What do you like best?
Every vendor on the market likes to suggest that their product can be configured as much or as little as a client wants, but there are no other products on the market that offer the degree of pre- and post-implementation that BrassRing does. Through the deployment of user-generated objects like candidate forms, workflows, and automated rules I can use the BrassRing system to build a self-contained Executive Recruitment practice in a system that is otherwise configured to process 10,000+ hires in a year.
Others have mentioned the strength of the communication templates; the combination of blurbs, automated messages, templates, and some targeted user training provides a greater degree of flexibility for rapid, responsive and effective communication than most solutions as well. While social media integration is poor and the application process desperately needs work, it is a mistake for organizations to confuse application experience with CANDIDATE experience. A candidate wants to be heard, know that their application has been reviewed, and get timely and honest feedback; the communication tools therein are excellent for supporting the entire process.
That all being said, I should probably explain the title of this review. Yes, *I* can build an implementation that does all of these things, but not every organization has (or can afford) someone dedicated to designing, configuring, and maintaining advanced functionality in the system. The Workbench back-end platform is arcane to say the least, and requires dedicated resources that not every organization has. It is up to current or prospective IBM Kenexa clients to evaluate the extent of their investment, and the sort of return they require. If you run a large-scale recruitment process with many variations and complexities, an investment in time and effort can yield results that other systems cannot offer.
One last thing to note; BrassRing is one of the few ATS on the market that still supports a simple recruitment matrix for end-users (although you'll most likely need a power user to build it). This may seem like a small or trivial thing, but if you have a large recruitment staff with high volumes, this is a feature that you will want and need.
What do you dislike?
For starters, IBM Kenexa BrassRing on Cloud is a terrible name for a business application.
Beyond that, as other commentators have noted, system performance can be sluggish at the best of times. This can be true of any SaaS application, but I have seen service degrade to the point where the system begins to fail. Similarly, I have at times struggled working within the Kenexa and later IBM support model, where a clear lack of resources have left me waiting for timely support or simply having to sit on my hands.
The biggest challenge that BrassRing presents however is that some of the technology is clearly dated; the application experience in particular is clunky, and not suited for social-media inclined users. Social Media integration within the back-end is limited too, although this is less of a concern for organizations engaged in professional recruitment.
Recommendations to others considering the product
Know your recruitment practice inside and out. Don't design the system for the recruitment practice you have, design it for the practice you want; have your recruitment experts at the table at implementation as it is much easier (and cheaper) to design pre-implementation than post.
Don't engage this software if you just need a tool to collect and route general applications, BrassRing is best suited for large volumes, customized workflows, meeting regulatory burdens, and evolving business requirements.
Do engage the right people to support it; the system has extensive capabilities but does require dedicated professional staff with expertise in software, business processes, and recruitment in order to get the best value from the system.
What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
Having worked with BrassRing at various organizations for nearly five years, I have found the system to be an industry-leader when it comes to designing complex, dynamic, and multi-level recruitment practices. If your organization needs a tool that will allow you to simultaneously hire hundreds (or thousands) of mass-market candidates and fill selected hard to fill roles, you'd be hard pressed to find a system that supports both.