Kenexa bought by IBM – What this means for Talent Acquisition
Until this morning’s announcement by IBM to purchase the Talent Acquisition/Management Technology & RPO firm, Kenexa, it was the last of (what I consider) the old school big players in Talent Acquisition/Management to still be standing.
Virtual Edge, Taleo, SuccessFactors.
All gone. And along with them went a host of other solutions they had acquired out of marketshare in the Talent Acquisition Space – Recruitmax, Vurv, Jobs2Web, Learn.com, Cytiva, WetFeet, JobPartners…the list goes on)
While the Virtual Edge/ADP play seemed to push VE down market and be more for the relationship existing with SAP at the time and less for the success of the Virtual Edge Solution (Which, at one time, was the far superior solution in a lot of ways), the Taleo and SuccessFactors acquisition’s were far more strategic to either complete a HCM offering or round out a solid enterprise business solution.
Which left the enterprise business market (SAP, Oracle) squarely in the human capital’s talent management market at the most fundamental levels…and a clear hole in the overall IBM offering. A big, relevant name in the space was going to be required and outside of the technology Kenexa offers, they have a solid RPO solution that could build additional service depth for what IBM already has in the BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) marketplace.
For Silkroad and Icims – the brand awareness, product kinks and social strategy they have been quietly developing the last few years should be front and center. They just were handed a ladder to climb up market. Take it.
For other key players in the talent mangement market – now is the perfect time to really take strategic advantage and create/brand/sell some innovative talent acquisition tools that compliment your existing talent management solution. If I were Saba, I’d be taking the social collaborations and performance tools shown as the summit this spring and roll out an offering to an entire marketshare that really has no clue who I am or what I do. If I were Cornerstone OnDemand, I’d realize that have a perfect opportunity dive into a market that, outside of the analyst, really has little to no knowledge of them and despite modest efforts at key industry events, haven’t seemed to have cracked.
But what does this really mean for Recruiting & Talent Management Technology Buyers? More than you probably think.
For buyers in the space the “suite” of products they were pushed to purchase when point solution shopping – will now include more business process and outsourcing components than ever before. Its also going to limit options for a number of companies when they start down the path of selection – if you already have X in your business process, it would make sense to extend that same solution into human resources – regardless if it is the best product for your organization.
For buyers with some flexibility, expect three things:
- More add on solutions (like Talemetry who already does extensive work with Oracle clients and now extending to other vendors) to pop up and fill in the gaps where products are lacking around social, sourcing and onboarding. (I talked about this in my 5 Strategic Trends in Talent Acquisition Report this Spring)
- More companies taking a look at solutions that never seemed to get as much PR/Analyst coverage but have a number of enterprise clients and competitive solutions
- More point solutions will release their own “lite” or even full functioning ATS that plays nicely and can just sit in front of the “big” solutions – much like Avature has been doing for years.
Most importantly, if the heavy acquisition phase of the early 2000’s taught us anything, it is that for buyers – this stuff always works out better in the long run. People will always pop in to replace the vendors that are gone. Innovation increases, prices decrease and overall the market is forced to become more competitive with its self.
This last old Tier 1 talent acquisition solution marks the end of an era.
And the beginning of a new, social, innovative driven one the likes of which we haven’t seen for nearly a decade.