SumTotal Bidding War Continues – HR Software gets Hotter

The LMS market continues to heat up as two private equity firms bid for SumTotal Systems.  LMS 2009This week Vista Equity Partners upped its bid to $4.75 a share (up from $3.80 several weeks ago), bringing SumTotal’s market capitalization to over $150 Million.  (This is nearly twice the market cap of Saba, who’s revenues are roughly equal.)

(For prior information on this whole story, please read The Bidding War for SumTotal Systems.)

We are finally starting to see the financial community understand the tremendous market potential for learning and talent platforms.   While we did not see a lot of growth in this market in Q1 of 2009, (more details on the slump here), the potential for growth is now well recognized.  

Saba just signed an impressive partnership with IBM.   CornerstoneOnDemand just obtained another $17M in funding, signed a significant partnership with ADP, and recorded record revenues in Q1.  Workday just raised $75M (they are building a pretty big warchest), and both Taleo and SuccessFactors are entering new product cycles which will drive future growth.    

The demand is coming, and as the economy recovers we expect to see the talent management software grow rapidly once again.  

This week we met with HR and IT leaders from two large insurance companies, a large bank, and a large global manufacturer and each of these companies are actively rebuilding their HR IS infrastructure to implement a more complete, integrated solution.    Over the next few years most large companies will revamp their talent management software and replace standalone systems with integrated solutions.

And this extends to mid-sized organizations as well.  Today a business can purchase a complete talent management platform on-demand, and when ADP formally enters the market then we know it has hit the mainstream.

Lots more to come…