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1:08pm EDT February 26, 2002
Corporate Investigations Inc., a 25-employee Greentree-based company that performs employment background checks for corporate clients nationally, had a problem.

In its investigations, CII collects information from numerous sources. Each client project creates a complex billing task, and clients often want access to the information CII collects as an investigation progresses.

Typically, several CII investigators collect data on an employee or applicant from multiple sources, and the data must be assembled into a single report. Initiating a particular element of a screening may be contingent on completion of another check, which can delay an investigation. In some cases, clients order services a la carte, which complicates the data collection and billing process.

CII thought it needed a technology solution to streamline its process. Improved technology was undoubtedly a critical component in solving the problem, but it took three tries to get it right.

The company had a DOS-based system that proved cumbersome, so it invited vendors to propose solutions. In one case, the company decided the vendor didn't understand its business and rejected its proposal. In another, the vendor had the project underway when CII chose to abandon it because it became clear the second vendor, too, lacked a true understanding of CII's business.

Enter Joseph Cherian, president and CEO of Turning Point Systems Inc., a South Side company. Cherian's company developed a system called CorpNet, an immediate interface between the client and CII that allows clients access during each phase of the screening process from the clients' offices.

It has simplified the billing process, allows clients to cut costs by doing some of the work themselves if they choose to do so, and produces reports that can help clients identify problems in their operations, such as turnover trends.

The solution, according to CII, has increased productivity by 50 percent.

Carmella Leonette, CII's director of operations, says Cherian's company not only understood the technology, but also had a clear appreciation for CII's business needs. Companies seeking a technology solution, it seems, need to do some careful investigation of their own.

"It is important to focus on companies with experience in business solutions and not merely technology vendors," says Leonette. "They must look for companies with a track record who can provide real examples of the solutions they have developed with tangible results." How to reach: Corporate Investigations Inc., www.ciilink.com; Turning Point Solutions Inc., www.turningpoint-sys.com