Product Review: Plateau TMS (Talent Management System)

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I’ll be the first to admit, that I was not a big fan of the previous versions of the Plateau system. My concerns were the front end UI (what the end user sees), the admin UI and reporting.  After viewing the Plateau TMS, my concerns in one area have been eliminated, in others, not so much.

Plateau LMS is a Talent Management System, made up of four modules. Each one can be a stand alone or be purchased as a set, or all three or four.  All come with the Report Designer.

  • Plateau Learning
  • Plateau Performance
  • Plateau Career and Succession
  • Plateau Compensation

If for example, you wanted the PP and PCS, you could purchase them, without having to purchase PL or PC.

TMS Super Plus Features

  • Front end (what the end user sees) UI – A giant Kudos to Plateau
  • Dashboards (can be set by limits, team and individual, items completed, curriculum status, to name a few)
  • ILT component (for those who still offer ILT)
  • Euros and other currency (beyond USD)  in the Plateau Compensation
  • APIs

TMS Solid Features

  • Curriculum – Curricula, Role based options, Skill based options (the curriculum, role and skill selections are common in the industry)
  • Modules built into the system (simple turn on, when purchased, otherwise they are turned off)
  • 140 Canned Reports
  • To Do List
  • Add on modules (beyond the TMS four modules): The add on modules, include the I-Content, Talent Gateway

TMS Poor Features

  • Admin UI
  • Reporting Tool

Plateau TMS Details

Front End (What the end user sees)

After logging into the system a pop up window appears with four option, under the title “How to Get the Most out of the Plateau TMS

  • Work from your To Do List – items that you are working on are listed by due date
  • Quickly Complete Tasks – shortcuts to the most frequently performed tasks
  • Stay on Target – review your status pods (more on that in a sec.). You can also click on the pods to drill down
  • Tasks Delegated by Supervisors – supervisors delegate responsibilities. Users can perform these tasks by using the Delegator’s list on the home page.

You can click a check box, if you do not want the pop-up to appear the next time you log into the system. However the system will show the pop up box if their is new content.

Main home page

On the top of the screen, four labels are visible (you can change the label names, remove if you so choose, etc.).  The initial labels are “Home, My Team, Organization, Catalog).

The To do List is visible below the labels and is very easy to use.  A giant Kudos to Plateau for making the front end, user friendly and the navigation simple.  A major, major improvement from previous versions, but I digress.

To Do List

  • Search box
  • Option to show everything or by date time frame
  • Items broken up by due date, so if you choose everything, the “To Do List), shows items due the next month and then due later. The dates are in chronological order
  • Under the item, identified if it has been started, in progress, or the person needs to register
  • Icons – perfect for the visual reinforcement, are next to each item, to identify what type the item is, i.e. computer – wbt, ilt, etc.)

Easy Links (aka the shortcuts)

This appears on the right side of the main screen and lists options such as “Approvals, Record Learning, News, Skills Inventory, Self-Assessment, Reports, Google, etc.)  The options can be added or removed or the text can be changed.

Below are visually stunning graphics, such as a pie chart identifying curricula with colors of red, green or yellow for each slice of the pie. Red – overdue, Green – due later, Yellow – due in 30 days. A number of the items is listed by each color (if applicable).  I like this. The end user sees immediately what has to be completed.

The downside, is that real value of WBT is that the end user can go into the course as often as they want and as many as times as they want. Thus, the admin would have to reinforce that color pie may not apply to specific items (if the company uses this approach).

Other graphs: Completed work, Competencies and Communities

On the top of the screen, a profile is visible, identifying the delegators which is a pull down, followed by a profile picture (if applicable), the title of the person and if there are any pending approval requests. Of course, if the end user does not have the “approval requests” ability, it is not visible.

When an end user clicks on one of the items, a pop-up box appears with detailed information regarding that item. Nice.

An “Options and Settings” component enables the end user to change their security question, shows delegates, offers various notifications the end user receives immediately to their e-mail account and setup time zone, currency, etc. Another nice feature is the language change. Let’s say your language is Japanese, then all the pages in the module appear in Japanese.  Again, well done.

Administration Back End

While the UI on the front end has been overhauled, the same cannot be said for the Admin side. While Plateau plans to overhaul this at a later date, it is a shame that they did not do it at the same time they re-hauled the front end.

The dashboards are a nice piece with numerous viewing options, along with item completion, curriculum data, drill down functionality by job role, skills, etc.   There are 10 dashboards, which is more than enough to pick from. You can save or print out the dashboards. Again, very nice feature.

Dashboards are prevalent on the back end, with a lot of options depending on the role of the person and what rights they are given by the administrator. The UI, well is poor. User friendly it isn’t, and navigation is equally disappointing.


This may be one of the most irritating of all the features of Plateau TMS. Why Plateau sees their reporting functionality as not needing any change is beyond me. The reporting tool comes with the system.

The UI looks outdated. Please, please Plateau overhaul this.

Yes, there are 140 canned reports and target areas of improvement (just one example), actionable data, courses, topics, again to name a few.

They do not have ad-hoc report capability built into the system. Rather you use Report Designer, enabling you to create all the ad-hoc reports you want. The tool is sort of a standalone that goes back into the system. To create or modify reports, you need to have some db (database) skill sets, Crystal reports for an example or at least understand SQL .

  • A sandbox environment is provided to use as Admins are developing new reports
  • When the report is done, the admin loads it up through the Admin UI and then it is available to all end users via the application
  • Reports are displayed through the browser and the application
  • When viewing the reports from the end user standpoint, they – the end user – does not need Admin access

Does your admin possess these skills – i.e. db or SQL? Heck, do you? I’ll be honest, I don’t and my tech skill set is extremely high.  So, what do you do, if your admin or yourself do not have these skill sets? “Hello, IS/IT. I need some help.”

Yeah, try that on a busy day, which to IS/IT staff is every day. Unless you have a dedicated person from IS or IT, you either start to learn some basic db skills or learn SQL or cry. Me? I’m crying. That said, if you have a db or have these skill sets or your admin does and you want to extract the data, cut and slice it up in your db and then output, no worries.  But why?

I understand where Plateau is coming from. Every client has different needs and thus seek different types of reports. Thus lots of options. But come on, help us out here. My guess is that Plateau may assume that since the client is in the Fortune 250, they are going to have these skill sets. But let me tell you, I worked at a Fortune 250 in my past, and they had outdated computers, outdated OS and while people who worked there were very smart in their respected areas, on the learning side of things, db and SQL skill sets were not there.


This is an optional add-on module and it has some really nice functionality.

  • End users can purchase 3rd party content through Plateau (they have over 25K titles). However pricing is based on titles and number of users
  • Custom courses (created by the end user) are uploaded, tested and on-going updates (especially with the 3rd party content). This is all included in the price
  • Unlimited number of courses can be uploaded, tested and provided on-going updates – Sweet!
  • I-Content is integrated with Lectora, so you can create your content in Lectora/I-Content and publish

Talent Gateway

Another add-on module. Not required as part of the system.  This is Plateau’s social learning component, and it reminds me of a cross between a COP (Community of Practice) with some social learning functionality. Why people still think a COP is of value is beyond me. I can’t figure out if it is the “Kodak Syndrome”.

Kodak was the king kong of film and cameras.  Then digital cameras showed up. Kodak embraced them to a point, but kept their initial camera products. The problem was everyone was pushing away and moving into the digital camera space in a relative short amount of time.  Kodak though remained steadfast. Today, Kodak has never been able to dominate the market in digital cameras, although that is their main solution.  You can place Xerox in the same boat (can u say the home copying market, which they ignored thinking it was never going to take off. Wrong).

Here is what the Talent Gateway comes with:

  • It is a portal and includes parts of Plateau’s system
  • Wikis, blogs, message board and a document library (think a repository where files can be accessed, viewed, uploaded and downloaded, inc. word documents, audio and video files)
  • Creating of profiles, post to the message board, write a wiki or blog or take part in the discussion board
  • Voice SME (very nice) – connect with SME

Social learning is based on incorporating social media types (whatever you choose) and e-learning. One cannot exist without the other. The problem is the tread factor. Too many vendors (inc. Plateau) see social networking as a wiki, blog, profiles, a bit of communities and RSS feed.  Enough already.

Today in the social networking (only one type of social media) there are over 300 social network sites, inc. niche sites. There are more than 20 different types of social media with lots of companies in each space. Some types: slideshare presentation, event management, livecasting or live streaming, social network aggregators, social news aggregators (which is different then just news posts), video sharing (say YouTube) and this is just a few. Some purists see mashups as another social media type. There are new types showing up all the time – can u say Squidoo?

Web Conferencing Integration



Supported. Again, very nice.

HTML5 & Tablets

No. Looking at it possibly down the road.

Content Authoring Tool

Accepts any third party authoring tool, including Articulate, Raptivity to name a few. Basically if it is SCORM compliant, it will work.

Training & Support

Available, support is placed into two packages.  One package the support is 8 to 5, M-F and e-mail support.  The other package includes 24×7 and email support.  Training is presented by WebEx and a knowledge base exists with features including tips.

Pricing – Per module (the four – PL, PCS, PP, PS)

  • 1,000 users – 30K
  • Or a perpetual license for 60K – for 1,000 users

The more users the cost changes.   This is just for one module.  If you purchased say PL and PCS, and just went with 1,000 users, the overall cost per year would be in the 60K range, albeit they would provide some lower price per user. If you did perpetual then it would be 120K or thereabouts, again pricing would be lower based on number of users.

Please note: Pricing are estimates and Plateau does work with their customers to set final pricing.  Always remember to negotiate with your vendor and require discounts (for a 3 year deal).

Talent Gateway

  • Up to 10,000 users – 15K
  • Greater than 10,00 users – 25K

There is no limit for the amount of portals you want to create.


Pricing is unknown.



Plateau’s Talent Management System reminds me of trick or treating as a kid. I would go to the houses and get one of these items:

  • A treat (candy)
  • A trick (those black wrapped or orange wrapped peanut butter candies) or an Apple
  • Or Worse (a penny)

If it was the “worse”, my friends and I would contemplate if Mr. TP Roll would be making a visit, to spread (literally) joy.

For me, the Plateau TMS, contains a lot of treats, a few tricks and a couple of pennies.

Thus, I need to sit on the fence and contemplate because I cannot not recommend it, nor can I recommend it. I hope that Plateau will ditch the tricks and the pennies.  Because right now, Mr. TP roll is still in my hands, and I want to enjoy my candy.

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One comment

  1. Craig, very nice review. Please, keep up with good work – I like your blog. Thank you.

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