THE CLARUS STORY
The Clarus solution began in 2009 as a consultation-based service focusing on the convergence of business process and technology in the credential, certification and licensure industry. The creation of the Crucible human-scored testing solution gave way to the obvious need for a Candidate Management System (CMS) for dental licensure candidates who were pursuing a credential with a regional or international dental testing board.
As Clarus matured it expanded into other markets, including allied health, construction, cosmetology, energy, environmental, physical science, real estate, sports medicine, state and federal regulatory, and more. Small, medium, and large organizations are coming to recognize that automating their core competency is one of the most crucial steps to well-managed organization.
- Small organizations: As startup and small credentialing organizations are growing, Clarus offers a straightforward, simple, one-stop-shop solution to equip their small staff to effectively manage operations with one goal: automate the core competency of the organization – enabling customers to become credentialed. Clarus Lite is often the best option for organizations with 1-10 employees and up to $750,000 to $1M in revenue.
- Mid-level organizations: As credentialing organizations emerge into the mid-level market, Clarus helps segment, automate, measure, and grow credential offerings, candidate pools, and program revenue. Clarus Standard is often the best option for organizations with 10-20 employees and between $1M – $3M in revenue.
- Large organizations: As an organization grows beyond 20 employees, bypassing the $3M revenue mark, leadership realize that an automated system designed exclusively for credential and candidate management (running in tandem with an ASM and/or CRM) makes the most business sense for efficient management, customer satisfaction, and program revenues. For this reason, large organizations take advantage of Clarus Platform, allowing for customizations that are often specific to their size and growth.
More organizations – non-profit and for-profit are turning to Clarus for credentialing industry standards and best practices that are baked-in, and not just bolted on to their homegrown system, or Association Management System (AMS) or Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) system.
Perhaps your organization is ready for an industry-exclusive platform? Continue reading to get informed.
In its first two iterations, Clarus matured within the same industry. As subsequent iterations were released, Clarus stretched to encompass a variety of other industries in which credentialing organizations have discovered and benefited from Clarus’ 5 primary purposes:
- Manage the entire lifecycle of candidates and their credentials: from profile creation to exam selection and registration, to payment and scheduling, to exam results and continuing education, to renewal and recertification.
- Reduce the administrative overhead required in managing candidates.
- Automate each user’s experience, including candidate, staff, proctor, examiner, employer, instructor, et. al.
- Enforce an organization’s credentialing policy.
- Deploy a SaaS, off-the-shelf approach to a candidate management software solution with a customizable user experience.
WHAT WE SOLVE
Credentialing organizations are formed with one mission: to establish legally-defensible standards of compliance by which candidates may measure their industry knowledge and performance in their desired field of labor, and be recognized and distinguished as competent enough to serve the public interest.
Managing the massive workflow required to maintain a credentialing organization is a significant administrative burden. Systems, workflows, stages, phases, processes, and tasks within the organization can require a degree of administrative labor from staff that begins to eclipse their focus on the primary mission. This is often made especially difficult by the challenges of:
- Task-switching between different sources of information (portals, spreadsheets, third-party sites, etc.)
- Constantly resolving of customer service issues
- Empirically knowing which candidates are in what stages of the workflow.
- Accurately intuiting the next action on each candidate.
- Every candidate represents an opportunity to sustain and grow the reputation of the organization, or an equally potential threat to the primary mission. The focus of each staff member should be the care and review of every potential customer, current candidate and credential holder. This is in order to ensure that each person’s experience with the organization builds a solid reputation, and so that the organization’s standards are not compromised.
Clarus converges credentialing industry standards and best practices and software technology to automate as much as possible, allowing staff to stay focused on the primary mission.
For a decade, Clarus has proven international experience in candidate management within for-profit and not-for-profit industries, as well as voluntary and regulatory sectors including:
Clarus also serves to work seamlessly with the Crucible solution as an all-in-one, turnkey approach to facilitating and managing candidates requiring human-scored assessments for the pursuit of a credential or license.
Implementing and maintaining infrastructure for disaster recovery, backups and PCI compliance is an expensive venture for most organizations. Credentialing organizations require cash flow from program revenue to maintain these mission-critical operations. Read more about these requirements and controls in the sections below.
BrightLink is maintains and support the entire information technology infrastructure for our software services, including all computers, software, databases, electronic systems (including firewalls, gateways, database management systems and operating systems) and networks used by or for our access to client instances of our systems. Included is the prevention of any unauthorized access to client systems through our systems.
Processing tens of millions of dollars in transactions monthly, BrightLink adheres to and is compliant with the strict standards of PCI Security Standards Council “Data Security Standard (DSS)” v. 3.2 (April 2016),with compensating controls in place where differing. This includes quarterly third-party PCI compliance audits with Control Scan. PCI / DSS requirements pertaining to this security layer include:
- Requirement 3: BrightLink systems never store sensitive authentication data after authorization. This includes the primary account number (PAN) printed on the front of a payment card, stored on the card’s magnetic strip or chip, or personal ID numbers entered by a cardholder.
- Requirement 7: BrightLink strictly limits access to servers based on personnel needs dictated by roles and responsibilities.
- Requirement 12: BrightLink has an internal policy of zero-tolerance for any PII on any non-LIVE system.
BrightLink maintains a secure network and/or relationships with vendors who are also PCI DSS compliant, following the respective requirements:
- Requirement 1: Installation and maintenance of firewall configuration for cardholder data protection.
- Requirement 2: Prohibition of vendor-supplied default credentials and security parameters.
- Requirement 4: Encryption of transmitted cardholder data across open and public networks.
- Requirement 5: Protection of all systems against malware with regularly updated malware tools.
- Requirement 6: Development and maintenance of secure systems and applications.
- Requirement 8: Identification and authentication of access to system components.
- Requirement 9: Restriction of physical access to cardholder data.
- Requirement 10: Tracking and monitoring of all access to network resources and cardholder data.
- Requirement 11: Regular testing of security systems and processes.
We implement multifactor authentication, password, and complexity requirements. Data access is strictly limited based on operational roles and responsibilities. BrightLink forces all connections to 100% SSL encryption.
BrightLink maintains complete and accurate records relating to its data protection practices for each of our clients, including any backup, disaster recovery or other policies, practices or procedures relating to their confidential information.
BrightLink maintains – directly and/or indirectly – disaster avoidance procedures designed to safeguard client data and confidential information, our processing capability and the availability of the our software and services.
We simultaneously host a secondary backup facility with a mirror system at a hardened data center facility in the United States that is physically separate from the primary system on which the software and hosted services are hosted. Except for its location and housing facility, the mirror system:
- is identical in all respects to the primary system
- contains hardware and software, network connectivity, power supplies, backup generators and other similar equipment and services that operate independently of the primary system
- maintains fully current backups of all client confidential information stored on the primary system;
- has the ability to provide the hosted software and services during the performance of routine and remedial maintenance or any outage or failure of the primary system fails.
BrightLink operates, monitors and maintains this mirror system so that it may be activated within two (2) hours of any primary server error (P1 Error) where software and services are hosted.
BrightLink provides data backups at our sole cost and expense. Daily backups of client confidential information on the primary server are stored in a mutually contracted location. Daily backups are also made of the redundant / mirror system. Upon request from the client we will provide the data in a machine readable structured file format.
BrightLink maintains a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan for our hosted software and services in the event of any unplanned interruption. A copy can be provided to the client upon request. We actively test, review and update this plan at least once annually using industry best practices as guidance.
The Clarus credential management system platform is designed with the following fundamental advantages.
Clarus was built for one purpose: to manage and automate your credentialing organization’s candidates, credentials, certifications, and licenses, as well as the workflows, business rules, details, and communications that are unique to industry-specific organizations.
Clarus is developed and maintained by a software company exclusively devoted to solving the operational challenges of the credentialing industry with the convergence of business processes and technology. Credentialing is not something do in addition to other pursuits and clients. It is the only thing we do.
Clarus was built from the ground up with industry standards and best practices across a variety of vertical markets. It was not designed to be a module, plugin, or add-on “bolted” to an existing solution. As such, it serves the primary mission of a credentialing organization:
- protect and maintain the value and legal defensibility of a credential
- effectively transition users through the lifecycle of customer to candidate to credential holder to renewal.
Clarus manages and automates the business rules and requirements for each component of the entire lifecycle of your credentialing organization’s offerings. Following are a complete list of workflow controls which may or may not be implemented, depending on business requirements.
- Certification or Licensure Mode: organization-specific workflow control based on offering types.
- Profile creation: candidate-created (preferred method) and staff-created, including the collection and and reporting on any information required for each candidate.
- Exam Application: supporting as many exams as your organization offers, and exam types, including online and paper.
- Prerequisite Questions:
- Exam Form Versions: for 1st party exams, multiple form version creation and management.
- Application Survey: communicating and collecting requirement-driven information.
- Attestations: specific to each exam, if required.
- Special Accommodations: ADA-specific language with candidate selection option and additional communication.
- Checkout: automating entire candidate experience and merchant setup with staff.
- Payment: candidate-pay or institution-pay, including country-specific sales settings.
- Exam Prep Materials: integration with LMS for seamless selection and checkout experience, including institution/instructor created and uploaded courses and materials.
- Staff Review: before checkout (deferred scheduling) or after checkout (direct scheduling)
- Original Source and Eligibility Verification: collecting any candidate paper documentation.
- Roster Verification: determining which application types require verification.
- Approval / Denial: with internal logs and external communications for reasons and remediation.
- Exam Scheduling: for 1st party testing locations and 3rd party testing companies.
- Exam Results: imports from third-party APIs (full integration with Crucible for practical exams), pass/fail or numeric score, result details, results release control.
- Exam Retakes: including no additional payment, same payment for retake, different payment for retake, and alternate scheduling, if required.
- Credential Maintenance: automated reporting to candidate on maintenance requirements.
- Continuing Education: see Exam Prep Materials above; includes internal, external, online, marketplace, provider-created continuing education courses; and payment and reporting included.
- Renewal / Recertification: automated communication on expiration and renewal at required frequencies.
- Renewal Survey: collecting and reporting on any required information at renewal at any distribution ratios required.
- Automated Communications: event-and-action-based emails and notifications and system-wide notifications.
- Secure Messaging: candidate-specific communication with organization staff.
- Actor-Action Logs: every actor, every action, including manual notes and uploads.
Baked into the Lifecycle Management (see prior), Clarus implements your organization’s business rules around event-based communications with candidates and credential holders. Allowing you to create customized messages to targeted users who either take or need to take specific actions, Clarus automates the most fundamental, repeatable, policy-driven communication candidates and credential holders need to know.
These messages may include all users of your system through dashboard notifications, or some users of your system through customized, personalized, HTML-based email notifications. Permissioned staff may also create their own dashboard notifications for system-wide distribution. Typical examples that come off-the-shelf with Clarus include:
Clarus can flex with your credentialing organization’s candidate workflow. More often than not, Clarus also assists in refining, optimizing, and streamlining the candidate workflow. With Clarus, staff are equipped to efficiently manage every candidate in every workflow phase through customized reporting and intuitive, actionable steps.
Clarus allows credentialing organization staff to locate and access any candidate and their respective information at any point in the lifecycle, at the click of a mouse in seconds. Intuitive workflow on details for each candidate include:
- Information: Candidate ID, contact information, status, language, including ability for staff to login as the candidate to assist during customer service needs or calls (with all actions logged as such).
- Applications: presenting list of all applications made by the candidate including app number, organization, exam section(s), facility, exam date, application creation date, testing method, sections, status, provisional, results, and scores.
- Candidate History: logging each and every action taken with or on behalf of a specific candidate logged for visibility and accountability, including manual entry notes field with upload option.
- Certifications / Licenses: current certs or licenses held by the candidate, including ID, cert or license #, effective date, renewal date, expiration date, status, and view/add/edit actions (with manual addition option).
- Continuing Education: type, credits / units earned, course title, completion date, expiration date, category, and view/add/edit actions.
- Profile: allowing staff to access/edit as needed by candidate (with actions logged as staff).
- Document Verification: document types, last updated, status, processing date, and view/add/edit actions.
- Emails: event-action-based, system-generated communication to candidate.
- Secure Messages: internal candidate-specific communication between staff and candidate portal, including document upload.
Paying and waiting for additional software development to integrate your Credential Management System with an e-commerce platform, in addition to maintenance, upgrades, and strict adherence and compliance with PCI/DSS requirements can be costly and time-consuming. What is more, this is not the core competency of a credentialing organization.
Offering payment processing by check and major credit cards, Clarus provides a built-in checkout, fully integrated within the same platform, for a seamless experience for your candidates and credential holders from beginning to end. Ledger reporting within the administrative interface allows for integration with accounting software, with APIs available for custom integration.
Clarus uses interactive data views and innovative business intelligence “Perspectives” to manage any candidates in any workflow phase.
Handling credential verification requests can be a drain on your customer support team including, but not limited to, calling multiple, different sources and waiting days or even weeks for verification documentation, and subsequent follow up if that documentation does not meet regulations. This is costly not only for the credentialing organization, but also for the employer or institution and for the credential holder whose career hangs in the balance.
To resolve this challenge, Clarus closes the communication loop among credential holders, credentialing organization, employers, institutional and jurisdictional users, state boards, and school coordinators with instant, self-service, secure access to credential original source verification.
- Third-parties can perform inquiries through Clarus’ built-in credential verification portal.
- Credential holders can send authorized proof of credential from Clarus to one or more recipients.
Clarus enables credentialing organizations to defragment disparate sources of candidate information into rapidly, flexibly and securely updated information. Our goal is to provide a one-stop experience for candidates and staff, reducing and/or eliminating the need for varying databases, spreadsheets, paper file systems, and portals.
Clarus is accessible by permissioned users from any location with an internet connection. Candidates may access Clarus from any internet-enabled desktop computer or mobile device. Clarus may also be customized for access within client-based server infrastructure as well.
Clarus Compass business intelligence dashboard implements organization-specific requirements for leadership to track up-to-date figures, including renewal history and forecasting for budget and staff planning, candidate engagement, and more.
Clarus offers two important security controls for candidate and staff login.
- Customized Password Requirements: including maximum failed login attempts, password lockout time, maximum password age, minimum days before password use, password length, required types (min/max uppercase, lowercase, and special characters).
- User-specific Multi-factor Authentication: if required.
One of the biggest challenges of customer service and support staff includes email and manual copying/pasting or downloading/uploading correspondence of candidate and credential holder digital communication into appropriate destinations. Many organizations give up on being able to defragment this information into a single source of access for each client individually.
Clarus comes standard with Secure Messaging, offering a single source for staff and users to communicate. Offering both staff and candidates the ability to initiate two-way messaging, both parties may upload and download documentation. Messaging is recorded in threads for easy review and access directly from within the candidate’s record of detail (CRD), and any documents exchanged are stored within the same CRD.
For candidates, Clarus emails them regarding the secure message awaiting them at their next login, with a direct link to the message. For staff, a candidate’s communication is awaiting review in the Secure Messages Perspective, as a part of the workflow.
Candidates still desiring to communicate by email may be accommodated through the normal copying/pasting of email content into the notes section of the CRD.
Clarus databases are stored in distributed, secure locations for disaster recovery purposes, and are backed up in real time. Data recovery, in case of emergency, is available to within a five minute window of your selected date and time. Whether 1,000 candidates and credential holders or 1,000,000, and regardless of your organization’s projected growth and timeline, Clarus can securely grow as you grow.
Keeping candidates informed of their renewal or recertification requirements and timeline, and connecting these requirements to credential maintenance opportunities (e.g. continuing education resources, classes, webinars, e-books, tutorials, sample tests, etc.) is essential to increasing the probability of renewal. In turn, this is both essential to cash flow and discovering additional revenue opportunities. Clarus comes standard with the following credential maintenance features and functionality.
- Continuing Education portal: configurable by staff for first-party and third-party offerings in an Amazon-like search-and-shop experience.
- Student Portal: offer your candidates a variety of resources for additional learning opportunities including third-party, institution-based, and/or instructor-created courses and resources through integration with Learning Management Systems (LMS).
- Universal Audits: equip your staff with the ability to audit all renewals that require credential maintenance, including configurations within a specific time period (optional) either globally by percentage of overall credential renewals, or by credential type.
Clarus comes pre-built with basic guides and tours for asynchronous, self-guided training and learning for staff. Additional custom guides may be created in line with your organization’s workflow, policies, and processes for both staff and candidates.
As an organization formed out of consultation work in this industry, we have come to understand a critical component. We champion among credentialing organizations the crucial concept of convergence: the science and art of creating the space for business process and technology to mutually improve one another.
Our experience has proven that business processes and technology must mature together.
- Technology cannot be allowed to drive business systems.
- Business process should not be able to dictate the solutions that technology innovates.
BrightLink has proven that technology informs business process, while business process communicates the value and need it requires from technology.
Clarus is a SaaS solution built on this convergence, with best practices “baked in.” This contrasts with other solutions that may have a credential management solution “bolted on” to a product not originally designed for the credentialing industry.
Clarus Navigator offers the consultation that built Clarus without any obligation to use Clarus. This allows our clients to take advantage of the convergence philosophy of managing a credentialing organization that must be scalable, stable, and secure in the 21st century.
For organizations producing up to $750,000 annually in program revenue, Clarus Lite offers an off-the-shelf approach to a CMS. Intended to help an organization get momentum and traction quickly with automating and managing their processes, Clarus Lite offers the following components:
- Customizations & Enhancements: None.
- Annual Transaction Limit: $1,000,000 USD
- Included Support: 4 Hrs Monthly for use with technical support only. Software development is excluded. Additional hours are billed at the hourly technical support rate. Hours expire at the end of each month.
- Version Upgrades: up to 2 annual upgrades
- White Labeling: Logo only
- Setup Cost: Contact us for pricing.
- Labor: 40 hours at no additional cost, for use with system setup, data migration, training, or any other service BrightLink offers.
- Monthly Service Fee: Contact us for pricing.
For organizations producing up to $3,000,000 annually in program revenue, Clarus Standard offers the off-the-shelf experience of Clarus Lite with customizations as requested via business requirements and business rules. Intended to help an organization quickly consolidate and efficiently convert existing operations and processes to an automated experience, Clarus Standard offers the following components:
- Customizations & Enhancements: Non-structural customizations at the discretion of BrightLink.
- Annual Transaction Limit: $750,001 to $3,000,000 USD
- Included Support: 10 Hrs Monthly for use with technical support only.Software development is excluded. Additional hours are billed at the hourly technical support rate. Hours expire at the end of each month.
- Version Upgrades: Up to 1 per quarter, after implementation quarter.
- White Labeling: Logo + Branding Colors
- Setup Cost: Contact us for pricing.
- Labor: 150 hours at no additional cost, for use with system setup, data migration, training, or any other service BrightLink offers.
- Monthly Service Fee: Contact us for pricing.
For organizations producing more than $3,000,000 annually in program revenue, Clarus Platform offers the Clarus Standard experience with the customizations required for larger organizations and their operations or workflow specifications. Intended to help specific departments within a large organization manage their core competency with the highest efficiency, Clarus Platform offers the following components:
- Custom Product Enhancements: Unlimited
- Annual Transaction Limit: $3,000,001 and up
- Included Support: 200 Hrs Monthly for use with technical support only. Software development is excluded. Additional hours are billed at the hourly technical support rate. Hours expire at the end of each month.
- Version Upgrades: Up to 2 per month
- White Labeling: Fully custom
- Setup Cost: Contact us for pricing.
- Labor: 300 hours at no additional cost, for use with system setup, data migration, training, or any other service BrightLink offers.
- Monthly Service Fee: Contact us for pricing.