Taleo unveiled its product and vision for employee performance management at the vendor’s user conference, Taleo World, which was well attended with over 600 customers, 50 financial analysts, and a smattering of industry analysts like me. 

Taleo’s new product is built on its new platform “Akira” which will eventually become the platform for all of its products.  Its user interface (including hooks to apps like Outlook) demos quite well and exploits social networking and Web 2.0 technologies — all hot technologies that grabbed the audience’s attention.  Apart from the shock and awe of the nice interface, the real value of an integrated performance and recruiting solution should not be ignored and includes:

  • Exposing career plans to job seekers (and employees). Imagine an entry-level worker applying to your company having visibility into where that job might lead, and more importantly has led for others based on data mined from the incumbent ERP.  Could that be a recruiting and retention tool coupled into one — not sure but it is innovative and intriguing.
  • Making succession planning an intra AND extra company process.  Succession planning is currently defined as promoting, slating, or pooling internal employees for new positions.  If succession and recruiting were married, you could build succession plans from external resources like your contractors, contingent workers, and prospective employees — succession planning in Taleo’s mind is nothing more than social networking deliberately applied to an organizational structure…not a bad idea.
  • Predicting new hires’ success more accurately.  An integrated performance and recruiting solution promises to infuse the objective data of high performers from your performance management system into your recruiting system.  Of course, you must have a defined set of competencies and skills by position to realize this value.

Taleo is on the right track by focusing on the user and trying to make its performance management system a productivity tool rather than a process automation tool.  They have a lot of good ideas, but admittedly this is a v.1 release limited to current customer adoption.  It remains to be seen if they will be able to be sell it as a standalone solution in 2008 when it becomes generally available, and what they plan to do to augment the solution with compensation and learning…which is where the integrated HCM market is headed.

Zach Thomas I Senior Analyst

Forrester Research