Help! My Talent Management Provider Has Been Acquired!

By Kyle Lagunas, HR Market Analyst,

Last year, you convinced your leadership team to purchase a full talent management suite to streamline hiring, onboarding, performance review and learning management across every department. Up until last week, you were living in bliss.  And then it happened. Your beloved talent management provider was acquired.

And you’re not alone. Since December, both SuccessFactors and Taleo–big-time vendors in the talent management space–we acquired by even larger legacy ERP providers. And while an acquisition in and of itself may not be cause for concern, how it impacts your organization is something leadership expects you to manage with care. To lend you a hand, I’ve put together some suggestions on managing the uncertainty that is often associated with acquisitions like these.

1. Touch Base with Your Account Manager
In times of change, maintaining an open line of communication is key. To that end, stay in regular touch with your Account Manager. Feel empowered to voice your concerns and ask direct questions about changes in product direction, service or support that are on the horizon. However, be sympathetic to the fact that he or she might be in the dark, and understandably as anxious about changes as you are. Be patient.

2. Do Some Research
If you’re not already familiar, iCIMS Chief Strategic Officer, Susan Vitale, advises researching what it means to be a client of a large ERP vendor. “What is the customer service like? Will you feel like a small fish in a big pond? Your organization still wants to feel important – do your homework to see if that will change upon a completed transaction.” Even if your contract isn’t up for renewal anytime soon, some higher-up in your organization is bound to ask you some questions about immediate impact. So be proactive and review your contract.

3. Identify your Dependencies
There may be a part of your talent management process where software is essential to its success. The worst time to realize that dependency is after something you rely upon has changed. If SAP or Oracle makes a product change that breaks your custom workflows or configurations–which often happens unintentionally–you’ll want to have a workaround in place. “Prioritize what is most important to your business and HR/recruitment operations,” says Vitale, “so you can isolate best of breed technologies that can fulfill those requirements if need be.”

4. Leverage the Open API
Rather than replacing your entire talent management system simply because you’re afraid of a change in, say, the software’s recruiting and onboarding functionality, there is another option to consider: extending your existing product capabilities by integrating other point solutions via an open API (in tech speak: application programming interface).

Vitale suggests: “Discuss the pros and cons of moving in that direction with other functional leaders to determine if this acquisition makes business operations easier for your company or if a more focused technology approach (perhaps using integrations/APIs) is preferred.”

Master Your Domain
It’s easy to be intimidated when your vendor is acquired. Change can be painful. But remember that you’re not a helpless bystander. As Finnegan points out, “You need to understand the leverage you have as a paying customer. You’re the master of your domain.” After all, at the end of the day, neither SAP nor Oracle win if they start hemorrhaging customers from companies they paid a hefty price to acquire.

Also keep in mind that if you’re ultimately not happy with what the new direction the vendors take, there are always other options available to you.

Kyle Lagunas is the HR Analyst at Software Advice, an online resource for reviewing and comparing human resources software. Located in Austin, Texas, USA, Kyle reports on trends and best practices in HR and recruiting technology. For the full survival guide, .

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