IBM steps up HR push, adds consulting, new Kenexa services

IBM launched a Talent Management and Change consulting unit as it aims to court more chief HR officers.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

IBM on Monday said it will launch a talent management and change consulting effort to wrap around its human resources and workforce cloud services.

Human capital management and its various offshoots are a lucrative market, but it's also crowded as Workday, SAP, Oracle and Cornerstone are just a few key players. In addition, companies like Appirio are strong cloud-based human capital management consultants and integration partners.

IBM's move, which revolves around IBM's Kenexa software and services, repeats a familiar theme for Big Blue. Here's the blueprint:

  • IBM builds or buys its way into a market such as cloud, HR and security via tuck-in acquisitions. 
  • Analytics, an IBM strength, are layered into the stack.
  • The company then uses its consulting unit to bundle in change and process management expertise.
  • If it fits, IBM will also wrap in hardware such as its private and public cloud connections for hybrid data centers.

IBM's HR effort follows that blueprint closely. IBM launched its Talent and Change consulting practice with 1,600 change management consultants with help from 100 behavioral scientists to use technology to identify top performers, cut attrition and evaluate the workforce.

A screen from IBM's Kenexa suite.

Meanwhile, IBM's moves come as the company has to increasingly court business leaders such as chief marketing and human resources officers instead of the traditional CIO. Why? Technology budgets are going to business line leaders.

The consulting practice will aim to address organization changes, talent analytics, HR cloud and employee experience. IBM said it will add three services to go with its current HR software, which rolls under the Smarter Workforce group:

  • Kenexa Predictive Hiring, which includes behavioral assessments to find top performers.
  • Kenexa Workforce Readiness, which creates skills frameworks, competency testing and project management tools.
  • Kenexa Predictive Retention, which aims to keep performers happy and in the fold.
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