HCM Platforms: IBM Steps on the Gas
By Jim Lundy
We attended IBM’s Kenexa Smarter Workforce Summit in Orlando this week and it was a solid event with great buzz. IBM provided a progress report on its products and services and also on their shift to their Open HR and Open Analytics platforms that allow third-party partners to integrate with them.
Regarding the event, it was well attended and we estimated close to 900 attendees—real customers who were engaged and enthusiastic about all things related to Talent Management and HR.
IBM and Smarter Recruiting
IBM made news regarding its Recruiting Platform with Three Key announcements:
Candidate Relationship Management: IBM’s new Kenexa Leads Manager—this allows Recruiters to manage their recruiting pipeline, and it leverages the well-known IBM Marketing Cloud offering, formerly known as SilverPop.
Mobile Recruitment: Making the recruiting experience mobile-first by leveraging IBM Design Thinking and Mobile Initiatives.
Candidate Web Traffic Analytics: Helps to understand candidate behavior by understanding what they have done online. This offering is powered by IBM Digital Analytics (formerly CoreMetrics).
What makes this impactful is that IBM is not reinventing things here. They are leveraging existing capabilities (i.e., shipping products) to offer HR buyers more capabilities to allow them to hire candidates faster and more efficiently.
The Shift to Platforms in HCM
Everyone that has been to Dreamforce understands the power of the platform play in CRM. It is what has fueled the growth at Salesforce. The same thing is beginning to happen in Human Capital Management (HCM). In fact, at our conference last month in Las Vegas, I gave an entire talk about clouds, APIs, and the shift to cloud-based platforms.
It isn’t just IBM that is making this move. Other providers, such as Cornerstone OnDemand, Saba, and even Salesforce are building marketplaces that allow for faster integration of third-party HCM and Talent Management applications. In our recent First Cut from July 2nd, 2015, we predicted: By YE 2017, a majority of HR technology vendors will offer HR Platforms that integrate with third-party applications.
IBM has an advantage over some of the providers—it already has a very large cloud ecosystem that it is bringing to bear. Not everything is in place, but we see them moving with greater speed in this area, as evidenced by all the movement around BlueMix. IBM is pushing the Open HR platform play and while it is early, we heard many customers at the event talking about how they plan to leverage it.
IBM: A Growing List of Partners
IBM wasn’t specific on the number of new partners, but they presented a large list—over and above the 56 they launched with just four months ago. The Open HR platform play will let many smaller vendors participate (see Figure 1). The Open Analytics play is also an area we see for partnerships, since many will be challenged to match IBM in the type of predictive analytics they offer. The smart thing for many will be to partner.
Connecting Clouds and Applications
With these announcements, IBM is beginning to leverage its combined product portfolio in ways that others cannot. As clouds become more interconnected and as applications become API-enabled, the way software applications interact is changing. This is great for buyers. The challenge is that not everyone gets this yet, but this is the way forward and our advice is that enterprises need to look at their software and services providers to see if their roadmaps support this.