A Independent Surface Review for Enwisen's AnswerSource Onboarding Software
Enwisen Software Company Overview
An HR communications and content management company based out of Novato, CA, Enwisen was founded in 1994 and has gone through a number of mergers and acquisitions in its short lifetime—the last of which took place just this past December (2010) when Lawson Software Americas absorbed Enwisen into their fold (shortly before Lawson was then acquired by Infor). Prior to becoming a Lawson subsidiary, Enwisen focused on providing "benefits" purchasing support for the small and midsize business (SMB) market—strategically adding a piece here and a piece there to their offerings in response to market changes (e.g. Peopleclick Authoria's move to the broader Talent Management market). Finally, with the acquisitions of HRPath and software developer First Door, Inc. (in 2001 and 2003 respectively), Enwisen made the slow and steady march towards integrating their benefits knowledgebase with:
Shared Services/Case Management;
Policy/Procedure Management; and
These integration points all take place through AnswerSource, Enwisen's Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution–a creation which in turn has caused strategic "re-selling" partnerships with Lawson, Oracle, SAP, and countless other core HRMS providers (until Lawson bought them out at least).
Enwisen Software's Target Market for Customers
Prior to acquisition by Lawson Software, Enwisen billed themselves as appropriate for "businesses of all types and industries, from small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) to the largest enterprises". All signs would indicate that this target market is still in place even after their acquisition.
Enwisen Onboarding Software Application Purpose
Using their trademarked "Acclimate, Automate, Interface and Comply" Onboarding / Offboarding solution, Enwisen attests to being able to manage all steps of the Onboarding (and consequent offboarding) process through their HR software. However, the specific features and purpose of this onboarding software application are more appropriately described below. Specifically:
New hires have the ability to:
Utilize the pre-boarding application to proactively complete "paperwork" prior to the first day on the job
View policy/procedure information that has been tailored to their specific role
Model and evaluate their benefit plan choices
Managers have the ability to:
View which new hires have done which tasks (called tours)
Facilitate workflow actions through a modified MSS (Manager Self-Service) function
Facilitate communication with new hires via email and Question/Answer functions
Administrators have the ability to:
Track requests for E-verify
Manage compliance task items through a macro-level "tour" function
Analyze and manage new hire and manager data through export functions, reporting queries, and limited human capital analytics functions
Facilitate communication with managers and new hires through emails (including template creation) and forum posts
Facilitate approvals for any level including overrides
Enwisen Software's Perfect Prospect Profile (PPP)
Utilized by slightly less than 275 customers, Enwisen's AnswerSource Onboarding and Offboarding software application has a host of enterprise customers that include Microsoft, Yahoo, Hershey, Nissan, and Comcast. Still, according to Gartner's Thomas Otter, "Companies that hire more than 200 people annually should consider using an onboarding solution".
Enwisen Software's Technical Specs
AnswerSource is a SaaS solution with several leading technologies.
Hosting and network-managed services are provided by Savvis (parented by CenturyLink) for data center delivery, reliability and scalability purposes. Further, uptime guarantees, nightly on-site back-ups, and weekly off-site back-ups keep data in check
Data architecture and integration capabilities are handled through XML and XSL
Native thin-client Web technologies
Microsoft .NET-based object-oriented development technologies
SSO (Single Sign-On) API (application programming interface)
Enwisen Software's Primary Onboarding Competitors
Onboarding software is a competitive market, and key AnswerSource competitors include the following.
SilkRoad Technology; and
Strengths of Enwisen's Software
Comparative positioning in the onboarding HR software market is highlighted with the following strengths.
As evidenced by the number and type of companies adopting this HR software, Enwisen is highly scalable, and can be adapted to sophisticated or complex environments.
Data can easily be transferred between the AnswerSource onboarding software suite and nearly all Payroll systems, HRMS, HRIS, and ATS (Applicant Tracking System).
Though not explicitly dealt with in this review, most commercially-available onboarding products do not contain a similarly-positioned "offboarding" solution. Given the uptick in regulatory concerns and alumni connections, this feature is particularly useful, timely, and unique.
Weaknesses of Enwisen's Software
Competitive weaknesses may include the following.
As with any Software-as-a-Service HR solution, perceptions about the security of employee data are an ever-present issue. Factor in the fact that orientation/onboarding processes gather up some of the most sensitive data employees can give, and information security anxieties (whether founded in truth or not) can go from 0-60 in no time. This holds especially true for Enwisen given their previous work with Savvis.
With the Lawson acquisition less than a year old (at the time of this review), and the subsequent acquisition of Lawson by Infor, it is yet to be determined what the ultimate fate of this HR software will be. As such, compared with the Taleo or Cornerstone OnDemand solutions in particular, the long-term viability of Enwisen's offering simply cannot be predicted at this time.
Bottom-line for Enwisen Software
Gartner's HypeCycle report highlights that, when it comes to the onboarding process, focus should be on the basics (i.e. focus on administration and connection). While Enwisen has that process down to a tea currently, a fine line exists between progressive innovation and over-engineering. That being said, regardless of the onboarding software solution selected, organizations should be cognizant of the fact that technology can only take the onboarding process so far. Enwisen (though undoubtedly a stellar product) is only as good a solution as the organization that implements it. If an organization's culture is fragmented; Processes are ill-defined; Management isn't held accountable for onboarding metrics; or connections aren't furthered beyond the software's offerings, it won't matter which solution you buy—your onboarding process simply won't work.