BREAKING: PerformWorks to Buy TalentSoft.Com

Steve Boese HR Tech, HR Technology, Steve Boese, Trench HR

The acquisitions and consolidation in the Human Capital Management (HCM) space keep coming hot and heavy, don’t they?  Can you believe that PerformWorks, with its history of aggressive sales tactics and its cutthroat culture would be interested in the low-key, clever but under-the-radar set of solutions offered by TalentSoft?   Merger2

For the last couple of years, PerformWorks has been strategically building out its offerings, gobbling up both direct competitors and complementary solution providers alike, attempting to build out a modern, fully functional, all-encompassing ‘Talent Management Suite’; one that welcomes your employees in its loving embrace from even before the time they are hired, all the way to their eventual departure, (hitting all the major stops, onboarding, performance management, learning, compensation, etc. along the way).

What’s that?

You didn’t catch the news about the PerformWorks and TalentSoft merger?

Of course you didn’t, because I just made it up.  But for many mainstream, non-technical HR and Talent professionals, the recent raft of ‘real’ merger and acquisition activity in the HCM technology markets (ADP-Workscape, Taleo-Learn.com, Kenexa-Salary.com, and most recently SumTotal-Softscape), might have also passed by largely unnoticed.

Which, if I am correct, then begs the question – How important are these announcements and the resulting combinations and permutations of these newly combined firms to mainstream, non-technical HR?

I think the answer is, in classic technical consulting speak, ‘It depends’.  So, for the average, working in the trenches, HR and Recruiting pros out there, here is your pocket guide to the relative importance of these kinds of announcements (trust me, more are coming):

Not important at all

Your company has less than 500 people.  If you are that small, chances are you don’t actually use the software from companies whose merger announcement makes the news.  If you are that small, and you do actually use any of these solutions, you might need to prepare for potential adjustments in service levels, support, and cost.  Once software companies get bigger, they tend to want their customers to get bigger as well.  Your relative contribution to their bottom line, and quite likely your importance to them, just shrunk like the ocean on a cold day. So I guess you move to category two.

Somewhat important

Your logo is on the acquiring vendor’s ‘Customers We Power’ glamour shot slide they use in client pitches, webinars, and is plastered all over their website.  You probably have enough juice (for a while), to ride out this development largely unaffected, you may even be able to pick up some cheap licenses for additional or complementary technology that was just acquired.  You are in good shape until the requests for new testimonials, appearance on customer panels, and money quotes for press releases start to overwhelm you.

This is a really big deal

You are a loyal and happy customer of TalentSoft.com.  You have been with them for a few years, and you have both seen solid, if unspectacular growth. Your employees and front-line managers like the tool. But in truth, TalentSoft’s solutions really only ‘fit’ incrementally with PerformWorks suite, and after 12 months or so of integration work, chances are TalentSoft will no longer be offered as a stand alone solution.  Which means upgrades and continuing support might require you to migrate to PerformWorks -the same solution that you evaluated and ruled out four years ago on price, cultural fit, and impenetrable and complex sales process.  It may be time to start shopping again, like in the auto world, once replacement parts have to be found on the aftermarket, things can start getting squirrely.

My advice, figure out where you fit on the continuum of importance for the new, larger software company that you have to deal with now, and plan accordingly.

First question in that process – did either PerformWorks or TalentSoft tip you off about the deal?