By Jim Lundy
This week was full of announcements from major HCM players, such as SAP (solidified its Cloud Roadmap based on SuccessFactors) and Oracle (which sought to reassure customers on its pending acquisition of Cloud Talent provider Taleo). In related First Cuts, we predicted the move by Oracle and we also think this will not be the end of HCM and Talent consolidation (see related First Cut on Kenexa buys Outstart).
HCM and Talent – Better Together
The big reason Oracle bought Taleo is to get a top notch Recruiting platform (aka Applicant Tracking System ATS). It isn’t more complicated than that. SAP was also smart in moving quickly and preemptively to push forward its HCM – Talent Cloud roadmap. Of course, things will get interesting, since Salesforce has also signaled that it will make a move into HCM.
The real message in all of this is we now are entering the era of the combined HCM – Talent Uber Suite. Expect more consolidation in 2012 and lots more focus on Cloud versus on-premise deployments. Clients we have talked to are not keen on moving their core HCM apps to the Cloud, so that will be the challenge for the vendors to convince them it is safe to do (data and information security).
Windows 8 Drumbeat
This week was also the beginning of a louder drum beat for Microsoft and Windows 8, but it still sounds eerily familiar to past marketing pushes, which were feature driven. The problem is that we are in 2012 and a new iPad is looming. The taxonomy of what Windows 8 versions will run on which processor (ARM vs Intel) and what apps will run where is still getting sorted out and many will be disappointed. Layer on top of that the fact that Microsoft still thinks they can get away with selling multiple versions of Windows and you get a recipe for confused consumers.
I had an experience with this recently, having had to buy a laptop to run our Accounting package on. The HP Laptop we selected came with Windows 7 Home Premium. We had to purchase the anytime upgrade for Windows 7, which tacked on another $75.00 to the price. There is speculation that Microsoft will be simplifying the options for Windows 8, so we will have to wait and see what they do.
While Microsoft still controls most of the desktop and laptop computers used in business (via Windows XP and Windows 7), it is now a common sight in many corporate meetings to see at least 1-2 users with a Mac. Jump back even four years ago and that was rare. Now that Macs are more accepted, it can still be a challenge to manage them, hence our new report on Macs moving into the Enterprise.
iPad 3 Arrives in Two weeks
The bigger change in the last two years is the rise of Tablets and the overnight shift to using Tablets such as the iPad in the workplace. We are now less than eleven days until the expected announcement of the iPad 3 and with it will come a third proof point from Apple about how computers can be used by people with zero tinkering with the Operating System itself. (see our special report on Tablets in the Enterprise). This is a fundamental shift in the ease of use of end-user computing.
iPad 2 sales have not been disappointing with 54 million units sold in just over 25 months. The big news for the iPad 3 and future products from Apple is the continued innovation that makes the devices easier for people to use. The Siri Voice Assistant on the iPhone 4S powered that device to record sales. With the expected launch of Siri on the iPad 3 and later this year on Macs, we have all the makings for a revolution in computing (Siri works off of the Apple Cloud, so we will see what functionality comes on the iPad). The need to type will wane as computers learn to listen and take direction (via Voice) from people.
Of course Apple has not done all this on their own. A majority of the apps people use on these devices are not developed by Apple. In fact, one of the fastest growing areas in Mobile is accessing and using content on Tablets. Cloud Content Management providers (Box and many others) are filling gaps by offering an easier alternative to SharePoint (and Office 365) and this is gaining traction with enterprises.
In 2012, with both HCM and Workplace software, it is all about ecosystems, which is what started the mobile revolution. After all, the iPhone is just a small iPad and both leverage the ecosystem that Apple has been curating and supporting for over five years. Ecosystems are poised to transcend all major application categories, including enterprise software categories such as HCM and CRM. That is a topic for future discussions…