PPS International Limited Grows its Business with Blue 360 Degree Feedback Software


PPS International Limited


Simpsonville, SC, US


200 employees


Blue 360 degree feedback software


The training and development firm conducts 360 reviews for hundreds of organizations around the world, almost all of whom want to use their own assessment criteria.

"Explorance feels like a real partner in our business. They make it easier for us to run our business, which lets me focus on growth and expansion. It’s a truly seamless partnership."

— Kelly Fairbairn, President of PPS International Limited

Key benefits:

  • Won more service provider contracts thanks to the ability to use client-specific models
  • Reduced technology costs
  • Expanded product offerings with greater software capabilities
  • Received strong support on presentations to prospects and customers

It was just a few years ago that PPS International Limited was a small consultancy with two full-time consultants. Today, they’re a highly successful international training and development firm, with clients and faculty around the world, a vast partnership network, and customers ranging from the smallest not-for profits to Fortune 500 corporations.

PPS International Limited operates under several banners to serve their wide base of clients and their specific needs. But while needs may be widely diverging, they are all served with the same principle: a strong customer-focus.

“We design programs based on client needs,” says Kelly Fairbairn, President of PPS International Limited. “We have a wide range of expertise available, so we can easily accommodate those needs. But we also want to ensure we have the technology available to serve specific requirements.”

360-degree feedback a central component

A key component of PPS International Limited’s assessment offerings is the 360 degree feedback assessment.

“We like to include a component that gets people thinking about their own performance,” Kelly says. “We’ll then integrate the 360 debrief into a workshop or coaching engagement.”

“Many of our clients ask for this service. We start with the assessment so people know what they need to focus on as they go through training or coaching.”

Custom-built system struggles to keep up

To manage their 360 reviews, PPS used to rely on a survey system they had custom built. After a year of use, the system was becoming expensive to maintain as they tried to keep up with rapidly changing technology and requirements. “We had invested a significant amount of money into developing our own system,” says Kelly. “It was a difficult decision, but we decided in the end we needed more support and platform stability than an in-house system could provide.”

“We also wanted the security of a full-time organization behind us, especially as we expanded into new territory with multi-language requirements.”

PPS assessed the many 360 software systems available on the market before selecting Blue 360, a multi-rater system built from the ground up for 360 reviews. “Most 360 degree feedback systems are built around the provider’s models,” she says. “Blue lets you build a 360 around your own. This is a key selling point when we approach clients.”

“It was also at a very reasonable price point,” she adds. “Especially when compared to building your own.”

Increasing revenues with Blue

Blue 360 degree feedback software provides the best of both worlds for PPS: powerful, reliable technology to serve their needs, with flexible customization capabilities.

“For the 360 review, ninety percent of our clients want to use their own measurement values: competencies, core values, behaviors, success factors, and so on,” she says. “They’ve already invested significantly in developing the model, and they want to be able to use it.”

“Many organizations choose to work with us, because we’re able to use their models. We can tell our customers that we can measure the things they have determined to be important.”

This kind of flexibility has made a difference to the training firm’s bottom line. “Blue has definitely helped us increase our revenues and grow our business as a result; we estimate that with the reduction in R&D for technology, we have improved our assessment profitability by 15%.”

True technology partners

Blue takes care of the technological aspects, so PPS International Limited can focus on what they do best: training and development. “Implementation of Blue was very smooth and quick,” says Janet Langley VP Operations and Assessment Center Manager, PPS International Limited. “I had all the support I needed. My dedicated support resource was absolutely wonderful.”

Explorance is supporting PPS not just for their technical needs, but when they are approaching new customers.

“We get a lot of support from Explorance when we pitch new customers,” says Kelly. “They are very responsive, and they can provide full-service technology. For example, one of our larger clients wanted software not just for 360 reviews, but for course evaluations and online tests. Explorance is able to do that.”

“Some of our financial services customers rank security very high on their list of needs — they were pleased when they saw the security features available in Blue.”

“We have consistently been winning service provider contracts,” she says. “We’re able to tie in with other things we’re already doing for our customers, such as executive coaching and leadership development. People can go to one place for all their talent development needs.”

Expanding business opportunities

Kelly is always on the lookout for new business opportunities, and now that she has discovered Blue, it’s opened the door to many possibilities she didn’t think previously feasible.

“With Blue, we’re marketing new services that don’t necessarily require faculty, which opens up more possibilities of whom we can work with,” she says. “I’m always balancing our product mix and ensuring that we are well diversified while maintaining quality levels.”

For Explorance and PPS International Limited, it’s a great working relationship that is proving mutually beneficial.

“Explorance feels like a real partner in our business,” she concludes. “They make it easier for us to run our business, which lets me focus on growth and expansion. It’s a truly seamless partnership.”

“Most 360 degree feedback systems are built around the provider’s models. Blue lets you build a 360 around your own. This is a key selling point when we approach clients.”

Kelly Fairbairn, President of PPS International Limited

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