
Larger companies typically sell platform solutions billed as having “robust” talent management capabilities in a single technology set. Yet most platforms are created from rolling up a variety of disparate products whose feature sets have been stripped down in order to bring an integrated solution to market. Such “all-in-one” platforms are more accurately considered “some-in-one” solutions.
By contrast, many boutique talent management companies offer innovative products and solutions based on a more focused area of expertise and functionality. Their technologies tend to include a richer feature set that better supports unique elements of customers’ talent management programs.
At Avilar, for example, our Web Mentor Skills™ competency management system has specific tools to address our federal government’s Office of Personnel Management competencies and a strong opening management module that makes it easy to use skills and competencies with job applicants.
TWO. Technical Agility
Smaller companies typically take great pride in their products, solutions, and customers. They are more apt to readily accept smaller projects and customer enhancement requests that larger organizations won’t pursue. And, their technical and customer experience is shared across a smaller workforce, so employees bring a shared knowledge base to each product enhancement and customer engagement.
As specialized, more agile vendors implement their products and solutions across industries and organizations, their teams become experts at helping organizations address a range of workforce issues. They are pros at tailoring the system to support each client’s requirements.
THREE. Speed to Visibility
Larger solution sets from bigger companies can be complex and time-consuming to implement. Proven processes will help step teams through the process, but if you have a pressing talent management need, you may not be able to wait.
Building on deep expertise and experience, boutique technology vendors are well-positioned to implement their products and solutions faster. Once the primary talent management problem or issue is identified, they know what data to collect and how to configure the system so users can quickly access the information and insights they need to inform business and workforce decision
FOUR. Data and Insights
While it’s true that the platform solutions so common in larger companies will often have a single shared database, the type of data collected and managed in the system may be limited. When one or more technologies are scaled back to create modules in a larger platform, flexible data fields are often among the first features to go.
Talent management data are the essential building blocks for workforce decisions. Our clients, for example, rely on current and historical competency data to discover trends, play out “what if” scenarios, and inform strategic planning decisions. If helpful, subsets of data can be exported into other HR systems while retaining the historical and detailed skills and competency data sets that executives, human resource leaders, and managers rely on.
FIVE. Operational Flexibility
Larger companies usually have rigid policies and contracts, with limited ability to accommodate preferences of their small and mid-sized customers. Longer contact periods limit customers’ opportunities to benchmark the market for capabilities, prices, and service levels.
Look to smaller vendors for flexibility in contract length and payment terms important to your organization.
SIX. Personal Touch
Boutique technology and services vendors are known for their responsiveness. Small and mid-sized customers can expect a higher level of attention from a smaller vendor than they might from a larger company with larger (and higher priority) customers.
Many smaller talent management company leaders build strong relationships with their customers and are willing to go the extra mile to serve them well. That attention to customer service usually extends across the organization, from the customer support function to the development team, to administration.
At Avilar and other agile talent management companies, customers have direct access to seasoned professionals (rather than junior account managers) who serve as expert advisors.
Of course, every talent management company, and system, is unique. It’s easy to make sweeping statements based on the company size, but not every company – or customer experience – will map to those trends or expectations. When you are selecting your next talent management technology solution, be sure that the smaller, astute companies are not excluded from your process. Take a hard look at what features, costs, expertise, experience, and level of customer support will best serve your organization. Then, consider a range of talent management companies to determine which is the best fit for your needs.
If your company is setting up a competency management program, read our white paper, Solving Workforce Issues Using a Competency-Based Approach for tips to get started. Or contact us to find out how Avilar’s WebMentor Skills™ competency management system could help.
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