The Bell Tolls for Old HR and Recruiting Processes

Identified was bought by Workday and Monster acquired Gozaik and TalentBin. Smart market watchers should be asking "Why" these deals were done and what these deals could do to recruiting/HR vendors, competition and the companies that would benefit from re-imagined HR processes.
Written by Brian Sommer, Contributor

There’s a revolution going on in the M&A strategy rooms at some forward-looking HR software firms. In less than 48 hours, Workday has acquired Identified and Monster has acquired Gozaik and TalentBin. Almost all of these deals bring huge slices of social technology, search, in-memory databases, speed and more to the world of recruiters.

Press and analysts usually write reams of copy when software vendors buy their huge competitors but those deals, no matter what the vendors say, are just market share/install base grabs. I feel for the acquired customers in those deals.

In sharp contrast are the smaller deals. In these deals, a larger firm acquires a much smaller, and often obscure, vendor. The play is not about market share – it’s about acquiring white hot, leading/bleeding edge technology. For the most part, the press and analyst world doesn’t focus as much attention on these deals and that’s a real shame. These are the deals that provide the fuel that disrupts entire market segments.

I suspect the recent deals have that potential.

In the Workday deal, Identified brings some serious assets to the fore: a killer machine learning tool that makes sense of approximately 1 billion worker social profiles. The beauty of Identified’s technology is that is reduces much of a recruiter’s investigative activity to a matter of a few minutes a day.

Recruiters can find way more potential job seekers with blinding speed and get their entreaties to prospects answered with an exceptional ease and frequency. I wrote about Identified in this ZDNet post.

But there’s an even bigger story than the people and technologies that Workday will acquire. Workday is developing a new recruiting module that should be out this next quarter. 

The Identified acquisition brings a whole new way to reimagine recruiting – a way that really brings social media and speed front and center. This reimagined recruiting is a world where users can compete at the speed of business and not at the glacial speed that older generation HR solutions and processes were designed for.

If Workday’s smart, they’ll make speed and social the linchpins of their new recruiting roadmap. And, if that happens, it will be curtains for their old school competitors that are peddling solutions to employers that were designed for a world that didn’t have social media, doesn’t have new generation workers but does have very, very patient jobseekers it wants to (but won’t) attract.

Co-CEOs Dave Duffield & Aneel Bhursi of Workday Copyright 2014 - TechVentive, Inc. - All Rights Reserved

Workday has the potential to create a MODERN reimagined solution instead of being the last vendor to create an old style recruiting product. That’s like being the last firm to make a steam locomotive or a horse carriage. The great firms build products people haven’t seen yet. The pathetic firms build something we’ve seen forever.

Workday Apps Roadmap Copyright 2014 - TechVentive, Inc. - All Rights Reserved

Monster has a similar opportunity.

And, great opportunities await the vendors that buy Connect6, Entelo and other firms that have reimagined recruiting. These are the firms who look beyond the obvious and reimagine what HR and recruiting could be if HR and recruiting processes and technologies used social, mobile, digital water coolers, analytics, smart search and more.

For the HR department heads and software buyers out there, look hard at your current HR vendor. If their idea of innovation is still want ads and job boards, it’s time to seek true love elsewhere. Your vendor just wants your money but isn’t willing to (or doesn’t possess the brainpower) to see what your recruiting processes and outcomes could actually be.

More deals are likely to follow (and soon).

Readers might also want to read this ZDNet story especially as it relates to Entelo, Syndio Social and other transformative HR technologies.

Disclosure: I'm still sitting on a few shares of Workday. 

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