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See what the best talent management software is for you

The best talent management software is the one that fits your company's needs. We look at some of the top vendors in the talent management market to help you decide.

As HR departments reinvent themselves and companies start to recognize that it is critical to aggressively pursue highly sought-for talent in the marketplace and to develop and retain their own internal talent, the demand for the best talent management software and workforce analytics has soared.

The demand has created an assortment of vendors with talent management software offerings. Almost all have similarly stated goals of providing their clients with talent management software that can manage the end-to-end talent management lifecycle. We've compiled a list of some of the leading players in the talent management industry to help you decide what the best talent management software is for you.

Editor's note

Using extensive research into the talent management software industry, TechTarget editors focused on vendors that offered modules that covered all five pillars of talent management software: recruitment and onboarding, performance management, succession planning, learning and development, and compensation management. Vendors also needed to represent the top 80% of the market. Our research included reports from Gartner, Forrester and data from TechTarget surveys.

Because vendors offer similar features and deployment options, it's challenging for organizations searching for talent management software to decide which is best. Despite this situation, there are key elements that differentiate one talent management system from another that you can use to find the best talent management software for your company. Here are several factors to consider.

Integration versus specialization: Many vendors offer talent management as a module that is part of their larger human capital management (HCM) suite or human resources information system (HRIS). The advantage of this is the talent management module is already tightly integrated with the other functional areas of your HR system, so workflows cross systems smoothly.

The opposite of this is talent management software that is offered as a stand-alone system, with looser integration capability with other commercial packages. The advantage here is a stand-alone talent management vendor also has the advantage of focused expertise on talent management that often exceeds that of vendors who offer talent management modules in an HCM suite.

Vendor culture: The relationship you have with the talent management vendor is important, as well. Consider the type of support the vendor offers, the types service-level agreements (SLAs) it has and its response time in case of an issue. Do your research to see if there is any plan for that company to merge with or be acquired by another vendor, as such a deal could greatly affect the software or SLAs.

The right fit and feel for your organization: Almost every talent management software vendor has an online demo in which you and your business users can participate. The reason this is important is talent management functions and features are pretty common from vendor to vendor, but the look and the feel of the software isn't. The best talent management software will be the one with the best user experience for your employees.

Here are the leading talent management software products.

Cornerstone OnDemand

Cornerstone OnDemand's talent management software includes a wide range of products that help organizations realize the potential of their workforce. Cornerstone OnDemand's talent management products enable organizations to bring all phases of the employee lifecycle under one platform.

Because vendors offer similar features and deployment options, it's challenging for organizations searching for talent management software to decide which is best.

The five pillars of talent management: Cornerstone OnDemand's talent management platform is broken up into four suites with several products in each. A recruiting suite is comprised of standard recruiting, campus recruiting and employee onboarding. There is a learning suite that includes learning management, social media, predictive analytics and collaborative learning, which enables interactions between employees across the organization. A performance suite includes performance management, succession, visualization tools and compensation management tools. The fourth suite, HR, includes human resource management, planning, visualization tools, and tools that benchmark and track employee performance.

Cornerstone OnDemand's talent management software scales to companies of all sizes, from small businesses to midsize companies and large enterprises.

Integration and deployment: The software is part of a larger HCM or HRIS system, and it includes a mobile app for end users. A SaaS-based company, Cornerstone OnDemand uses "versionless" software that is continuously updated with new features and functionality that is pushed out to clients on a quarterly basis. The software comes with a user-friendly interface and employs single sign-on to increase usage and security.

Pricing and support: The SaaS subscription licensing model is priced at a per-company basis, and it offers a variety of services from implementation to consultative services, priced at a per-service basis.

IBM Kenexa

IBM Kenexa talent management's focus is on employee acquisition, development and engagement. It also gives users access to IBM Watson as a talent management analytics engine.

The five pillars of talent management: IBM Kenexa is an integrated talent management system that is comprised of modules that capture the five pillars of talent management. The talent acquisition module does applicant engagement and tracking, streamlines employee onboarding and provides analytics into the application process. The learning and development system features a social learning management system and a library of subject-matter content. Workforce analytics provides predictive workforce data, with the ability to share results with employees. Finally, there are performance management features that include engagement surveys and assessment software.

Integration and deployment: IBM Kenexa is not part of a larger HCM or HRIS system. IBM offers Kenexa in the cloud on a subscription basis. In 2016, the company redesigned the Kenexa BrassRing applicant-tracking feature in the IBM Kenexa Talent Acquisition Suite to offer mobile apps to users. This enhances software usability.

Pricing and support: IBM Kenexa is sold through IBM and also through its business partners.

After IBM completed the acquisition of Kenexa in December 2012, it began transitioning Kenexa customers over to IBM support in 2015. During the transition, the support services IBM offers Kenexa clients are based on customers' previous support agreements with Kenexa. IBM offers both trial and demo opportunities on IBM Kenexa in the cloud.

Oracle

Oracle Talent Management Cloud manages the entire talent lifecycle, allowing you to review and analyze what talent you have, nurture and retain important skills, close talent gaps by either sourcing new talent or providing learning programs, coach employees to attain their goals and improve performance, reward talent, provide career opportunities to retain talent, conduct talent reviews and plan ahead for successions to optimize bench strength.

The five pillars of talent management: The product provides capabilities such as recruitment and onboarding, learning and development, performance management, compensation management, and succession planning. This is done through various modules, like Oracle Talent Acquisition and Oracle's Learning Cloud, to name a few.

Oracle Talent Management Cloud supports companies of all sizes, industries and geographies.

Integration and deployment: Oracle Talent Management Cloud is part of a larger cloud HCM -- Oracle HCM Cloud -- and can be deployed either on premises or in the cloud. Oracle offers both private and public cloud deployment options, and end users also have mobile app access.

Pricing and support: Companies have some flexibility to mix and match Oracle Talent Management Cloud modules; however, if they want the Learning module, they must also be running one of the Global Human Resources, Talent Management Base, Goal Management or Performance Management modules. If the module selected is Goal Management, Performance Management, Career Development and Talent Review and Succession, they must also use either Global Human Resources or Talent Management Base.

Pricing for the Learning, Goal Management and Performance Management modules are $2 per user, per month. Career Management and Talent Review and Succession are $1 per user, per month. The Talent Acquisition module of Oracle Talent Management is $5 per user, per month.

There are three levels of customer support that client may subscribe to: the Premier Support package, Advanced Customer Support or Oracle Platinum Services. Premier offers 24/7 access to Oracle experts and tools with a lifetime commitment. On top of those services, Advanced Customer Support provides a technical account manager and dedicated team of support engineers who work on site or remotely. Adding to those services is the support that comes along with Oracle Platinum Services, which provides 24/7 remote fault monitoring, five-minute fault notification, 15-minute restoration and automated patch deployment.

Saba and Halogen

In May 2017, Saba acquired Halogen Software, becoming one of the premier companies known for an exclusive focus on talent management.

The five pillars of talent management: The Saba talent management portfolio is comprehensive. Saba covers learning management, employee engagement, performance management, recruiting and workforce planning. Additionally, the software provides predictive analytics that help employees learn about themselves and help HR to identify strong internal candidates for open positions.

Integration and deployment: Saba and Halogen are not part of a larger HRM or HRIS system.

The talent management system is a cloud-based offering that provides pricing on a per-customer basis. The company boasts 2,200 customers across 195 countries, and it's used by SMBs and enterprises. Integrating with a new Halogen mobile app, Saba can now deliver anywhere, anytime coaching and feedback.

Pricing and support: Saba offers 24 /7 year-round multilingual phone and web support. It also has an online support portal and support community. Saba offers a personal account manager who is assigned to your account for 30 days after your system has been implemented.

Saba offers a free demo of its talent management software.

SAP

SAP SuccessFactors talent management suite provides businesses unified talent management. SAP SuccessFactors helps HR and business leaders by digitally transforming how they attract, develop and retain top talent. Additionally, the suite helps HR manage across all worker types -- full time and contingent -- not only across all talent processes, but also across key content development, including skill and competency libraries, job descriptions, goal catalogs, as well as legal and writing and coaching content.

SAP SuccessFactors talent management suite includes core talent capabilities for performance management, compensation, learning and training, succession and development planning, and recruiting and onboarding.

The product is scalable for companies of all sizes and in all industries around the globe.

Integration and deployment: Since SAP SuccessFactors is cloud-based, it uses a continuous release approach to its software, automatically giving clients the latest version. The integrated talent management suite is part of the wider SAP SuccessFactors HCM Suite. However, organizations can license any or all of the talent modules based on their specific business needs. SAP designed the software to provide the cross-suite functionality required by all applications in the SAP SuccessFactors HCM Suite.

SAP SuccessFactors, through a partnership with Apple, also employs mobile technology. The latest iOS design's goal is to help businesses increase engagement and impact of the SAP SuccessFactors HCM system. SAP SuccessFactors also provides a dedicated Android app and emphasizes a strong user experience.

Pricing and support: The product is offered as SaaS, and the typical subscription term is between three and five years.  Pricing is done on a per-user basis. SAP SuccessFactors products are sold both directly and through a business partner ecosystem.

SAP SuccessFactors provides phone support and also live chat for real-time answers to questions. This is complemented by community-based forums for fast answers from experts and other users. SAP SuccessFactors also provides embedded in-product support, such as one-click access to help, knowledge and support experts in product, a support portal designed to provide easy access to product knowledge, videos and case management tools. Support and training are included in the subscription. Additional expanded support and training options are available.

SAP SuccessFactors does not offer free demos or trials of its software.

Talentsoft

Created in 2007 by three French entrepreneurs, Talentsoft is a leader in cloud-based talent management and learning software. The company serves over 1,500 clients and 8 million users in 130 countries and in 27 languages. The goals of the software are to focus on employee recruitment and talent scouting and to manage employee goals, performance against goals and compensation.

The five pillars of talent management: Talentsoft's talent management system gives businesses the ability to control the recruiting process, manage performances and competencies, perform talent reviews, and identify key talent and successors. It includes training and a learning center. Talentsoft offers compensation management tools, along with analytical tools. The employee lifecycle is maintained in the multilingual Talentsoft hub.

Talentsoft is built for businesses of all sizes. For companies with fewer than 1,000 employees, Talentsoft offers a turnkey, preconfigured installation. For larger companies, Talentsoft customizes its installation, using its own team and also the services of its business partners and consultants.

Integration and deployment: Talentsoft is purely a talent management software company and does not offer any HCM or HRIS systems. Talentsoft is a cloud-based product. Companies can pick and choose between Talentsoft's modules. The latest release features more streamlined administrative management processes for HR -- such as employee self-service -- prebuilt analytics dashboards that enhance system usability, and the additions of video interviews and online tests.

Pricing and support: Talentsoft offers its clients four different pay-for support options: Starter support, which delivers training, workshops  and 24/7 support; Premium support, which adds access to subject-matter experts, demos and best-practice consulting; and Premium advanced and Premium expert support, which offer even higher levels of personalized consulting and expertise. Talentsoft offers free product demos and a free trial.

Ultimate Software

With a focus on all five pillars of talent management, Ultimate Software's UltiPro combines analytics, cloud technology and a devotion to user experience to deliver businesses a full-fledged talent management system.

The five pillars of talent management: UltiPro focuses on hiring, retaining and developing talent for your company. It consists of four main components. The UltiPro performance management component manages employee performances with goal-setting and reviews, supports career development and identifies high performers. UltiPro Succession Management enables companies to build a talent pipeline for the future by preparing high-performing employees to step into key roles in the organization.

UltiPro Predictive Analytics is an analytics tool that harnesses big data and can help organizations more proactively manage their talent with tools like the UltiPro Retention Predictor, which forecasts an employee's intent to stay with the organization for the next 12 months. The UltiPro High Performer Indicator helps identify who the top performers are in the organization. There are also strategic reporting and business intelligence tools, which give businesses a set of tools through which they can evaluate and predict workforce performance and other factors.

UltiPro is primarily used by large and midsize organizations.

Integration and deployment: UltiPro is tightly integrated with payroll, benefits and other HR components of the Ultimate Software HCM suite. UltiPro is a cloud-based offering that runs on a continuous release basis, so new releases of the software are issued multiple times each year.

Pricing and support: Ultimate Software products are sold by subscription on a per-employee, per-month basis. The product is sold through Ultimate Software's native sales force. Support services include perpetual and unlimited training to customers, as well as a named account representative and 24/7 access to American Payroll Association-certified consultants.

Ultimate Software provides an online demonstration environment for prospective customers.

Takeaways

Ultimately, the best talent management software is the one that best fits your company's needs. If your employees require easy-to-use software, it's best getting a vendor that has a user interface that works for them. If you're a business that wants to focus on learning and training, finding talent management software with that focus should be the way to go.

Next Steps

See the latest trends that are reshaping talent management

Learn how AI is assisting talent recruitment

Understand how talent management software aids the employee lifecycle

This was last published in August 2017

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