Jim Holincheck exits Gartner for Workday: A Farewell but not Goodbye

By Jim Lundy

Jim Holincheck

Jim Holincheck at a recent Industry Event.

In case you hadn’t heard, Gartner Managing Vice President Jim Holincheck  left Gartner in July and joined HCM provider Workday.  So when Jim announced via Twitter that he was joining Workday, I watched and waited. The same thing happened to Jim that happened to me when I left Gartner: nothing.

A funny thing happens when you leave Gartner: you become persona non grata. The research you published is still there, but all mentions and all conversations about you cease. Management likes it that way.  Not a single person is allowed to say anything when a colleague leaves Gartner, even after years of distinguished Service.  So in the spirit of a professional send-off, I’m writing this Blog. It is a farewell to Jim Holincheck as the Managing Vice President of the HCM Team at Gartner, but it isn’t a goodbye.

I’ll note that there are firms that do farewells or they at least keep in touch. Forrester is a case in point. They have an alumni network  and Forrester CEO George Colony attends their alumni events. Gartner could learn something from Forrester and from us on this small, but important point of how you treat departing associates. At least now they leave your Gartner Blog intact.

Jim Holincheck departure leaves gaping hole  at Gartner

Jim had a solid team at Gartner, but in the overall scheme, he was both the manager and the lead analyst that end user firms and vendors counted on. Jim did an excellent job of building the HCM practice area and it is fair and right to give him the credit he deserves for such a job well done. Thomas Otter is there and he is excellent, but he is in Germany and it isn’t the same as being in the US. I remember when Jim was building his area out and we used to laugh about what his chances of getting any extra headcount were. The good news is that they did invest in his area, but overall not enough. That puts pressure on the manager and Jim was tireless in his delivery. That is what a good manager does. He jumps in and gets his hands dirty. Jim was that and more.

Sure Gartner will fill his spot, but it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Jim Holincheck built the HCM practice, just as I built the Social and Collaboration practice there. Suffice to say, filling his shoes will not be easy.

Jim Holincheck – A win for Workday

I’m sure there are HCM vendors who are shaking their head, thinking dang, Workday got us again.  One has to give a tip-the-hat to Workday. Hiring Jim Holincheck was a strong move. They want to do an IPO, so why not grab a thought leader like Jim Holincheck to bring even more awareness to the Workday cause.  Now, if I were advising Workday, I would have suggested that having Jim in a more strategic role would serve them better. Chief Strategist is certainly a better fit than Services Marketing, but I digress. The thing that other vendors should think about is – hey why didn’t I make that move.

Some will say that they’ve seen this movie before: The title is: “Analyst leaves for a Vendor”. This version is a little different. Jim Holincheck was a voice of reason when it came to analysis of Workday. There are many who have made it their business to augment Workday’s marketing messages. The reality is that Workday is still a Start-up, it isn’t Peoplesoft, which is where many people at Workday used to work. Only time will tell if large enterprises will move their HCM data to the Cloud (see our recent post titled: Cloud: Is your Cloud Vendor ready for you?). I’ll admit that Workday is leading the charge in pushing HCM Cloud, but they have to if they want a successful IPO.

Jim Holincheck – A Farewell but not a Goodbye

This leads me to my last point. Jim is still a thought leader, even though he has a stopover at a vendor. Jim also had a great blog that was independent of Gartner and I’m hoping that he keeps it going. The whole time I was at Saba I kept mine active. So we wish Jim Holincheck well in his new endeavor at Workday. He rocked it at Gartner and he will continue to be a thought leader, even if his business card today has a vendor name on it.



  1. Ted Friedman says:

    Jim — What are you talking about, Management doesn’t let anyone talk about people who have left? That’s nonsense. Hell, we even had Howard Dresner present at a recent Gartner Summit event this year. What did you expect to happen? How many companies do you know that make a big, formal, public statement when someone leaves? Sorry, just ran across this and it struck me as really off. Best wishes to Jim — we are sorry to lose him, but wish him all the best in his new role!

    • Jim Lundy says:

      Ted, great to hear from you. Those are my observations on one person leaving that mirrored my own. I do know that Jim got a nice gift from his team. That would make for a great blog post….


  2. Thanks for finally writing about >Jim Holincheck exits Gartner for Workday: A Farewell but not Goodbye | aragonresearch.
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