When My Vendor Gets Acquired

March 27, 2012

I recently facilitated a panel discussion on what to do when your vendor is acquired by another vendor.   The panel consisted of a practitioner, a consultant, and a vendor.  It was a very interesting discussion, but one of the most interesting discussions were on the various reasons why a vendor may purchase another vendor.

The first reason is to control competition.  This occurs when vendors feel that competing vendor systems are similar in functionality and there could be limited need for similar offerings.  Usually the vendor does not purchase this product to eliminate the other system, but the usual process of assimilating an acquisition may be a bit faster than in other types of acquisitions.  Oftentimes, various features from the acquired project are incorporated into the next release.  Most vendors will not “kill” a product, but will have one offering which begins to become the stronger of the two.  While the vendor will usually support both systems, at some time the vendor may announce that they will be discontinuing support; however, this is usually done with ample time to move your system and data over to the newer version.

The second is to add functionality.  A vendor may see a competitor of having some features and functionality that is not currently offered in their product, so they acquire the software with the intention of incorporating features and functionality that is missing from their  current offering.  Many vendors will begin to incorporate the features immediately, but usually the addition of the features may take up to 6 months.  The vendor may continue to support both versions of the software, but usually there is a push to move all users to one platform which simplifies the support of the software.

Finally, the third reason to acquire a vendor product is to move into new delivery areas.  We saw this recently with SAP purchasing SuccessFactors.  Both projects will continue to be offered, but the acquisition of SuccessFactors also brings to SAP the access into cloud computing and SaaS delivery, which SAP was just beginning to began to expand into.  At this time both products should continue to be developed, oftentimes, with this type of acquisition the long-term outlook of the product could change as the relationship matures.  This type of acquisition must be continually monitored to see if there will be product changes in the future.

The one thing everyone on which the panel agreed was that the best thing is not to panic when your vendor is purchased.  There is normally no material change to your system or the delivery for at least 6 to 9 months.  The best thing you can do if you vendor is acquired, is to begin to plan.  You may want to reassess how you are using the software to see if it is still meeting you needs.  Should you be coming to the end of your contract, you may want to evaluate other products to assure yourself that the one you are using is still the best fit.  To accomplish this after your vendor has been acquired may be a bit more work than the typical HCM technology staff had bandwidth, and you may want to look to outside resources to assist in your efforts.  Planning for the merger of your vendor into another should always be a risk on your risk mitigation plan.

John Hinojos

Understanding the Vendor Demo Process

March 16, 2012

After assisting multiple clients with the system selection process I always get a bit surprised when the process seems to bog down the closer we get to the demo.  Historically, we spend a lot of time in Discovery, interviewing staff and collecting requirements.  Then we create a RFI or RFP so we can evaluate the vendors in order to invite the strongest three (3) vendors to demo.

Once the RFP is completed, we usually begin working on the demo script.  Often I do get queries from a client as to why we need the script and just don’t schedule the vendor in to “show us the system.”  After some discussion, everyone usually begins to understand that you would not take a trip without a good map or plan, and that is exactly what the demo script will provide.  It assures that those attending the demo will see the same functionality from each vendor and be able to better compare each vendors system performance.

The demo script for any system should be created in a life cycle flow.  For an PR/HR system, as an example, you would start with recruiting, then to employment, to benefits, compensation, Payroll and on through the termination process.  Then you can look at reporting and system set-up.  I usually suggest that there be an agenda for each section of the demo so various members of staff can come into the demo on features which will impact their area of responsibility.  The one thing I normally stress with a client is that everyone be in the same sections for all demos.

Usually I recommend that items on the demo script also be weighted with a priority.  This allows you to weight the scoring after the demo is done and put more focus on the items which are critical to the running of the company.  It does help in creating a Vendor Comparison Report which will show in one page the major areas of the demo and how well each vendor did to the requirements.  The Vendor Comparison Report and the Decisions Drivers are usually the key elements used to select the vendor of choice.

There is a lot of activity going on during the development of the demo script and coordinating the actual demo. I recommend that companies look at using an outside resource from HRchitect to assist with these tasks.  This resource will allow the full client team to be focused on the demo and not on the administration.  If you have any questions about the demo, be sure to ask your HRchitect representative on how they can help make the demo a smooth process.

Don’t Miss Today’s HRchitect WebMingle with Bill Glenn of TalentWise

March 8, 2012

The HRchitect WebMingle is designed to give you some insight into the puzzling world of HR technology, talk about upcoming events in our industry, and provide insightful interviews with people of our industry – who they are, what they do and why you should care. The WebMingle has become the most popular live weekly Internet show in the HR technology industry!

The WebMingle has truly redefined how people get information about vendors, trends and really anything related to HR technology and we are very proud of that.

Today’s guest is Bill Glenn, Vice President of Marketing & Alliances from TalentWise.

TalentWise is the leading provider of hiring process management (HPM) solutions for forward thinking HR, staffing and recruiting professionals at over 3,000 companies throughout North America.  Their fully-compliant, highly-configurable hiring solutions include background checks, paperless drug screening, assessments, employment eligibility verifications (E-Verify); new hire forms; hiring credits and incentives; and integrations with most leading applicant tracking systems.  TalentWise was named a “Top Employment Screening Provider” by HRO Today magazine for the last four years and included in Workforce Management magazine’s “Hot List for Employment-Related Screening Providers” for the past five years.

Bill joined TalentWise in 2008 and has over 15 years of experience in the technology industry, holding senior marketing management and business development positions.  Prior to TalentWise, Bill worked at leading Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies including Entellium and Concur Technologies.

Visit http://blogtalkradio.com/mattlafata to listen live today, March 8 at 2pm CST. If you missed any of our previous 90 or so WebMingles, you can also access them from that page.

We look forward to welcoming Bill Glenn to the HRchitect WebMingle and hope to have you join us as well.


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