Elephants of HR Software Enter the Talent Management Market

Over the last ten years or so the talent management software providers have had a party building up a $3 billion, fast-growing marketplace. Now, starting in 2011 and 2012, the elephants from the markets of core HR have arrived – and they plan to come in and start making the party a lot messier.

Last week I met with 30+ of the major providers of talent management at the HR Technology Conference, and I also had the opportunity to spend time at OracleWorld in San Francisco – and want to mention a few of the big elephants entering the space:  ADP and Oracle in particular, and then say a word about Silkroad.

ADP Vantage HCM:  Totally Integrated HCM and Talent Management

One of the more impressive announcements at the show was ADP Vantage HCM.

Vantage HCM is a totally integrated platform (SaaS based) built from internally developed systems (Workscape, VirtualEdge,  and other tools).  The system goes far beyond talent management because it integrates payroll, benefits, time and labor management, payroll administration, as well as talent management and social networking into an entire platform solution.   For a mid-sized organization, it looks great.  While the user experience is not as sexy or exciting as some of the newer players, the offering is a “complete HCM solution” similar to what Oracle, SAP, Workday, Lawson, and other ERP providers are offering.

The clear trend in this market is integration.  More than 35% of the companies we surveyed in our last talent management customer satisfaction research told us they would sacrifice functional features for a single-vendor solution.  Hence all the acquisitions taking place.

Vantage HCM is now in pilot and will be being sold to mid-sized companies (1,000-20,000 employees) starting next April.  While ADP is new to the sales and implementation of this type of offering, I expect many companies to sign up for this solution because it is so well integrated and complete.

Next ADP announced the acquisition of The Right Thing, one of the leaders in the recruitment process outsourcing market.  The Right Thing was a leading provider of recruitment services, and also owns AIRS, a leading recruitment processing platform (applicant tracking system).  Again this shows how serious ADP is about getting into the talent management businesses which surround core payroll and HR administration.  Companies of all sizes continuously need help with recruitment, and The Right Thing has a deep expertise in all aspects of modern recruiting.

Oracle Fusion HCM:  Flexible and Finally Here

The second elephant now in this market is Oracle.  With thousands of customers running various versions of Peoplesoft and Oracle e-Business Suite, Oracle knows that the Fusion HCM has a big opportunity.  I had the opportunity to attend a strategic briefing with Oracle and customers and Fusion HCM is finally here.

Just so you have a little background, Fusion started in 2004 as a middleware engineering effort to help Oracle integrate its wide variety of application products (PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Siebel, Oracle, ..) into a next generation applications platform.  The middleware architecture includes a variety of services (data services, authentication, identity management, security, content management, data intelligence, etc.) which enable the Fusion HCM applications to interoperate with any PeopleSoft or Oracle system.  What this means is that you do not have to replace your existing PeopleSoft or Oracle applications to use Fusion HCM.

I talked with Principal Financial Group who is an early customer (existing PeopleSoft customer) and they are using Fusion HCM’s compensation module alongside their existing PeopleSoft system.

Fusion HCM has some best-of-breed capabilities.  One key feature is what Oracle calls the “Workforce Predictions” module, which computes the risk attributes of employees based on tenure, performance, role, compa ratio, etc.  Oracle worked with Saratoga and other HR data experts to build this module – and it will grow in power as more people use the system.

While Oracle’s products are not always the easiest to use, Fusion HCM is now a complete product and can be adopted without a massive replacement of existing HRMS investments.  This will make Oracle’s offering more compelling than ever and the company has made a major investment in sales and marketing to help drive this message forward.

Forcing the Remaining Players Moving Faster than Ever

As this shows, the talent management market has now become large enough to attract the big players – forcing the mid-sized and smaller companies to move faster and increase innovation.  These innovations fall into the categories of integration (further expansion of talent modules), consumerization (making the application easier to use), mobile (moving talent management to mobile platforms), and analytics (making the systems smarter and more data rich for decision-making).  A few of the announcements this last week include:

  • Cornerstone previewed their recruiting product (which many months from being ready).
  • Silkroad introduced a very exciting new product called Point (screen shot below) which I believe has the potential to “set the stage” for the consumerization of user experiences.  Note, SilkRoad is one of the few newer talent management companies that has its own HRMS as well – this company has built a tremendous platform for mid-market companies to implement end-to-end talent management.
  • Taleo introduced improvements to its Facebook integration with its Talent Grid and a bold advertising campaign to demonstrate the business value of “talent intelligence,” a concept the company is trying to own.  Facebook is growing in importance as a talent acquisition platform, with new tools like Branchout and BeKnown now focused on making Facebook more professional.
  • SuccessFactors introduced Jam (a newly integrated user experience which brings Cubetree Social Networking and Mobile to performance management) and a powerful new mobile application (which I personally believe plays in the mobile informal learning market in a big way).  The company also started a bold new black and white marketing campaign to clearly state “we have it all.”
  • Lumesse announced the acquisition of a fantastic LMS and learning solutions company Edvantage Group (who we have known for years), which greatly enhances the company’s learning solution – with both an enhanced LMS platform and a large library of content to resell.
  • We were particularly excited to see an exciting new interviewing platform from HireVue (this company is opening up a whole new market), a deep look at Bloomfire, a hot new mobile knowledge sharing platform, and WiseTail – a new social learning LMS we are considering using internally.


Fig 1: SilkRoad Point – Next Generation User Experience

Bottom Line:  Talent Management Software is Hotter than Ever

The bottom line on this whole market (and our 2012 research reports will be out in the next 30 days) is that given all the growth, the big guys are now here – so buyers have more options than ever, and it is more likely than ever that the vendor you select may be acquired. We are planning on releasing three major research reports this Fall: Talent Management Systems 2012 (the market size and dynamics), Talent Management Systems Buyer’s Guide, and Customer Experience with Talent Management Systems. Research members will get all these studies at no charge.

I look forward to comments and would always love to talk about this market with you directly…

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