Toward more perfect payrolls

Improving products and services is vitally important if a business is to thrive.
PerfectSoftware, a Norwalk-based provider of human resource information systems, for 12 years has been fiddling with the recipe for one of its products, incorporating suggestions from customers, and soon will be releasing the latest version of its application designed for the human resources industry, hrWindows 5.0.

With clients including Stamford-based World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc., SER Solutions, MCI and other national firms, PerfectSoftware has remained steadfast to the age-old saying that “the customer is always right.”

“Some of the payroll improvements (made to the system) were the result of a suggestion from WWF. That’s how we’ve evolved. Someone says, ‘It would better if we could do this,’ and then we try to do just that,” said Brian Kesselman, vice president of technology and operations at the company.

The hrWindows 5.0 software allows human resources professionals to better manage employee data such as benefits, salary and attendance. The system is designed for companies with between 200 and 5,000 employees. “The major improvement is the ability to schedule reports and output that are directly automated from the system – like a list of this month’s birthdays in the company – to benefits statements. This feature has been met with rave reviews,” Kesselman said.

“Another is the employee self-serve. An employee can log on to a Web site where you can log on to your own database. If you have a child, you can add a dependent; and if you move, you can put in your new address. It frees up the HR department to deal with more management and negotiations and do less data entry,” he said.

PerfectSoftware is a division of Aspetuck Systems and was founded in 1989. The company employs 12 in Norwalk, and four in Denver, and is led by president Mike Gabriele. The two companies operate independently, with PerfectSoftware representing the lion’s share of Aspetuck’s business. Aspetuck, founded in 1984, handles the human resources consulting and benefit administration side. According to Kesselman, PerfectSoftware’s human resource application began as an MS-DOS program in 1989. There were seven versions in the DOS format before the first version for Microsoft Windows was released in 1996. Generally one version of the software was made per year. The latest uses the Internet to give broad access to its features

“This is a leap of technology in that you have the ability to send information to employees to their desktops via their a browser, which reduces administrative load,” said Kesselman. hrWindows 5.0’s official debut takes place at the Softworld 2001 Exhibition on Sept. 6 and 7 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. The company also will have a kick-off party and demonstration at its Norwalk headquarters on Sept. 17.

“Our current clients will receive our upgrade to 5.0 and we also have several new prospects for the software. A number of clients are expected to attend our kick-off too,” said Kesselman, who is predicting strong interest in the new version, which carries a price tag starting around $10,000.

“The system can save a company as much as $41,000 a year in managing benefits administration, save $9,000 in reporting cost, $25,000 in recruiting fees and about $12,000 in unscheduled absenteeism, making the system pay for itself with in a one year or less,” he said. Marcia Siart, manager of human resources at Metso Automation, which manufactures industrial valves in Wooster, Mass., says the company been using PerfectSoftware for two years. “For over 20 years we had Cyborg (a human resources software program), but it was expensive,” Siart said. She was asked to look for a less costly alternative. “I did a lot of research, but we didn’t want to lose some of the benefits we had with Cyborg. I actually found out about PerfectSoftware through an account representative from another software company who recommended them after seeing them at a trade show,” Siart said. Siart said that the company’s customer service has been excellent.

“They don’t talk down to you if you don’t have a technical background. They’ve been receptive to us, Siart said, adding that PerfectSoftware custom-designed an interface that would work with Metso’s existing payroll software.

“Not being able to work this out would have resulted in double the work and double the error in duplicating entries from system to another,” she said. Although advertising in industry magazines and getting leads from their Web Site and trade shows have been helpful in PerfectSoftware’s success, its recognition on last year’s Connecticut Fast 50 list sponsored by Deloitte & Touche and the Connecticut Technology Council also has given the company a boost. The firm was chosen for the list again this year.

“We hope to continue to grow as Connecticut Fast 50 company. I also expect our customer and employee base to grow significantly within the next two years,” Kesselman said.

About Perfect Software
Founded in 1984, PerfectSoftware is a leading provider of comprehensive and flexible software to manage a company’s most valuable asset — human capital. Delivered as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) or on premise solution, its software allows companies to make informed decisions about their business based on real-time information. The company’s software solutions span the entire employee lifecycle and include Human Resource Information System (HRIS), Applicant Tracking, Payroll, Performance Management, Time & Attendance, Benefit Election & Enrollment, Salary Planning & Administration, Position Control, Alerts, Employee Self Service, COBRA Management and Ad Hoc Reporting.
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