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Finding software can be overwhelming. We've helped thousands of companies choose the right HR software so they can better manage personnel needs and support employee development.

Human Resources Software

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ClearCompany HRM

ClearCompany is a software system that works for human resources (HR) and recruiting teams across both public and private industries. The ClearCompany Talent Alignment Platform connects recruiting, new employee onboarding and performance... Read More
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Price Range is based on our extensive pricing research and represents a comparison of cost between the 545 systems on our list. The best way to get a real cost is to request a quote.
Recent recommendations:  184
Our advisors have recommended this product 184 times in the last 30 days. These recommendations are based on buyers' needs. Contact us for a free consultation.
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Sage Payroll

Sage Payroll is a cloud-based payroll solution that caters to small and mid-size businesses across various industries, helping them manage their payroll operations. The solution can also be deployed on-premise. Sage Payroll allows... Read More
Rating:  43 reviews
Price: 
Price Range is based on our extensive pricing research and represents a comparison of cost between the 545 systems on our list. The best way to get a real cost is to request a quote.
Recent recommendations:  181
Our advisors have recommended this product 181 times in the last 30 days. These recommendations are based on buyers' needs. Contact us for a free consultation.
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Zenefits

Zenefits is a cloud-based human resources information system (HRIS) that features user dashboards, core human resources, benefits administration, onboarding and employee scheduling. When new employees are hired, HR professionals using... Read More
Price: 
Price Range is based on our extensive pricing research and represents a comparison of cost between the 545 systems on our list. The best way to get a real cost is to request a quote.
Recent recommendations:  169
Our advisors have recommended this product 169 times in the last 30 days. These recommendations are based on buyers' needs. Contact us for a free consultation.
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ADP Workforce Now

ADP Workforce Now is a human capital management solution for companies with more than 50 employees. The core capabilities of the solution include human resources management, payroll, benefits, talent management, compliance, time and... Read More
Price: 
Price Range is based on our extensive pricing research and represents a comparison of cost between the 545 systems on our list. The best way to get a real cost is to request a quote.
Recent recommendations:  137
Our advisors have recommended this product 137 times in the last 30 days. These recommendations are based on buyers' needs. Contact us for a free consultation.
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Namely

Namely offers a cloud-based solution for companies seeking a single comprehensive system to manage their human capital. Namely helps midsize companies manage compliance and streamline everything payroll, benefits and talent management. Namely... Read More
Price: 
Price Range is based on our extensive pricing research and represents a comparison of cost between the 545 systems on our list. The best way to get a real cost is to request a quote.
Recent recommendations:  122
Our advisors have recommended this product 122 times in the last 30 days. These recommendations are based on buyers' needs. Contact us for a free consultation.
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Kronos Workforce Ready

Workforce Ready by Kronos is a human resources (HR) platform that combines workforce management with human capital management (HCM) capabilities and is suitable for businesses of all sizes.  Kronos Workforce Ready is a single cloud-based... Read More
Price: 
Price Range is based on our extensive pricing research and represents a comparison of cost between the 545 systems on our list. The best way to get a real cost is to request a quote.
Recent recommendations:  118
Our advisors have recommended this product 118 times in the last 30 days. These recommendations are based on buyers' needs. Contact us for a free consultation.
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APS

APS (Automatic Payroll Systems, Inc.) APS delivers cloud-based tools for managing core human resources (HR), payroll, attendance, hiring, and ACA compliance. Once employee information is entered, it is immediately available across... Read More
Price: 
Price Range is based on our extensive pricing research and represents a comparison of cost between the 545 systems on our list. The best way to get a real cost is to request a quote.
Recent recommendations:  107
Our advisors have recommended this product 107 times in the last 30 days. These recommendations are based on buyers' needs. Contact us for a free consultation.
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RUN powered by ADP

RUN, powered by ADP, is a web-based payroll solution designed for small businesses. The solution can be deployed on either iPhones, iPads or on any touchscreen device. RUN can integrate with multiple third-party accounting software... Read More
Price: 
Price Range is based on our extensive pricing research and represents a comparison of cost between the 545 systems on our list. The best way to get a real cost is to request a quote.
Recent recommendations:  81
Our advisors have recommended this product 81 times in the last 30 days. These recommendations are based on buyers' needs. Contact us for a free consultation.
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BambooHR

BambooHR is a cloud-based human resources (HR) software service for small and midsize businesses. BambooHR offers small and growing companies a human resource information system (HRIS) that includes an applicant tracking system (ATS)... Read More
Price: 
Price Range is based on our extensive pricing research and represents a comparison of cost between the 545 systems on our list. The best way to get a real cost is to request a quote.
Recent recommendations:  80
Our advisors have recommended this product 80 times in the last 30 days. These recommendations are based on buyers' needs. Contact us for a free consultation.
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SwipeClock Workforce Management

TimeWorks Plus from Swipeclock is a cloud-based time and attendance management solution suitable for businesses of all sizes and industries. It allows users to clock in and out, prepare timesheets and process payrolls.  TimeWorks... Read More
Rating:  20 reviews
Price: 
Price Range is based on our extensive pricing research and represents a comparison of cost between the 545 systems on our list. The best way to get a real cost is to request a quote.
Recent recommendations:  79
Our advisors have recommended this product 79 times in the last 30 days. These recommendations are based on buyers' needs. Contact us for a free consultation.
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Jobvite

Jobvite Hire is a cloud-based applicant tracking system (ATS) that enables users to manage hiring processes including job distribution, screening, interviewing and sending out offers. It’s suitable for midsize and enterprise recruiting... Read More
Price: 
Price Range is based on our extensive pricing research and represents a comparison of cost between the 545 systems on our list. The best way to get a real cost is to request a quote.
Recent recommendations:  71
Our advisors have recommended this product 71 times in the last 30 days. These recommendations are based on buyers' needs. Contact us for a free consultation.
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BirdDogHR Talent Management Suite

The BirdDogHR Talent Management System offers cloud-based applicant tracking and performance management software for organizations in all industries, especially construction, manufacturing, engineering and skilled trades. The Talent... Read More
Rating:  71 reviews
Price: 
Price Range is based on our extensive pricing research and represents a comparison of cost between the 545 systems on our list. The best way to get a real cost is to request a quote.
Recent recommendations:  67
Our advisors have recommended this product 67 times in the last 30 days. These recommendations are based on buyers' needs. Contact us for a free consultation.
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Onboard

HR Cloud’s Onboard application is a full-featured cloud-based onboarding solution for companies large or small doing business in any industry. Onboard allows HR professionals to craft a paperless, self-service onboarding process... Read More
Rating:  22 reviews
Price: 
Price Range is based on our extensive pricing research and represents a comparison of cost between the 545 systems on our list. The best way to get a real cost is to request a quote.
Recent recommendations:  65
Our advisors have recommended this product 65 times in the last 30 days. These recommendations are based on buyers' needs. Contact us for a free consultation.
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Paycor Perform

Paycor’s Perform is an integrated cloud-based software suite that offers functionality to encompasses the entire employee lifecycle - from recruiting and onboarding to time and attendance management. Collectively, the solution offers... Read More
Price: 
Price Range is based on our extensive pricing research and represents a comparison of cost between the 545 systems on our list. The best way to get a real cost is to request a quote.
Recent recommendations:  59
Our advisors have recommended this product 59 times in the last 30 days. These recommendations are based on buyers' needs. Contact us for a free consultation.
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Newton Applicant Tracking

Newton's applicant tracking system is a cloud-based recruiting solution designed by recruiters to help recruiting professionals manage workflows in all stages of recruiting. Newton is fully mobile and can be accessed on any device.... Read More
Rating:  81 reviews
Price: 
Price Range is based on our extensive pricing research and represents a comparison of cost between the 545 systems on our list. The best way to get a real cost is to request a quote.
Recent recommendations:  57
Our advisors have recommended this product 57 times in the last 30 days. These recommendations are based on buyers' needs. Contact us for a free consultation.
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SurePayroll

SurePayroll by Paychex is a cloud-based payroll service for small businesses. It offers resources for tax form completion and legal compliance, payroll calculation, direct deposits and more. SurePayroll has partnered with various... Read More
Rating:  33 reviews
Price: 
Price Range is based on our extensive pricing research and represents a comparison of cost between the 545 systems on our list. The best way to get a real cost is to request a quote.
Recent recommendations:  57
Our advisors have recommended this product 57 times in the last 30 days. These recommendations are based on buyers' needs. Contact us for a free consultation.
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iCIMS Talent Platform

The iCIMS Talent Acquisition Platform provides cloud-based software that enables users to manage the candidate lifecycle.  The TextRecruit module is a mobile engagement platform with text messaging, live chat and natural language... Read More
Price: 
Price Range is based on our extensive pricing research and represents a comparison of cost between the 545 systems on our list. The best way to get a real cost is to request a quote.
Recent recommendations:  53
Our advisors have recommended this product 53 times in the last 30 days. These recommendations are based on buyers' needs. Contact us for a free consultation.
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Performance Pro

Performance Pro by HR Performance Solutions is a cloud-based performance appraisal solution for HR professionals. Performance Pro is customizable and allows users to align the solution with company’s strategic goals. The system can... Read More
Price: 
Price Range is based on our extensive pricing research and represents a comparison of cost between the 545 systems on our list. The best way to get a real cost is to request a quote.
Recent recommendations:  51
Our advisors have recommended this product 51 times in the last 30 days. These recommendations are based on buyers' needs. Contact us for a free consultation.
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JazzHR

JazzHR is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applicant tracking system. Founded in 2009, JazzHR provides recruiting and hiring software accessible to businesses of all sizes. JazzHR’s sourcing tools enable users to post jobs, mirror... Read More
Price: 
Price Range is based on our extensive pricing research and represents a comparison of cost between the 545 systems on our list. The best way to get a real cost is to request a quote.
Recent recommendations:  47
Our advisors have recommended this product 47 times in the last 30 days. These recommendations are based on buyers' needs. Contact us for a free consultation.
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Ascentis

Ascentis offers a cloud-based human capital management (HCM) suite designed for midsize companies of all industries. It includes HR and benefits, recruiting and onboarding, talent management, time and attendance and payroll. Ascentis... Read More
Rating:  35 reviews
Price: 
Price Range is based on our extensive pricing research and represents a comparison of cost between the 545 systems on our list. The best way to get a real cost is to request a quote.
Recent recommendations:  46
Our advisors have recommended this product 46 times in the last 30 days. These recommendations are based on buyers' needs. Contact us for a free consultation.
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Buyer's Guide

Last Updated: December 4, 2018

Human resources software is designed to help organizations manage every aspect of their HR operations, including:

  • Sourcing
  • Recruiting
  • Applicant tracking
  • Personnel tracking
  • Onboarding
  • Time and attendance
  • Payroll
  • Performance reviews
  • Learning management

We created this guide to help you determine which HR applications are best for your organization. Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Human Resources Software?
A Comparison of Top HR Solutions
Overview of HR Applications
Common Features of HR Software
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Market Trends to Understand
Recent Events You Should Know About

What Is Human Resources Software?

Human resources (HR) software solutions make managing a large or growing workforce more efficient. Vendors and buyers alike often refer to this category of software as human resources information systems (HRIS), human resources management systems (HRMS) or human capital management (HCM) software (though if you want to get specific, each of those categories has its own nuances).

What all HR solutions have in common is their ability to streamline the traditional HR functions of benefits administration, personnel tracking and payroll. But in addition to increasing your productivity by automating many of these administrative processes, HR software can also support you on a strategic level, by helping you to recruit, develop and manage your company’s most valuable resource: its people.

A Comparison of Top HR Solutions

There are many popular accounting solutions on the market, and it can be hard to know what distinguishes one product from another and which is right for you. To help you better understand how the top accounting systems stack up against one another, we created a series of side-by-side product comparison pages that break down the details of what each solution offers in terms of pricing, applications, ease of use, support and more:

Top ADP Comparisons Top Bamboo HR Comparisons Top Namely Comparisons
ADP vs. Zenefits
Paylocity vs. ADP
Namely vs. ADP
Bamboo HR vs. Zenefits Namely vs. ADP
Top Paychex Comparisons Top Paylocity Comparisons Top Workday Comparisons
Zenefits vs. Paychex Paylocity vs. ADP Zenefits vs. Workday
Top Zenefits Comparisons    
ADP vs. Zenefits
Bamboo HR vs. Zenefits
Zenefits vs. Paychex
Zenefits vs. Workday

Overview of HR Applications 

Industry watchers break down the field of HR software into three main categories: Core HR, Workforce Management and Strategic HR—also called Talent Management or Talent Administration software.

HR Software Functionality

Core HR encompasses the three traditional human resources management functions: benefits administration, personnel tracking and payroll. Every company will require these functions once it has reached a critical mass of employees. You need core HR functionality when, for instance, manually running payroll and managing employees with spreadsheets becomes too burdensome a task.

Workforce management, or Workforce administration as it is also called, comprises the range of software solutions intended to effectively schedule and track your workforce. These solutions are ideal for organizations whose employees work in shifts, and include applications to track time and attendance, monitor compliance with labor laws and usually include payroll functionality, or integrate well with other payroll software. It's important to note that there are industry-specific systems that offer attendance functionality outside of human resources software. Specifically, school administration software provides education organizations a means of tracking student attendance. This can include providing online portals for parents and teachers to monitor attendance online.

Strategic HR involves growing your company by attracting and developing the best people, as well as better managing your workforce overall. Strategic HR applications generally provide some combination of applicant tracking and recruiting, learning management as well as performance review functionality. This type of software streamlines these strategic processes to ensure that a company is using its staff as efficiently as possible, and also that employees are continuing to grow and develop—increasing employee satisfaction and retention rates.

Of course, core HR, workforce management and strategic HR functions often overlap. While there are best-of-breed solutions for individual functions in each category, there are also integrated suites boasting across-the-board functionality.

Common Features of HR Software

Core HR

Benefits administration Manages employee benefits such as paid time off, medical/dental/life insurance policies and 401k participation. Example vendors: OmnipriseHRM, Epicor HR, Triton HR.
Personnel tracking Centralizes employee data, such as SSN, contact information, past employment and demographic information. Example vendors: Sage HRMS, Ascentis, Lawson HR.
Payroll Tracks employee salaries, bonuses, 401k contributions, health and other deductions; calculates withholding for taxes; and cuts paychecks. Most solutions provide integration for direct deposit as well. Example vendors: Halogen, Vista HRMS, Tribe HR.

Workforce Management

Time & attendance Helps staff track employee attendance and absences, and enables employees to clock in and out. Many solutions also track PTO and sick days. Rules-based engines provide alerts when employees miss or perform established amounts of work. Example vendors: TimeForge Labor Management, LaborVIEW, Kronos.
Employee scheduling Provides functionality for scheduling employee shifts and attendance to ensure compliance with staffing needs. Systems can schedule employees across departments, locations and projects, and provide alerts to employees when schedules change and when staffing levels are inadequate. Example vendors: Ascentis, Sage HRMS, UltiPro.

Strategic HR

Applicant tracking systems (ATS) Provides a centralized database that lets recruiters store applicant information and employment applications throughout the application process. Features include candidate tracking, applicant status monitoring and direct integration with other HR applications. In addition, many vendors include on-boarding features, like the ability to perform background checks. Example vendors: iCIMS, MarketRate, NuViewHR.
Employee evaluation Also known as performance review software, these applications offer a centralized system where supervisors can conduct and track reviews with employees. Features performance measuring, tracking and goal management. Example vendors: Empower by ECI, Cornerstone CSB, People-Trak.
Learning & development Establishes a centralized hub to monitor new employee training and the ongoing skills development of existing employees. Features include content authoring and management, curriculum and certification path definition, testing and reporting. Example vendors: Prosperity LMS, Halogen Talent Management Suite, SmartTeam.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Given the wide variety of popular HR software available, the task of choosing one solution is daunting. To help you narrow the field, below we present four common buyer goals. One or more of these goals might align with your needs.

Streamline HR administrative tasks. If you’re a small to medium-sized company with no HR software, or you are using a few standalone solutions that you want to consolidate, you should consider an integrated HR suite. This will automate your more basic HR functions with a single system. Representative vendors: Sage HRMS, SAP - HR, Vista HRMS.

Boost efficiency when recruiting and hiring candidates. If you need to scale your workforce quickly, a best-of-breed recruiting and applicant tracking solution might be your best option. Many of these solutions can automatically post jobs to job boards and social media outlets, in addition to simplifying candidate tracking and on-boarding of new employees. With searchable databases of candidates and robust reporting capabilities, you can make the most of your current candidate pool, while expanding your talent base. Representative vendors: SuccessFactors, COMPAS, GoHire.

Manage a large pool of employees working in shifts. If you are faced with the task of staffing a workday with multiple shifts to assign and time-off requests to approve—such as the shift-work found at hospitals, grocery stores or restaurants—and need better tools to track your workforce, you need to build up the workforce administration pillar of your HRIS. Many solutions either feature a built-in payroll system to help when running massive payrolls, or integrate effectively with your current payroll software to ensure all hours worked by employees are compensated. Representative vendors: LaborView, TimeAttend, TimeForce.

Develop your workforce. You want to ensure that your best employees are recognized and rewarded so they stay with your company and continue to do great work. The broad category of talent management solutions help you do that, with everything from performance appraisal solutions, to systems for gathering peer feedback, to employee training tools. Benefits include increased retention rates, higher morale and greater employee productivity. Representative vendors: Halogen Talent Management Suite, Kenexa2x, NuView HR.

Market Trends to Understand

As you evaluate a human resources management system, it is helpful to understand a few current trends in this industry.

Consolidation of cloud-based HR software start-up vendors. Recently, there has been a trend in the HR software world toward consolidating as many applications as possible under one vendor. As such, companies have focused on developing integrated suites that allow HR departments to track an employee’s entire life cycle within an organization.

To that end, many best-of-breed providers have been acquired by larger vendors looking to extend the breadth of their integrated suite solutions. For instance, in 2012, SAP acquired SuccessFactors; Oracle bought Taleo (one of SuccessFactors’ competitors) and Salesforce.com completed its integration of Rypple, a social performance platform.

For buyers, this offers the opportunity to benefit from larger corporate resources, but it can also lead to disruptions as acquired companies are integrated and product offerings are rationalized. In anticipation, buyers should lock in rates and service/maintenance terms in their contract as this can save them a headache down the line.

Adoption of software as a service. HR software vendors have widely embraced the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), or “Web-based,” deployment method. SaaS applications are easily implemented and updated, and can be accessed by HR staff and employees from almost any device with an Internet connection. Although most SaaS applications allow for some level of customization, it is important to realize that customization options to support your company’s unique needs can be somewhat limited.

TimeForce Employee Self-Service Portal

Vendors such as TimeForce allow employees to request time-off through their Web-based system

Consumerization of HR software technology. A major shift in the development of enterprise software has been the emergence of consumer markets as a primary source of technology innovation—a trend called consumerization. From social media as a recruiting tool to mobile apps for managing HR on the go, consumer technologies are changing the way HR technology is being used. Vendors are beefing up collaborative capabilities in their systems and developing more intuitive user interfaces. When selecting the human resources system that’s best for you, third-party reviews of product features are a great way to distinguish which vendors will deliver.

Bullhorn Mobile
Vendors such as Bullhorn feature mobile accessibility

Recent Events You Should Know About

Sage announces stake in Fairsail. In May 2016, Sage announced a minority investment of £10 million in Fairsail, a cloud-based HR software vendor. Through the partnership, Fairsail will become the “platform of choice” to accompany Sage’s X3 Business Management Solution for midsize customers.

Ultimate Software acquires Kanjoya, announces UltiPro Perception. In September 2016, Ultimate Software acquired Kanjoya, a cloud-based workforce intelligence platform. Ultimate leveraged the technology in Kanjoya to develop and announce UltiPro Perception—a tool to “collect, understand and act on employee feedback.” UltiPro Perception will be available to UltiPro customers in January 2017.

Zenefits releases Z2 update. Zenefits, a small business HR software provider, released a major update to their platform called “Z2” in October 2016. The update changed the look and feel of current applications and added wholly new functions, services and mobile apps. Learn more here.

FrontRunners® for HRIS Management, October 2018

FrontRunners History: 

FrontRunners Vendors Defined

Take this short survey so we can help you identify the products that best fit your needs.


What Is the FrontRunners Quadrant?


A Graphic of the Top-Rated Human Resources Information System Products

FrontRunners uses real reviews from real software users to highlight the top software products for North American small businesses.

Our goal is to help small businesses to make more informed decisions about what software is right for them. That’s why we engineered FrontRunners.

To create this report, we evaluated over 366 Human Resource Information System (HRIS) products. Only those with the top scores for Usability and User Recommended made the cut as FrontRunners.

FrontRunners-Vendor-Collateral

Scores are based on reviews from real software users.

What’s the Difference Between the “Small Vendor” and “Enterprise Vendor” Views?


The Different Graphics Show Different Sizes of Vendors

Small and Enterprise refer to the size of the software vendor company—not necessarily the size of customers they serve.

We break vendors into two groups for two reasons: It’s a more equal comparison of products, and software buyers have told us it’s helpful.

To determine who’s Small and who’s Enterprise, we look at how many employees the vendors have. All products in FrontRunners, whether Enterprise or Small, are evaluated using the same process.

Each graphic shows the top 10-15 performers for each the Enterprise and Small vendor categories. You can switch views simply by clicking on the version you’d like to see (above the graphic). You can read more in the full FrontRunners methodology here.

How Are FrontRunners Products Selected?


Products Are Scored Based on User Reviews


The gist is that products are scored in two areas—Usability and User Recommended—based on actual user ratings.

To be considered at all, products must have at least 20 reviews published within the previous 18 months, and meet minimum user rating scores. They also have to offer a core set of functionality—for example, HRIS products have to be able to act as the system of record for employee data with personnel tracking and reporting capabilities.

From there, user reviews dictate the Usability and User Recommended scores. Usability is plotted on the x-axis and User Recommended on the y-axis.

You can download the full FrontRunners for HRIS Software report here. It contains individual scorecards for each product on the FrontRunners quadrant.

Got It. But What if I Have More Questions?


Check Out Our Additional Resources!

Have questions about how to choose the right product for you? You’re in luck! Every day, our team of advisors provides (free) customized shortlists of products to hundreds of small businesses.

  • Simply take this short questionnaire to help us match you with products that meet your specific needs. 
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For more information about FrontRunners, check out the following:

  • The “FrontRunners FAQs for Technology Providers,” linked at the top of this page, for detailed answers to commonly-asked questions. 
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  • The complete FrontRunners methodology to understand the scoring.
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  • For information on how to reference FrontRunners, check out the FrontRunners External Usage Guidelines. Except in digital media with character limitations, the following disclaimer MUST appear with any/all FrontRunners reference(s) and graphic use: 

FrontRunners constitute the subjective opinions of individual end-user reviews, ratings, and data applied against a documented methodology; they neither represent the views of, nor constitute an endorsement by, Software Advice or its affiliates.