Sunday, January 13, 2013

2012: When HR Technology vendors went on a shopping spree

2012 was a monumental year for HR Technology. Late 2011 and 2012 saw massive consolidation of the market, with clear signs of a tectonic shift from on-premise to cloud, social. mobile and analytics based products. Almost all major HR technology vendors, including Oracle and SAP made significant acquisitions during this period to bolster offerings and customers in the SaaS HCM market. The M&A activities were not restricted to product companies alone, niche consulting firms were also snapped up by larger HR/Management/Technology consulting companies, signalling a shift in the skills valued by the industry as well.
In this post, we try to summarise the important acquisitions that were announced in the HR technology space from December 2011 to Janauary 2013. We hope that this compilation will be an informative read for you.
  • Oracle acquired Taleo for around 1.9 billion USD in February, 2012. This was seen as a counter to SAP's acquisition of SuccessFactors for 3.4 billion USD in December 2011.
  • Following up on the acquisition of Taleo and signalling the company's focus on cloud and social based HR applications, Oracle snapped up SelectMinds in September 2012. SelectMinds provides social recruiting and alumni management services, has an impressive list of customers and has pre-built integration with Taleo.
  • IBM announced it's intentions to foray into HR Technology and analytics space by acquiring Kenexa for 1.3 billion USD in August 2012. Founded in 1987, Kenexa is a major player in the recruitment processing outsourcing (RPO), end to end recruitment technology, candidate assessment, strategic HR research and talent/learning management. There is an excellent assessment by Josh Bersin on the details of this acquisition, which can be read here.
  • Kenexa extended it's Talent Management offerings by adding Learning Management capabilities, through it's acquisition of  Outstart in February, 2012. Here is another detailed analysis by Josh Bersin on the Kenexa-Outstart acquisition.
  • Ceridian, a leader in the payroll, benefits and expenses processing space (#2 in the US after ADP and #1 in the UK) forayed into SaaS HCM solutions by acquiring Toronto based Dayforce, in February 2012. The association of Ceridian and Dayforce goes back to early 2011, when the former invested in Dayforce to bring the Ceridian Inview Workforce Management product to market. The full acquisition of Dayforce by Ceridian will bring out a unified SaaS HCM product called Ceridian Dayforce HCM, lead by David Ossip, founder of Dayforce and Workbrain (which was acquired by Infor in 2007). It will be interesting to see the evolution of a core HCM/Talent Management application from a company traditionally focussed on payroll/time and attendance and workforce management.
  •  Peoplefluent, which in itself is the product of a merger of Peopleclick and Authoria, acquired Canadian LMS company Strategia in January. In May, Bedford Funding, the private equity firm that owns Peoplefluent, announced investment in Socialtext, a company facilitating enterprise collaboration with products like enterprise blogs, wikis etc.
  • Cloud Talent Management company, Cornerstone OnDemand acquired New Zealand based Talent Management firm, Sonar6 in March. The Sonar6 product has now been rebranded to CSB and will cater to small enterprises.
  • LMS and Talent Management major, Saba acquired HumanConcepts in March. HumanConcepts provides solutions in the organisation visualisation and org. chart space. The product line of Saba really looks to be shaping up well!
  • In April, European online job board major, StepStone acquired TotalJobs group, the largest online recruitment player in the UK market.
  • LinkedIn with the largest network of professionals, has made impressive inroads into the recruitment space (LinkedIn's recruitment division has reported growth in excess of 130%) and is being touted to disrupt the recruitment space. Considering this, we need to include LinkedIn very much as a player in the HCM space. LinkedIn snapped up the Youtube of presentations, Slideshare in May.
  • 2012 also saw M&A action in the consulting/service space. In October, cloud technology consulting firm Appirio acquired Jason Averbook's top HR consulting firm, Knowledge Infusion.
  • Staying on in the consulting space, Deloitte acquired Workday consulting firm, Aggressor in March. At the time of acquisition, Aggressor had the largest number of Workday certified consultants as well as a significant share in overall Workday implementations.
  • In early January 2013, Deloitte further strengthened it's HCM consulting practise by acquiring the leading research and consulting firm in HR Technology, Bersin and Associates. This acquisition should turn out extremely valuable for Deloitte in the HCM consulting space, considering the expertise, brand value and intellectual property brought in by Josh Bersin's firm.
  • Corporate Executive Board (CEB), a member based senior management advisory firm snapped up the leading employee assessment firm, SHL, in July. With over 10,000 customers, an enviable library of 1000+ assessment tests and significant talent related data, SHL was  an excellent buy by CEB and should bolster it's talent analytics practise.
  • Hirevue is a company that we follow with great interest due to it's innovative on-demand video interviewing platform. To complement it's candidate evaluation/screening offerings, Hirevue acquired Codeeval in August 2012. Codeeval was a player in the automated evaluation and assessment of a candidate's programming skills. There are a number of companies that have come up in this space (screening solutions), which should see further consolidation in 2013.
  • In December 2011, acquired social performance management firm Rypple. Rypple has been rebranded as salesforce and represented the foray of into the HR Technology space.
  • In September 2012, Careerbuilder announced the acquisition of EMSI (Economic Modelling Specialists International). Considering the challenges faced by jobboards in the wake of competition from sites like LinkedIn, we consider this to be an interesting move by Careerbuilder. There is indeed tremendous value in being able to offer candidates insights into career paths, suggested trainings etc. and it needs to be seen how Careerbuilder can integrate this into their service offerings.
  • Much has been said about the challenges of managing a global, remote workforce and of using personal computing devices at the workplace (BYOD). Considering these challenges, we believe that the acquisition of BYOD security management firm Meraki by Cisco in November 2012, is interesting for the HR Technology space. Meraki is a cloud based computer networking startup that claims to be the first and only solution that provides device based security policies, built-in NAC, and built-in mobile device management for enterprise customers.
We are sure that the ripples caused by the market consolidation waves of 2012, will continue well into 2013 as the HR Technology industry undergoes significant changes. Interesting times to be in the HR Technology market!

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