It’s hard to evaluate software. While a free trial is often available, time constraints usually prevent an in-depth investigation, and customers often end up making purchasing decisions based on marketing hype and crafted demonstrations. From a market positioning perspective, Brilliant Assessments and Pointerpro appear to be similar but are actually quite distinct.
Below we outline five key differences.
Brilliant Assessments Iterations supports the same individual, team, or 360 responding multiple times. Feedback reports are enhanced to include how the respondents have (hopefully) improved over time. Typical use cases are ‘before’ and ‘after’ assessments (training, coaching, or engagement) or periodic check-ins.
Iterations can be fully automated, so the system sends welcome and reminder emails and the appropriate report on completion, including the current and previous iterations.
This function suits service evidence applications, re-engaging with clients over time, and recertifying. While many customers don’t have this on their initial requirements list, most implement it once they see the differentiation this innovation provides.
Pointerpro does not have this functionality.
Brilliant Assessments can produce high-quality, detailed reports for any grouping of responses, including teams and 360s. The 18 chart types include options to segment the data by role (particularly important for 360s),unlimited classifiers, or by respondent. In addition, specialist charts, such as stacked bars, histograms, and scatter plots, are ideal for showing the distribution of answers amongst the cohort.
Detailed feedback can be highly personalized using ‘rating text’ at the assessment, section, subsection, and segmentation levels.
The process of inviting respondents through to the production of the report can be user-initiated and managed.
Pointerpro’s Group Reporting functionality leverages the software’s limited benchmarking functionality and thus has the same weaknesses. For example, the customer cannot split results by role or classifier, which are essential for all but the most superficial reports. There is no user initiation functionality. It is rare for a solution not to require custom development by Pointerpro.
Brilliant Assessments was designed for non-technical users. The assessment builder has a highly intuitive WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) interface. Scores and ratings (the basis for most of the response-based text in the reports) are calculated automatically at all levels. The assessment structure is front and center, so it is always apparent how scores are calculated.
Brilliant Assessments reports are built in MS Word, combining charts, text, and data from the system using Word Merge technology. An MS Word add-in makes building merge strings fast and intuitive. For example, defining a spider chart for all subsections, with two comparative benchmarks also shown, takes under a minute to define. And, of course, all the scores are there waiting—calculated automatically.
In addition, Brilliant Assessments has ten professionally-designed templates that customers can choose from and adapt to their requirements, changing colors and images using the familiar MS Word interface.
Pointerpro automatically calculates scores at the assessment level, and if there are multiple questions on a page (section), it can calculate the average score for that page. Beyond that, the customer will need to build formulas to calculate report scores. Building formulas is not complicated but is time-consuming and introduces the risk of human error. For a 70-80 question assessment with a detailed feedback report, a customer can expect to build, test, and maintain hundreds of formulas. Mistakes are well hidden.
Pointerpro has a new graphical report design tool that demonstrates well but hides the fact that all of the data shown has been crafted in formulas beforehand. Charts are time-consuming to build.
Brilliant Assessments was initially designed for its first customer with an assessment of 164 questions in six sections, each with four or five subsections. Its second customer had over 800 primarily conditional questions organized into 15 sections. Brilliant Assessments founders and developers come from an enterprise software background, which is reflected in the robustness of the software.
If an assessment has over 30 questions, it will need the robust design Brilliant Assessments offers, especially if there is a need to scale in the future.
Pointerpro was originally called Survey Anyplace. It was initially developed as a fun quiz for the founder’s daughter’s birthday party and has grown from there. Its available answer formats include cute quiz tool widgets like ‘slot machines’, ‘scratch cards’, and smiley-face emojis. Over the last few years, Pointerpro has added a PDF reporting capability, ReportR, and pivoted to the assessment platform market.
Pointerpro’s demonstration and template assessments are short (generally under 20 questions), and the Pointerpro response user interface is appealing for short assessments. However, it is much less attractive when there are multiple questions per page, which is usually desirable in a more extensive assessment.
Brilliant Assessments has a partnership approach to the customer relationship. Customers have unlimited free access to success managers, including web conferences, to define the best assessment structure to achieve their detailed reporting goals. In addition, all customers have access to the CEO to discuss their strategic goals.
Pointerpro charges $150ph for web conferences with support. The only alternative is a chat facility, which is adequate for simple surveys and quizzes but not for more complex assessments.
Along with its annual subscriptions, Brilliant Assessments offers monthly subscriptions allowing customers to try the software before committing to a longer-term after a 14-day free trial.
Pointerpro locks customers in from the outset with annual pricing.
Brilliant Assessments is upfront with its pricing, which is all-inclusive. Plans are response count-based, and excess responses are charged proportionately.
Pointerpro’s marketing mentions “from” pricing that is less than one percent of its actual price. It only discloses actual pricing after a meeting and has multiple add-ons for white labeling, onboarding, additional administrators, and “premium” (non-chat-based) support. Plans are report-based, and users are locked out once the count is exceeded. The only option is to pay the difference for the next plan for the whole year, even if the current year’s plan is about to end.