Category Archives: Human Capital Management

‘People are our greatest asset’ disproved?

In this month’s Human Resources Magazine, Richard Donkin’s column carries this subheader:

The tired assertion, ‘people are our greatest asset’, has been disproved by the credit crunch.


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Jason Corsello picked up on the announcement this week of’s acquisition of InfoBasis on his Human Capitalist blog.

I keep my eye on the HCM/Talent Management place, but I have never totalled up the number of ‘financial events’. Jason has, and he made this week’s acquisition the 51st since 2005.

What does it mean? The comments on Jason’s entry focus on how many of these purchases were genuinely to build capacity (as opposed to fire sales), and on the number of recruitment companies involved.

Whatever the detail, though, one thing is clear. As Bersin’s Leighanne Levensaler predicted earlier in the year 2008 is the year of TM consolidation. A few deals will involve the marriage of market leaders, as with May’s $129m Taleo / Vurv acquisition. Some will be technology purchases, as with / InfoBasis, which provides with a competency platform complementing its existing range of products.

And anyone who’s ever been in software will know that a good few of the deals will be ill-advised purchases of non-complementary technologies. These will fit a short-term goal (usually taking a competitor out of the market or buying revenue). The hoopla dies down, the new purchase fails to add value, but the buyer’s M&A activity continues unabated (that is, until the cash runs out).

Over the coming months it’s going to be interesting seeing who’s making the right calls.

Taleo’s acquisition of Vurv part 2

One month on, the comment continues. This one has certainly – rightly – attracted plenty of comment. Almost all of it is positive (excluding my mildly sceptical stance). Here’s some comment worth reading:

Kutik raises the point, rightly, that Taleo has long stuck to “one standard and configurable application”, which has always seemed to me the right approach. If they are doing more than just buying Vurv’s customers, the key question has to be whether they can integrate what they want from Vurv’s less integrated platform. (And which pieces they will integrate still seems unclear.)

Leighanne Levensaler spotted at the beginning of this year that 2008 would be the year of TM consolidation, and asked the question every customer wants answered when their supplier merges with another: will it last? She produced a hand check list to help you tell.

Her take on the acquisition sums up a general positive view from the analysts and commentators:

With more than 3,400 customers, the combined Taleo / Vurv company is clearly the number one leader in recruitment management and the largest non-ERP solution provider offering support for multiple talent functions. This acquisition will create very little interruption for customers and prospects in the near term, and has the potential to create one of the most sophisticated talent management solution providers in the market. Ultimately, this is a very positive announcement for the talent management systems market.

In the face of such an overwhelmingly positive reception, it seems that in time I will have to revise my initial scepticism. I’m prepared to be shown to be wrong. But I’m also prepared to wait and see.

Taleo’s acquisition of Vurv

There has been plenty of debate and comment around the  acquisition of Vurv by Taleo last week. On 6 May, Jason Corsello dubbed it ‘brilliant‘, but delivered a slightly more considered opinion6 days later. Still, Jason spells out plenty of reasons why this is a good move by Taleo, and he’s the man in the know, after all, he called this a week before it happened.

As I say, there’s plenty of useful and interesting comment out there, especially on the Knowledge Infusion Centre of Excellence thread. Much of the comment deals with areas of likely overlap, customer impact and the fall out for Vurv employees.

Strangely, though, one key issue seems to be touched on only lightly …

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Softscape vs. SuccessFactors

A big thank you to Jason Corsello, who has been trying to make sense out of the suit – counter-suit action between Softscape and SuccessFactors.

It’s a messy business that puts nobody in a good light, but here’s the gist of what’s been going on:

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