Engineering a Successful Integrated Talent Management (ITM) Implementation

July 31, 2008

While this is an extremely high-level overview of what it takes to help ensure a successful ITM implementation, it is by no means a comprehensive set of steps. HRchitect advises companies to go through a pre-implementation process before embarking on any kind of HR system implementation in order to ensure the highest level of success and take as much of the risk out of the project as possible. If you’d like to learn more, just let us know!


Each one of these areas requires its own level of thought but it’s a good framework for a successful ITM implementation which to be done right includes a top-down approach incorporating the following components:


Philosophy Development – leading firms take the time to answer the big questions regarding the major goals and objectives to be achieved via ITM. They determine this philosophy based on the organization’s unique characteristics (e.g., workforce demographics, geographies, key job categories, business strategy) – resulting in a general approach for ITM that guides the other components.


Strategy Development – based on the firm’s ITM philosophy, articulates the programs that will be put in place, how functional areas will work together, and the timelines for implementing redesigned processes and enabling technologies.


High-Level Process Redesign – guided by the strategy, this component digs into the details of each ITM process and assesses which integration ‘leverage points’ are critical to success (see below) – resulting in a set of processes that are appropriately woven together and can more fully utilize available applications. It is important to note that a more detailed level of process redesign is also required; this is usually done after the ITM application(s) is/are selected.


Technology Deployment – although process redesign needs to be done with a strong working knowledge of the capabilities of available technologies, specific application evaluation, selection and implementation should be the ‘tail’ of the ITM ‘dog,’ and be done after the philosophy, s

trategy and high-level process redesign components are completed.


It is important to note that this approach to ITM focuses on business goals and objectives (the “What”) before addressing lower-level concerns like processes and technologies (the “How”).

As a result, a firm can have multiple ITM technologies from disparate vendors, and still be executing an ITM strategy. This broader, more inclusive definition is key, given the state of the vendor marketplace that is attempting to fulfill the ITM vision of many organizations.

Solving a piece of the puzzle… 
Matt Lafata, HRchitect


Don’t Miss The Suite Life of Integrated Talent Management Webinar!

July 30, 2008

Integrated Talent Management (ITM) is a major focus for many organizations today. But where do you begin? Does your company even have an HR Systems Strategy? Fortunately there are answers out there and HRchitect, the leaders in HR Systems Strategic Planning and Talent Management Consulting, is hosting a webinar to help you put together the pieces of the puzzle.



If you have been following our blog over the past few weeks, then you know that HRchitect recently released the first report in HRchitect’s ongoing HR Technology Reality Check series called The Suite Life of Integrated Talent Management.  The main focus of The Suite Life is to provide readers with the real world perspective that has been gained through hundreds of software evaluation, selection, and implementation projects conducted by HRchitect consultants over the past decade. Also contained within the report are insightful summaries of the top Talent Management software vendors in the industry.

This exciting webinar will cover the following areas:
 ·What is Integrated Talent Management (ITM)?
· State of the ITM Software Market
· ITM Software Decision Drivers that will affect your software purchase
· Creating an HR Systems Strategy and why you should do this now!


If you use any kind of Talent Management software today, or have been thinking about it, this webinar is for you. Industry experts at HRchitect will share their perspectives and answer your questions.

This one-hour webinar will be conducted on three separate occasions for your scheduling convenience.  The schedule is as follows.  Simply click on your desired date to register.  


Thursday, July 31 @ 1PM CST
Wednesday, August 27 @ 1PM CST
Thursday, September 30 @ 1PM CST 



Every attendee will receive a condensed version of The Suite Life of Integrated Talent Management report.  One lucky winner will be drawn at random during each webinar and will receive a free copy of The Suite Life of Integrated Talent Management (a $495 value).

Through the generosity of our sponsor, Halogen Software, this webinar is available to you complete free of charge.



This webinar is designed for all audiences and please watch this blog for future webinar announcements including upcoming webinars on “HR Software Decision Drivers” and “Creating an HR Systems Strategic Plan”. 



Solving a piece of the puzzle… 
Matt Lafata, HRchitect

Integrated Talent Management (ITM) Market Dynamics – Mergers and Acquisitions

July 28, 2008

The ITM market is in the midst of a period of strong growth, fueled by the desire of many organizations to increase the impact of their people-related investments, especially those that involve attracting, developing and retaining the firm’s talent. This has sparked a wave of investment in ITM capabilities throughout the entire market ecosystem, including content providers, consultants, and technology providers of all types. Of course, vendors have also invested a great deal in marketing their ITM capabilities, and have aggressively sought to expand via venture funding, acquisition, partnerships, and organic development. During the past three years the market has experienced increased volatility, with a number of vendors making significant market moves.


Recently we talked about some of the funding investments made in vendors that are in the ITM space. Below are some of the major merger and acquisition activity that has taken place affecting the ITM space over the past couple of years:


Kronos – acquired Unicru (hourly recruiting specialist) in July 2006, was taken private by Hellman & Friedman in June 2007, then added Deploy Solutions (salary and hourly recruiting) in October 2007


ADP – acquired recruiting vendor VirtualEdge in October 2006


Kenexa – acquired recruiting vendors WebHire and BrassRing in 2006, and Recruitment Process Outsource (RPO) provider Quorum in 2007


Ultimate Software acquired performance and competency management vendor RTIX in October 2006


SumTotal – acquired performance management vendor MindSolve in November 2006


PreVisor – launched in January 2006 as a result of the merger of assessment vendors Qwiz, ePredix and PDRI, the firm has since acquired multiple boutique assessment firms, including Brainbench, Talent Technologies, and CraftSystems


Plateau Systems purchased compensation specialist NuvoSoft in February 2007


Ceridian – taken private by Thomas H. Lee Partners and Fidelity National Financial in November 2007


StepStone Solutions – purchased German-based talent management provider ExecuTrack in 2006


Workstream – announced in February 2008 that it will merge with HCM software aggregator and HRO provider Empagio. Workstream later pulled out of this deal which we questioned about a month ago as to why, and we still don’t have clear answers.


Taleo – announced on May 6, 2008 that it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire Vurv Technology, Inc. for approximately $128.8 million in cash and stock. As we know, the deal was finalized a short while later.


It will be interesting to revisit some of these acquisitions and mergers at a later date to see how they worked out for the vendors and the customers involved.


Solving a piece of the puzzle… 
Matt Lafata, HRchitect


How Have Different Vendors Achieved Integrated Talent Management (ITM)?

July 25, 2008

If you are in the market for an Integrated Talent Management solution, one of the many items you should consider is how the ITM vendor is expanding their functional footprint – by organic development, or acquisition. I say one of the many items you should consider because when evaluating a Talent Management solution, HRchitect recommends the use of Decision Drivers, which I will discuss in a future blog.


Acquisition of one or more niche solutions provided a quick way for many vendors (e.g., Authoria, SilkRoad, SumTotal, Vurv, Plateau, Workstream) to expand their functional footprint and offer more functionality to current and prospective customers. It also provided a marketing advantage for these firms, as they could tout these expanded capabilities to build awareness as a ‘true’ ITM vendor. There is definitely a downside to this approach, however — it has often resulted in a hodge-podge of user interfaces, data models, workflow, and reporting engines residing “under the hood,” with vendors and customers struggling to meet expectations for integration from predominantly non-integrated applications. HRchitect generally expects a minimum of three years before an acquired solution is fully integrated into a vendor’s infrastructure, with interim delivery of “messaging” level data integration (i.e., two applications passing data back and forth), a common user interface, and (finally) a unified data model, fully integrated processes, workflow, and reporting.


Other vendors in the market (e.g., Cornerstone OnDemand, iCIMS, Softscape, SuccessFactors) chose to build additional capabilities organically rather than take the acquisition route. While it has often taken longer to bring new capabilities to market, once delivered they are already integrated and have a common user interface and more holistic processes, with one workflow engine, data model, and reporting platform. It should also be noted that organically developed functionality may take several releases to approach parity with market leaders.


So, is it better to wait for fully integrated functionality, or implement an acquired but not-yet-fully integrated module? The answer depends on the customer situation, including the criticality of the need and the level of requirements that need to be met versus the priority of process integration across functions. Potential customers should not underestimate how long it will take for the vendor to fully integrate an acquired module into the ITM suite, and plan for additional time after full integration has been theoretically ‘completed’ for bugs and kinks to be completely resolved.



Solving a piece of the puzzle… 
Matt Lafata, HRchitect

Winning games…while dealing with personnel problems

July 23, 2008


Personnel issues exist everywhere, in every industry, even in professional sports. As a lifelong Boston Red Sox fan, I’ve seen my fair share from the days of complete inaction and not making the right personnel decisions to put your team in a position to win games, to what we have seen over the past few years – the building of a championship caliber team and personnel at every level with the occasional antics.


The Red Sox are the only team to have won two championships so far in the 21st century, and they are poised to win another this year. I truly don’t believe the Tampa Rays can hang with the Sox for the second half of the season and when the Sox really want to, they seem to be able to pour it on and be unstoppable.


I say when they really want to and I think specifically of Manny Ramirez.


I like Manny as he is fun to watch and he has certainly helped the team win many games. He is also an interesting subject when it comes to HR issues. In corporate America, Manny probably would’ve been fired by now. (Here’s the first chance I get to relate this story to HR Technology) A good Talent Management system would be in place and his record would be full of reprimands, and even though his performance would be strong, well above average in most respects, needing to work on attitude, self-motivation and being a team player would rise to the top and then insubordination…well take a look at what recently happened.


At the All-Star Game in New York, Ramirez said he is hoping for a meeting with management to let him know what his future will be. The Red Sox hold one-year options on Ramirez for 2009 and 2010 at $20 million each. If they don’t pick up the option for 2009, Ramirez becomes a free agent.


“I want no more [expletive] where they tell you one thing and behind your back they do another thing,” Ramirez told the Boston Herald. “I think I’ve earned that respect, for a team to sit down with me and tell me this is what we want, this is what we want to do.”


On Wednesday, July 16, Red Sox principal owner John Henry took exception with that statement.


“I find remarks that we have been anything other than completely straightforward to be personally offensive,” Henry said in an e-mail, according to the Herald. “Manny has been a crucial part of two world championships. I do not believe we would have won either without him. He has never played a more important role than he has thus far this year.”


First of all, I see a great opportunity to go back to that Talent Management system and utilize Pay for Performance. Instead of just handing Manny $20m, and I haven’t studied the terms of his agreement, build an even bigger package for him with a smaller base but huge incentives.  In other words, make him earn his money and in theory, if he meets the goals that are set, the team is winning and everybody wins!


So on to other Manny-isms for a minute. Manny was fined $10,000 recently (although it was reported as $100,000 but what’s an extra zero when you make the kind of money Manny makes?) He was fined for his behavior a few weeks back in Houston, where he shoved 64-year-old traveling secretary Jack McCormick to the floor about a request for game tickets. Again, what would have happened in corporate America?


And then he is accused of tanking an at-bat against Mariano Rivera of the Yankees last Sunday in protest to that incidence. That’s a tough thing to prove but nonetheless, he is being accused of it.


Is Manny a team player? Personally I think he is all about Manny. He’s had a number of run-ins with his teammates, including most recently with Kevin Youkilis in the dugout. I can see it in his personnel review now, “Doesn’t get along with his co-workers…”


When Manny is in left field and the ball goes over his head, he frequently just takes his own sweet time going after it. I can see that in his personnel review as, “lacks motivation…”


The management team that the Red Sox have in place, which I think is excellent by the way, has learned to co-exist with Manny, or at least look the other way when something goes wrong. Would that fly in corporate America? Heck, even the incident with pushing down the team secretary didn’t initiate any kind of condemnation from the front office. Why should they bother? The front office knows that Red Sox Nation has unconditional love for Ramirez. And even though he has the occasional run-in with his teammates, his teammates seem to like him, so there’s no need to “fire him”.


I personally think the Red Sox should let Manny talk all he wants. It makes for interesting news, keeps the Red Sox in the spotlight and at the same time, doesn’t seem to be affecting their ability to focus and win games. Manny wants his contract renewed, well I think the Red Sox should table the discussion, see what Manny does over the second half of the season and if he puts up solid numbers, pay him what he wants. It’s all about winning in professional sports.



In any event, here’s another small tie-in to HR technology to justify this blog even being here. They don’t necessarily use Talent Acquisition Systems in the big leagues to track applicants but they do have very talented scouts helping to put together winning teams. In the Red Sox case, the scouts have done a fantastic job and I guess in the end, winning is everything and HR’s role is simply to put the spin on any incidents that do take place related to people like Manny as more reasons to come out to the ballpark and cheer on their team as part of Red Sox Nation!


Solving a piece of the puzzle… 
Matt Lafata, HRchitect

Where’s Ron?

July 21, 2008

Since Ron Hanscome is on our blog here, and Ron has recently left HRchitect, a number of people have been asking the question, “Where’s Ron?”, so I thought I would take a few minutes to answer the question.



Ron recently left HRchitect for a fantastic opportunity at Kenexa where he will be the Vice President of Product Strategy. In that role, Ron will be responsible for product strategy and product marketing across Kenexa’s entire suite of products and solutions. In addition, he will manage all Kenexa industry analyst relations and partnerships.



Ron was brought on board at HRchitect about a year ago to help further grow our HCM Strategic Planning practice. Ron is a very talented guy and was able to do just that. He also spearheaded the efforts to create “The Suite Life of Integrated Talent Management” report that was released this past May. Ron is not the kind of resource that is easily replaced and he brought a lot to the table. Fortunately everything we do at HRchitect is done in a very collaborative manner so one person doesn’t make or break any project, or practice. Ron was very good at sharing knowledge and working as a team player. Ron worked with a team of consultants who are continuing on projects without skipping a beat and we have signed up a number of new strategic planning projects since Ron’s departure. As a result of all of that, our VP of Consulting Services, Dan Katavola, is overseeing the handful of people we have involved in strategic planning projects.



Ron will certainly be missed and we wish him all the luck in the world in his new venture at Kenexa and look forward to continuing to work with him, just in a different capacity.



Solving a piece of the puzzle… 
Matt Lafata, HRchitect

Congratulations to iCIMS!

July 18, 2008

iCIMS, who was recently included in our “Suite Life of Integrated Talent Management” report recently announced that it surpassed the 600 client mark. iCIMS, which started as a Talent Acquisition Systems provider has expanded its offerings over the years to offer such Talent Management functionality as Performance, Onboarding, and Competencies and has other modules planned.


In yet another indication of how hot the Human Capital Management (HCM) marketplace is, iCIMS announced last month some new marketing initiatives and global expansions. iCIMS specifically mentioned increased spending and hiring within sales and marketing and indicated they hope to triple their internal sales force over the next twelve months. iCIMS also announced plans for a new office in the U.K., recognizing the increased interest and need in globalization that Talent Management vendors are salivating over. As I wrote earlier this week about how hot this market is, this move is good for the industry as a whole.


HRchitect, a vendor neutral consulting company, has been impressed with iCIMS as a well run company and its iRecruiter application for years. We have also felt they are a good acquisition target and will continue to be with the continued consolidation that is predicted to taking place in the HCM marketplace.



Solving a piece of the puzzle… 
Matt Lafata, HRchitect




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 46 other followers

%d bloggers like this: