The signs are auspicious.

Monster, long the sole provider of industry leadership, turns away from the industry. HotJobs flounders in the midst of employee evacuations caused by merger talk. CareerBuilder, the best blue collar job board becomes the highest trafficked employment destination.

Talent Management, a broadly integrated approach to human capital acquisition and deployment, takes center stage. People, like other investments require maintenance and development after they are acquired. The HR Software Industry is taking note. Vendors and consultants are flocking to the new Mecca.

Yesterday, Taleo bought Vurv.

The high end talking heads are pondering hard. It looks, at first blush, like the oft foretold industry consolidation has begun. Taleo and Vurv control big accounts in the Fortune 1000. The analysts, whose universe is that 10% of the world known as enterprise accounts, proclaim the dawning of a new Talent Management day.

Hallelujah, my brothers and sisters, Hallelujah.

Did you know that there are nearly 100 Applicant Tracking Systems companies (ATS)? The ATS market has relatively few barriers to entry. Customers are perpetually dissatisfied. Accounts turn over on a three year cycle

It’s no accident that that’s the average tenure of an HR Manager, Enterprise ATS engagements are really about consultants holding hands with a chosen customer. All it takes is a little marketing money (well, okay, a lot) and a good pitch. ATS fortunes are made in a relatively short time. Small and Big companies with small and big accounts sell this stuff all night and day.

Why?

The degree to which employment law in the united states is frightening to business people cannot be overstated. It’s not that the intent is wrong, it’s that enforcement seems random and oppressive to business owners. They are trying to focus on other things and employment law seems like a tremendous risk. So, when companies come calling and say they can mitigate the risk, it’s a relatively easy sell.

It’s just that the tools don’t do what they claim to.

Peter Drucker famously noted

So, all the changes in the vendor world portend good things. While the talk is auspicious, this looks like Winter rather than Spring. So far, all of the changes in the industry (and there have been a lot) look like dead bodies. There are few, if any, signs of Spring. No buds, no slightly purple tree branches, no grass sticking its neck out.



 
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