New Bersin & Associates Report Shows Customer Success and Satisfaction With Talent Management Systems Highly Dependent on Vendors' Consulting Expertise

Friday, December 18, 2009 Corporate News
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Customers most satisfied with product functionality and performance;

OAKLAND, Calif., Dec. 17 -- Bersin & Associates, the only research and advisory firm focused solely on enterprise

learning, talent management, and talent acquisition, today announced the release of its latest research report, Talent Management Systems Customer Satisfaction 2010:  A Comprehensive Study of Customer Experience with Talent Management Systems.  The report, the first of an ongoing research program on systems satisfaction, focuses on identifying specific product, vendor and implementation factors that drive success.

According to Bersin & Associates, the talent management systems market is one of the fastest-growing areas of HR software, with more than 80 providers.  The overall market has grown to more than $3 billion in software and services in 2009; the company predicts it will grow at a rate of nearly 22 percent in 2010.  Acquisitions and partnerships are commonplace as providers look to add functionality, services, and market share.

The size and volatility of the market – combined with the similarity of offerings – creates challenges for buyers.  To help provide insight, Bersin & Associates analyzed customer experiences with these systems.  The research project found that a positive experience was the key determinant for overall implementation success and customer satisfaction.  Vendors' services and support – not product functionality – were the main contributors to satisfaction.    

"It is vitally important for buyers and vendors to look beyond product features to focus on total customer satisfaction," Bersin said.  "Ideally, vendors should partner with buyers and provide in-depth advice and services to help the implementation succeed.  In fact, this research found that the best features do not necessarily make the best solutions.  Buyers should spend time evaluating service, support, and implementation services with the same rigor they apply to evaluating the product itself.  Vendors should design their organizations so that they can deliver a complete solution and continuously evolve their products and services as customer needs mature."    

The 67 page report is based on research conducted during the fall of 2009 which included a comprehensive survey as well as interviews with more than 50 buyers and users of talent management systems. Approximately 500 individuals responded and provided information on more than 900 implementations. Respondents were asked to rate their vendor across 18 different satisfaction measures, ranging from the product's ease of use and configurability to the vendor's responsiveness and understanding of customer needs.

Other key findings of the research include:

  • Overall, buyers are moderately satisfied with their talent management systems.  However, this isn't a "home run" for vendors.  Nearly 40 percent of buyers are not sure they want to renew contracts and nearly one-third of the respondents are dissatisfied with their current vendors.  
  • Satisfaction varies widely depending on the vendor.  When the research examined vendor-by-vendor results, it found that certain vendors are consistently effective and others clearly struggle when it comes to building customer success.  
  • The single greatest area of satisfaction is with products' functional depth and performance.  New performance management systems, in particular, give companies features they never had before, such as top-to-bottom goal visibility, rapid and easy analysis of workgroup performance, and easy-to-use nine-box grids.
  • The single most frustrating area of customer satisfaction is integration with other HR systems.  Because talent management platforms are new, companies are almost always faced with the integration of these systems with existing applications as well as legacy HRMS implementations.
  • Small organizations are more satisfied with these systems than larger organizations.  Bersin & Associates attributes this finding to several factors.  Large organizations have highly complex needs and widely varying business processes, making it difficult for systems to meet all their requirements.  Large organizations have a plethora of legacy systems and processes to integrate with and demand global support and implementation services.  

Vendors named in survey responses include:  ADP, Authoria, Cornerstone OnDemand, Halogen, HRsmart, iCIMS, Kenexa, Lawson Software,, Meta4, Oracle/EBS, Oracle/PeopleSoft, Plateau Systems, Saba,, SilkRoad technologies, Softscape,  StepStone, SuccessFactors, SumTotal Systems, Taleo, Technomedia, and WatsonWyatt.

Talent Management Systems Customer Satisfaction 2010:  A Comprehensive Study of Customer Experience with Talent Management Systems is available at no cost to all Bersin & Associates research members.  The report is bundled with the recent study, Talent Management Systems 2010 which is available for $995.  For more details, go to

About Bersin & Associates

Bersin & Associates is the only research and advisory firm focused solely on research in enterprise learning, talent management, and talent acquisition.  The company's WhatWorks® membership program offers actionable guidance, improves operational effectiveness, and delivers business impact to companies in all industry segments.  

Bersin & Associates research members gain access to a comprehensive library of best practices, case studies, benchmarks, and in-depth market analyses designed to assist professionals in making fast and confident decisions.  Members also have direct access to analysts and a wide range of tested tools and models to address both strategic and day-to-day challenges.

More than 5,000 organizations worldwide have used Bersin & Associates' research and advisory services to guide talent and corporate learning strategies.  Research areas include planning and strategy, learning programs and delivery, talent management, leadership development and succession planning, talent acquisition, technology and infrastructure, informal learning, social networking, measurement and analytics.

For more information, go to or call 561 455 0622, extension 223.

Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link.

Josh Bersin

SOURCE Bersin & Associates


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