0502 Ascentis Software


ancún Resort, a luxurious vacation timeshare resort located on the infamous Las Vegas “strip,” opened in July 2000. Jo Anna Hodge, HR Manager, has been with the Resort since its inception. Hodge states, “I was the first employee hired after the General Manager and started out as the Administrative Assistant, with the understanding I would become the HR Manager as the number of employees grew.”

Cancún Resort on its way to automated HR
“In no time, Cancún Resort grew to 30 employees and I knew it was time to purchase an automated HR system,” remembers Hodge. Hodge wanted a solution that she could use right away that would also grow with the Resort. She started her search on the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) bulletin boards. Hodge researched many companies and products and requested demos of the solutions she thought would best fit Cancún Resort’s HR needs.

Ascentis Corporation, creator of HROffice, was one of the companies Hodge researched. Unfortunately for other software providers, she received Ascentis’ product demo first. Hodge comments, “I couldn’t help but compare all other applications to HROffice. I was given a free fully functional 30-day trial copy of HROffice. Once I installed HROffice, I played around with the sample data and even imported some of my HR data to put the product through a ‘real life’ evaluation.”

Hodge required an HR solution that did everything — not five separate applications for each aspect of her job. She wanted something from the “get-go” that would carry Cancún Resort through expansive growth and success. Hodge explains, “I wanted something we could purchase for our situation now, not for 200 future employees in two to three year’s time. As our employee size grows, so will our budget. I needed HR software that I could use for my current number of employees that would also work for 500 employees down the road.”

The topic of pricing
Hodge began her HR software research in September 2000. She decided upon and purchased HROffice in March of 2001. She comments, “Although pricing is always important, it was not one of the deciding factors in our product selection. For example, PeopleSoft was a bit more expensive but we were considering it.” Hodge states, “For the record, HROffice offered the most competitive and reasonable pricing of all HR solutions we evaluated that were made for the small to mid-sized market.”

Hodge continues, “To further the discussion on pricing I’d like to point out that we recently increased our license from 150 employees to 250 employees in addition to purchasing the payroll link. When I pulled our original quote from the year 2000 I was pleased to see that the ‘per employee cost’ had not increased — it was almost identical to the pricing I was quoted over four years ago. In today’s economy, that’s rare!”

Always a step ahead
“Another thing about Ascentis is, they always release new builds between major product releases. Often the new build includes a new function I may have asked for down the road but hadn’t even thought of yet – Ascentis is always one step ahead!” concludes Hodge.

Hodge continues, “For example, take HROffice Applicant Manager. I didn’t even think about needing the functionality until it was already available, now I use it all the time — same with the payroll link. The payroll link wasn’t in existence when I first started evaluating HROffice but now Cancún Resort is purchasing it. Ascentis continually exceeds our expectations. It’s obvious that Ascentis is not only a technology expert but also an expert within the HR profession.”

Extensive reporting and alerting abilities
Hodge currently manages HR for over 150 employees. One of her favorite features is HROffice Alerts. With 150 employees, there’s a lot to remember and a lot of information to track. HROffice Alerts reminds Hodge of birthdays, anniversaries, reviews, and other important employee/company dates. Senior management at Cancún Resort is always surprised, impressed, and grateful when Hodge sends them reminders for their employees’ birthdays and other significant dates. Custom tabs also make Hodge’s job easier. If there is information she needs to track and there’s not already a tab made, she can easily create her own.

Cancún Resort has a lot of sister properties. At times, the Director of Resorts will ask all properties for a specific report. With HROffice, Hodge can complete a report in less than an hour while her peers struggle all day to compile the requested information. Hodge illustrates, “If you’re in the HR industry, you know how cumbersome an EEOC report can be. With HROffice, I click one button and my report is ready.

Define the word “user-friendly”
“We all hear the term ‘user-friendly’ tossed around yet it can mean different things to different people. I can tell you that HROffice is extremely user-friendly; let me tell you a quick story. Cancún Resort’s Executive Housekeeper compiles her entire budget on paper. However, she doesn’t have extensive experience on the computer and fears she’ll mess something up on HROffice,” says Hodge.

Hodge describes, “Having said that, I can tell you that she will hop on the computer from time to time and use HROffice to look up information on her staff. With the different assigned security levels, she knows that she can’t mess anything up. She knows that at her access level, she can only view information, not make changes. The user-friendliness of HROffice, the icons, the custom tabs, and the navigation tools encourage users of all technical levels.”

Top-notch technical support
Hodge interjects, “I want to take a minute and comment on Ascentis’ technical support. Ascentis tech support is awesome. I’ve never asked a question that they weren’t able to answer. Tech support is always nice, always helpful, always available, and always has the answer. When we first implemented HROffice Alerts, I had a bit of difficulty. I spoke with tech support, tech support spoke with my IT team in California, and in less than one day, the issue was fixed.”

Cancún Resort’s concluding remarks
Hodge laughs, “When I talk about HROffice, people ask me if I’m being paid to say such nice things. All I can say is that I’m a one-person HR department and can’t imagine doing my job without the help of HROffice.

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