The buzz of activity in the HR Technology marketplace over the past few days has been interesting to watch to say the least. The SAP acquisition of SuccessFactors was a great strategic move. It was also a surprise, to some, after the heavy buzz at HR Technology Conference that it was Taleo, not SuccessFactors going to be named in that announcement. Industry analysts John Sumser, Josh Bersin, Naomi Bloom, Jim Holincheck give what I found to be the most reflective and insightful overviews on what this really means for consumers and other vendors. Jim’s post was my favorite because I remember the early 2000′s in hr tech and that “things are different” feeling he talk’s about.
But, it was the announcement that SuccessFactors (which is now SAP) was purchasing Jobs2Web that seems to have surprised more people and has created this uprising among bloggers, social media ‘experts’ and people that are new into the world of technology that this some how validates social media as the one true way to change your company.
In the last decade the Applicant Tracking market has evolved rapidly. The out of reach benefits that you could once only get from players like PeopleSoft, Recruitmax, Deploy (Now known as Kenexa, Taleo, Kronos) in the early days of SaaS are now available by 100′s of vendors at prices that range from free (SmartRecruiters) to basically free (everyone else).
Example: In a 2002 ATS evaluation/selection I did, the company had 1,000 employees, 6 recruiters, 40 hiring managers and 2 admins with a growth rate of 700 hires/yr over the next 4 years. Our quotes back ranged from $90-225k. In today’s market, I could have the better functionality & more features for around $10k.
Once the driving force in the evolution of hiring – the ATS has now become the centralized hub for organizations to connect the dots between the half dozen or so other tools they actually use on a daily basis. Spotting this trend early – products like Monsters 6th Sense and Talemetry have actually created technologies that can merge all of your different candidate databases together to make them manageable and search-able from a centralized location.
Vendors like Jobs2Web, HireVue, Linkedin and Avature recognized this years ago and have quietly built technologies (and quite honestly a cult like following) that have finally hit front and center in the last 12 months. New players outside of recruitment, like Achievers, have recognized opportunities in their own segments of the marketplace and are now cashing in as well.
SuccessFactors has done a lot over the last 18 months to shift from a technology that was just a leader in Performance to being competitive (while not yet leading) in Recruitment and being viewed as a total talent management solution. The integration of Jobs2Web into that helped them not only on social, but many of the other recruiting shortcomings they were facing. Jobs2Web integrates new, social mediums into its technology – but the beauty of the product is true depth in strategic recruitment and sourcing it offers clients. The addition of it all to SAP is a true game changer for many in the old guard who once viewed recruitment technology as the red headed step child of HCM. It is also placing a focus on SAP competitors WorkDay and Oracle on talent acquisition (and for Oracle, cloud) that will truly redefine the HCM landscape in 2012.
To say this move is a win for social media is a little bit of a slap in the face of Jobs2Web’s EXPANSIVE product offerings, the brilliant strategic decision made by SuccessFactors and demeans the success of all the companies that understand it is so MUCH MORE than that. The Jobs2Web acquisition is only a little about social media and a lot about the commoditization of a marketplace. Its the recognition that complimentary tools and solutions are the real future (IE PROFITS) of core HCM technology.
This purchase was only really about social if your view of the HR Technology world is based on pushing the social media agenda and not HCM technology market landscape.