Evolution in HR Software: TALX

Summary:TALX/Equifax - This is not your typical payroll or talent management software vendor. Here's a company that's gone from phone technology to becoming an information powerhouse.

TALX got its start as an IVR (interactive voice response firm) provider that many HR departments used to help with annual benefits enrollment and other uses. The company morphed years ago to become a major player in payroll data. Since Equifax acquired TALX, the combined firm is a virtual juggernaut of information.

TALX/Equifax knows what 50 million or so people get paid; their credit history; and, in some cases, it knows about workers' investments. They are aggregating this information so that they can provide a number of heretofore unknown insights to employers.  In one example, TALX executives discovered how many employees of a large firm were staring down some major college debt. Management of this firm had no idea of this and now understand that it could be a major driver in their attrition.

TALX has also leveraged its eTHority acquisition to create a line of pre-built analytic apps: TALX Elements. These apps zero-in on core data and systems strengths of TALX. Specifically, they speak to subjects like I-9 compliance risks and the potential fines/penalties that could occur. These analytics look at real company data and infuse with it financial models that can be shared/discussed with top management.

 

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TALX Analytics - Copyright 2012 - TechVentive, Inc.

 

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TALX analytics - Copyright 2012 TechVentive, Inc.

 

TALX  also has a line of more one-off analytics called TALX Workforce Analytics.

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TALX Elements - copyright 2012 - TechVentive, Inc.

I would agree with a post by John Sumser re: TALX/Equifax.  TALX/Equifax has definitely turned into a big data firm. I'd add that they seem to be quite serious about making analytic applications to take advantage of the piles of data that they and they customers possess.

Another anecdote a TALX executive shared with a group of analysts was that prior to the Equifax acquisition, TALX really didn't have any researchers, econometric quants, etc. to really examine and understand what was in the data they possessed. Now, they have an entire floor of folks in St. Louis exclusively focused on macro-economic data, customer data, etc.

I haven't had a chance to probe Talx further on one additional point but I will in subsequent discussions. That point is: why aren't more HR firms partnering with TALX/Equifax and enriching their analytic capabilities?

The evolutionary path TALX has embarked on is quite interesting. For a company starting out in a very technology intensive space (IVR) to a very data focused firm, the firm is much better positioned to provide meaningful analytics to customers than most HR or ERP software firms. TALX isn't re-crunching the same transaction data found in HR software. That's like panning for gold amongst the tailings. Yes, it might yield some value but it's low yield and expensive. Better to focus on finding better sources for insights.

Topics: Enterprise Software

About

Brian is in a unique position to diagnosis the winners and the losers in technology and services. He was the longest running (10 years) and most senior director of Andersen Consulting's (now Accenture's) global Software Intelligence unit - a position that required him to pick the best possible software solutions for hundreds of clients gl... Full Bio

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