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 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.

HRchitect’s MarketMinute: Oracle Announces Acquisition of Taleo

February 13, 2012

Last week, Oracle, an enterprise application software vendor, announced the acquisition of Taleo, a cloud-based human capital management (HCM) solutions provider, for $1.9 billion and a little over five times the projected 2012 revenue for Taleo.  Members of HRchitect’s executive team – Matt Lafata, Rick Fletcher, Ron Hanscome, John Hinojos, Tom LaMarre and Alex Tellez – met to discuss the transaction, on the implications to the talent management marketplace, during the most recent Market Minute.  Audio from the discussion is available here.  Key takeaways are always posted to The Puzzling World of HRtechnology blog and appear below.

Initial reactions:

  • It makes sense long term to have Integrated Human Capital Management.
  • The continued consolidation and acquisition of best-of-breed vendors by the ERP’s may create a commoditization of talent management features in the industry.
  • We may see an opportunity cost of integration over innovation.  Internal thrashing and energy that would be spent on innovating each of the particular product suites may instead be spend on providing good integration paths between the Oracle core products and Taleo capabilities.
  • How will products that currently integrate to Taleo be affected?
  • What does the product roadmap look like?  Oracle has historically had a tightly controlled approach to talking about product releases until they are almost out the door.  It may be hard for customers to get a good understanding in advance of what the roadmaps look like and what the impact will be on their own organization’s strategy.
  • How will Fusion and the Fusion applications be reconciled with the deeper, in many respects, best-of-breed / talent management capabilities that Taleo brings to the table?
  • A year ago the industry was seeing the talent management vendors consolidating and moving toward the suite vendors going after the mid-sized core HR vendors to create a whole human capital suite.  Over the last couple of months, the ERP vendors who have a lot of cash, have been picking these players up, largely because acquisition is an easy way to add cloud / SaaS capabilities to their product offerings.

Should existing Taleo customers be concerned about the acquisition?

  • Clients who are not Oracle shops are already expressing concern.  However, Taleo’s integration tools are agnostic – they currently work well with a number of HR systems – so there will be limited impact there.
  • Don’t panic.  No immediate changes will happen to the Taleo product offering or support are expected.

With this move by Oracle, and SAP’s previous acquisition of SuccessFactors, what about Workday?

  • Workday has build out talent management (performance, career development, succession planning and compensation) and for a first or second-version offering, is really very strong and all delivered within the context of an integrated HCM application.  However, recruiting and learning are the two remaining outliers.  Workday has chosen not to build these out.  The question remains if they will go outside of their organic approach and acquire someone, or will they continue to partner in the delivery of recruiting and learning?  The next few months should prove important in them determining that strategy.

Final thoughts:

  • As with all acquisitions, intent or strategy around it is one thing, execution is an entirely different thing.  The success of this acquisition will depend on how well the strategies are thrashed out, and how well they are executed.
  • The HR technology marketplace continues to move and shake with mergers and acquisitions.  It is always wise to go into an evaluation of an HR system with eyes wide open and consider all of the decision drivers that are most important to your organization, before deciding on any vendor

HRchitect’s Market Minute – SAP Announces Acquisition of SuccessFactors

December 6, 2011

Over the weekend, SAP, an enterprise application software vendor, announced the acquisition of SuccessFactors, a cloud-based human capital management (HCM) solutions provider, for $40/share representing $3.4 billion and eight times the projected 2012 revenue for SuccessFactors.  Members of HRchitect’s executive team – Matt Lafata, Rick Fletcher, Ron Hanscome, John Hinojos and Alex Tellez – met to discuss the transaction, on the implications to the talent management marketplace, during the most recent Market Minute.  To listen to the audio from the briefing, click here.  Key takeaways are always posted to The Puzzling World of HRtechnology blog and appear below.

Initial reactions:

  • Wow factor at the price that SAP is paying to get access to the ITM cloud capabilities of SuccessFactors.  Price of $3.4 billion is very robust and validates the ITM market as a market that bares investment.  We should see the impact from a price perspective on a number of the other ITM vendors that are publicly traded (Kenexa, Taleo, Cornerstone OnDemand, TowersWatson, and several others).
  • There is some concern around what it will take to integrate all of these SAP platforms into the landscape for SuccessFactors.
  • This is a really good thing for the SAP customer base.  SAP has always been a more transactionally-strong application, very much an on-premise play, and had been slow to move successfully into the SaaS role.  We could see a paradigm shift for SAP with the impact¸ influence and expertise from development on the SuccessFactors side.  With Lars Dalgaard coming on to help round out the rest of the product line, long term we’ll see some tight integrations between the core SAP HRIS modules with the SuccessFactors talent management suite, bringing together a much more integrated app.  SuccessFactors brings to SAP are much stronger talent management applications.
  • Initial concern from current users on what this means to them.  It is too early to know exactly the effects that this will have on customers and how SAP is going to integrate these products.  It will be interesting to see how they do it, as these are two very different product lines.

Should existing SuccessFactors customers be concerned about this merger?

  • Over the short-term, we would caution anyone against doing anything radical and moving off of their SuccessFactors platform.   The structure of the deal will not be complete until 1Q12 and we will understand a lot more about the exact roadmap sometime during that quarter.  The structure that is being communicated is that SuccessFactors will continue to operate as a separate organization, but as an SAP company.  Things will continue as-is, at least over the short term.
  • For SuccessFactors customers who do not own SAP as a core system, they may want to be aware of possible energy spent on a deeper level of integration to SAP than with Workday, UltimateSoftware, PeopleSoft or Oracle.  In the end, SuccessFactors has had to integrate with multiple back-end HR systems since there beginnings as an organization.  That toolkit doesn’t disappear with this acquisition.
  • If organizations are currently evaluating talent management suites, it is certainly something to take into account.  For customers who are considering SuccessFactors and do not own SAP, they need to take a clear look at how the tools align with their requirements.  If it is a close split between systems, it may give pause and companies are going to make decisions based on if they are on one of the other core systems.  In the future, the SuccessFactors product will be geared to work very well with whatever SAP has.  How well is it going to work with other tools?
  • No concerns with SuccessFactors as they will be very autonomous.
  • SAP marriage brings great global customer support, stronger development standards and testing, HR record expertise in the integration between the employee record with the talent management record.

Will other ERP’s follow suit?

  • Cause ERP’s to look at finishing out the suite.
  • ERP systems have historically looked at talent management differently than the stand-alone systems.  ERP’s look at all of the business functionality plus core HR and payroll, the reason that the talent management best-of-breed vendors started out there was because customers were not getting the services and the products they needed from the ERP vendors.  How well will the ERP vendors, if they start to create this overall product, be able to bring in the innovation that they talent management groups have been looking for and needing?

Does this action help or hurt the other vendors?

  • SuccessFactors is now going to have a much greater audience within the SAP client base of 176,000 customers.  There is enough of a market there, especially due to the fact that SAP customers have deep pockets and have budget for talent management apps, that it will have a bit of an effect on some of the other vendors out there in terms of market share.  However, it will depend on the execution of the deal and whether or not SuccessFactors talent remains or bolts.  Also, we have to look at the fact that SAP is driven off of a perpetual license and maintenance revenue model versus the subscription-based revenue model.  There have been other organizations that have had tremendous issues with getting sales forces and the leadership within the organization to reconcile the differences between sales compensation with a subscription based model vs. a perpetual license revenue model.
  • For the short-term, the other vendors might have the advantage when it comes to the less-educated buyer.  There is a window of opportunity for the other vendors to pray upon some fears in the marketplace and swoop in and talk to prospects about the stability of their organizations and that they are truly SaaS.
  • Long-term, one thing to think about is the opportunity cost of innovation.  How much innovation energy that might be spent on delivering new capabilities to the market will now be spent on tying the two companies’ applications together?  This might be an opportunity for other talent management suite vendors.

Final thoughts:

  • Don’t overreact and run away from SuccessFactors right now, just wait and see how everything unfolds as the deal won’t be complete until 1Q12.  As always when evaluating systems, use a Decision Drivers approach to reduce risk.
  • We believe that no short-term changes will occur over the next 6-12 months.  SuccessFactors and SAP will continue to run as two separate organizations with a common ownership.
  • It will be very interesting to watch the blogosphere over the coming weeks and months for talk of potential acquisitions.
  • SuccessFactors current shareholders should be very happy right now, as well as shareholders of other talent management vendors.

To hear more from our team on further implications of this acquisition, and the many others that have taken place over the recent months, join us for the HR technology Year in Review & Tech Trends for 2012 WebMingle next Wednesday, December 14 at 1PM Central.

HRchitect Celebrates New Office with Ribbon Cutting

November 11, 2011

Here at HRchitect, we celebrated the opening of our new corporate office location this week with a ribbon cutting and open house.

The growth we have experienced over the previous few years, and especially over the past 18 months, dictated the need for expanded office space.  So, we moved right down the street to our new location, still within the Frisco Square development that we all enjoy working in.  The new office offers increased working space for our employees as well as increased conferencing space for meeting with clients, prospects and partners.

We look forward to hosting many more events in our new space!  Our doors are always open, so if you are in the Frisco area, come by and say hello.  Our new address is 6175 Main Street in Frisco.

Congrats to our Stevie Award Winning Clients!

July 12, 2011

HRchitect has some of the best clients around and many of them were honored as winners and finalists during the 2011 Stevie Awards.  We would like to extend a special Congratulations! to our clients that were recognized during the 2011 Steve Awards:

Best Home Page – Finalist
Best Online Press Room – Finalist
Best Overall Website – Finalist
Best Writing/Content – Finalist
Business Services (for Accenture Corporate Website) – Finalist
Business-to-Business Advertising Campaign of the Year – Finalist
Business-to-Business Marketing Campaign of the Year – Finalist
Communications, Investor Relations, or PR Executive of the Year – Teresa Poggenpohl – Finalist
Communications or PR Campaign of the Year (B2B Marketing) – Finalist
Communications or PR Campaign of the Year (Reputation/Brand Management) – Finalist
Executive of the Year (>2500 employees) – Services Finalist
Marketing Campaign of the Year – Business Services – Finalist
Marketing Executive of the Year – Teresa Poggenpohl – Finalist

Best Overall Company of the Year (>2500 Employees)
Favorite New Smartphone: Apple iPhone 4

American Express 
Business-to-Business Advertising Campaign of the Year – Finalist
Business-to-Business Marketing Campaign of the Year – Stevie Award Winner
Marketing Campaign of the Year – Financial Services – Stevie Award Winner
Motivational – Finalist
New Product or Service of the Year – Financial Services (>2500 Employees) – Finalist
New Product or Service of the Year – Services – Finalist

Bank of America
Best Overall Company of the Year (>2500 employees) – Finalist

Dell, Inc.
Customer Service Team of the Year – Computer Hardware & Services – Finalist

F5 Networks
Communications or PR Campaign of the Year – Reputation/Brand Management – Finalist
Marketing Campaign of the Year – Computer Hardware or Software – Stevie Award Winner

Flextronics International
Human Resources Department of the Year – Stevie Award Winner

Harris Corporation
Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the Year (>2500 employees) – Finalist
Most Innovative Company of the Year (>2500 employees) – Finalist
Best Annual Report (Online/Electronic) – Creative Awards Category – Finalist

Informatica Corporation
Communications, Investor Relations, or PR Executive of the Year – Stephanie Wakefield – Stevie Award Winner
Information Technology Executive of the Year – Tony Young, CIO – Finalist

Kelly Services
Information Technology Executive of the Year – Joe Drouin, Senior VP & CIO – Finalist

Favorite New Tablet: Motorola Xoom

NetScout Systems, Inc.
New Product or Service of the Year – Computer Software,  New Server Software – Finalist
New Product or Service of the Year – Telecommunications – Finalist

Noetix Corp.
New Product or Service of the Year – Computer Software, New Version (<2500 employees)

Pricewaterhouse Coopers
Communications or PR Campaign of the Year – Stevie Award Winner

Target Corporation
Executive of the Year – Services (>2500 employees)

Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the Year (>2500 employees) – Finalist

Yum! Brands, Inc.
Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the Year (>2500Employees) – Finalist

HRchitect would also like to extend a Congratulations! to the HR technology vendors who were honored at the 2011 Stevie’s:

New Product or Service of the Year (Computer Software – SaaS – >100 Employees) – Finalist

Favorite New Software as a Service: Saba Live
New Product or Service of the Year (Computer Software – Saas – <2500 Employees) – Finalist

SilkRoad Technology
Customer Service Department of the Year – Computer Software – Finalist

For a full list of winners, or to find out more about the Stevie Awards, click here.

HRchitect’s Market Minute – Recent Acquisitions of First Advantage and Enwisen

January 24, 2011

Two recent acquisitions were the topics of this week’s Market Minute – First Advantage, a global provider of workforce solutions, was acquired by Symphony Technology Group, a private equity firm with a strategic focus on software and service, and Enwisen, a leading software-as-a-service provider of human resource delivery solutions, has been acquired by Lawson Software.  Rick Fletcher, Ron Hanscome and Matt Lafata discussed these acquisitions and trends in the space.  Key takeaways from this Market Minute are:

First Advantage Acquired by Symphony Technology Group

  • History of First Advantage – Formed 5-6 years ago through a fund of money with 80% owned by First American Bank.  During an 18 month period, 20-25 companies were added including two applicant tracking systems, (Projectix and HR Logix) and an assessment vendor.  Difficulties arose due to companies being bought with overlapping capabilities – there was little integration between all of the companies and overlap between the two applicant tracking systems.  Their background checking division has proved to be the most profitable.
  • Symphony Technology Group – Has been making a move into the Human Capital Management space and is a fairly large shareholder in Lawson software, for example, and through its subsidiaries offers a portfolio of capabilities – background screening, occupational health services, applicant tracking systems, behavioral assessments.
  • This acquisition signals yet another private equity firm acknowledging that there is money to be made in the HCM marketplace and putting their money on an existing player.  It also serves as a marker of the continued flow of private equity money that we have seen into the space.  Recent examples:
    • Acquisition of  Ceridian by Thomas H. Lee Partners and Fidelity National Financial
    • Acquisition of SumTotal Systems by Vista Equity Partners
    • Acquisiotn of Peopleclick and Authoria by Bedford Funding to form PeopleclickAuthoria
    • Kronos taken private
  • Why are private equity companies investing so much money in the HCM industry?
    • It appears that this is a sign of businesses and business leaders putting their money where there mouth is around people being the most important part of the business and an admission that the value of the business is more than what is on the balance sheet, but also the intangible asset in human capital
    • As private equity firms see businesses investing in more of these types of solutions, they are trying to take advantage of that and view this space as a place where there is money to be made.

Enwisen acquired by Lawson

  • Lawson is an ERP vendor which has recently been doing interesting things around Talent Management
  • Enwisen offers HR case management / shared services, onboarding/offboarding, HR knowledge base, etc., and has been a strategic partner of Lawson since 2008.  Founded in 1994, Enwisen has focused on the low end of employee benefits decision support for providing the knowledge around what benefits to purchase for the mid-market segment, while Authoria serviced the top end through their arrangement with PeopleSoft and other large core HRMS vendors.    As Authoria began to focus increasingly on Talent Management, Enwisen absorbed much of the benefit support knowledgebase activity.
  • Through the years, Enwisen has done a great job of adding onboarding and selling a lot of it, as well as other elements such as policy and procedures support through their relationship with BNA, and linking that in so that HR administrators and generalists can have access to updated policy information as well as manager support – how to conduct a performance appraisal and other basic elements of HR.  Finally their total compensation statements module which is a powerful toolkit for analyzing compensation and generating those statements.
  • Interesting acquisition for Lawson, in that Learning is still a gap in the Lawson Suite.  Though Lawson has built out a learning module, it still has not seen a lot of penetration.  They saw a lot of traction with the reseller arrangement with Enwisen; a lot of business into their base around the self service capabilities, the benefits support, and the onboarding.  Lawson chose, at this moment, to up the ante and make the big investment by completely buying out Enwisen.
  • When all the pieces are put together, Lawson’s acquisition of Enwisen makes a lot of sense and will help the organization continue to grow in its footprint around HCM:
    • Leveraging Enwisen’s track record pertaining to onboarding solution activity that has been competing with SilkRoad a lot in that space
    • Enwisen is a real asset to the Lawson family in that there is not much overlap between solutions
    • We are seeing a major increase in HR case management, a strong suit for Enwisen – companies don’t want to buy a generic CRM application to support ticketing or open HR issues

And finally, with both acquisions, one always has to think about execution being fundamental to the success or failure of the acqusition:

  • Seamless user experience will be key for Lawson and Enwisen going forward
  • First Advantage is going to continue to hopefully improve the integration under Symphony’s ownership and also be able to integrate things like background screening well, and hook into all of the other recruitment systems out there

To listen to the Market Minute in its entirety, use the link below, or download it to your iTunes by visiting

HRchitect Market Minute – Episode 3

HRchitect’s Market Minute – SHL / PreVisor Merger

January 13, 2011

This week, assessment giants SHL & PreVisor announced a merger between the companies and our HRchitect leadership team, Rick Fletcher, Ron Hanscome, and Matt Lafata  got together to discuss during the latest episode of the Market Minute.  What’s in store for the future of the newly merged companies and what implications will this merger have on the marketplace?  Here are key takeaways from the discussion:

  • Together, SHL & PreVisor represent $200 million in revenues and deliver more than 15 million assessments annually in over 150 countries
    • Complementary overlap between the two firms – PreVisor has traditionally focused on plug and play assessments while SHL specializes in the global customer and more custom assessments
    • Largest major competitor of the newly merged companies is Kenexa who has a significant assessment practice that delivers around 15 million assessments in 14 languages in 44 countries.  The Kenexa system offers around 1000 assessment tests delivered via their ‘ProvieIt’ brand that can be plugged in to recruiting applications, as well as custom assessments that can be created for organizations in key job categories and industries
    • Through this merger of two of the Tier 1 assessment vendors, the door is opened somewhat for to Tier 2 players, as traditionally organizations look at at a minimum of three vendors during the evaluation process
  • The road ahead for SHL & PreVisor –
    • Clients can expect some bumps in the road as overlapping banks of tests get evaluated and determination is made to which tests are retired and which will continue onward.  If you are a client that uses out of the box assessments, consider contacting account management to find out what is happening with your tests.  No impact should be felt by clients using custom assessments.
    • The addition of an applicant tracking system (or vendor) – As one of the top two assessment vendors in the space, HRchitect predicts that the new SHL/PreVisor will either add an applicant tracking system (through organic growth or acquisition) or forge a deep partnership with an existing applicant tracking vendor.  The latter is believed to be the most feasible of the options.  Partnership could include both an enterprise vendor and a vendor specializing in the mid-market sector.  While the assessments would still be usable by other vendors, a more deeper integration would exist between the partners, similar to what happens with Kenexa assessment today.
  • Trends in assessment technology:
    • Organizations are spending more time using assessment technology to make sure they have the right people in place – in the early days, assessments were reserved for only the final candidates.  Recently, with the introduction of SaaS-based technology, more companies are requiring candidates to take online assessments earlier in the recruitment process.  The benefit of running these assessments sooner is a shorter time-to-contribution for new hires as the closer applicants can be screened to fit the desired competencies of specific job categories, the faster they can be brought up to speed.
    • Assessments are becoming more widely used post hire – the same assessment criteria used to hire the best candidates are being used in learning and performance management to assess performance gaps and recommend learning events and other activities to close the gaps.  These analyses are also being used in both career development and succession planning

To listen to the Market Minute in its entirety, use the link below, or download it to your iTunes by visiting

HRchitect Market Minute – Episode 2


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