Taleo moves beyond e-recruiting

SAN FRANCISCO – Taleo Corp. used its Taleo World 2007 user conference here Monday to announce its move into the performance management space, a necessary step the human resources software vendor said to helping companies not only recruit, but retain, top quality employees.

Based in San Francisco with a substantial research and development presence in Quebec, Taleo’s flagship software is a hosted e-recruiting application to help companies manage the recruitment and hiring process. Building on that success, at the conference Taleo announced the development of a performance management solution, Taleo Performance, with limited release in October and general availability slated for Q1 of 2008.

Michael Gregoire, Taleo’s president and CEO, said managing an employee’s performance and career once they’re with the company has become as important as the hiring process itself, and the war for talent has made employee retention critical.

“Talent is becoming more and more scarce and it is the more valuable part of your company,” he said, noting that a company’s worth no longer lies in its physical asset, but in its intellectual assets, its employees. “We’re going to have to depend on our own intellect and our own innovation to bring people into our company. The populations of India and China will help but they’re not going to solve the talent shortage problems we have right here, right now.”

With all the tools employees have in this war for talent that employers can’t control, like the job boards and salary comparison tools, it’s easier than ever for an unhappy employee to find opportunity elsewhere.  Gregoire said employers need to give their workers empowering tools that they can control, which is where Taleo Performance fits in.

“Every day, your companies are competing with job boards to keep your own employees,” said Karl Ederle, Taleo’s vice-president of product strategy.

The suite includes tools for tracking and measuring employee performance, goals management, career management and succession planning. Career management shows employees the future positions available to them, while goals management shows the them what they need to achieve to get there and how far along they are. Show them a career path, said Ederle, and “I assure you this will result in a more motivated workforce.”

The suite has been developed with usability in mind, drawing inspiration from consumer sites like E-Bay and iTunes. Integration with Microsoft Outlook has been developed for ease of use, and connectors to social networking sites like LinkedIn and FaceBook have also been developed.

Jim Holincheck, a vice-president with analyst firm Gartner, said performance management is a large, growing market and Taleo Performance serves well to “close the loop” with Taleo’s core e-recruiting applications. He cautions, though, that Taleo is moving into a crowded area.

 “I think they’ve done some unique things in terms of usability and integration with recruiting that is different from how other vendors have approached it,” said Holincheck. “ But they’re getting into the game a little bit later than many.”

Taleo will start by marketing the solution to its existing customer base before later making it generally available, which Holincheck calls a prudent move, but he added the real question is how they’ll fare when they start going head-to-head with some of the major players out there.

With the move into performance management, Holincheck said Taleo begins to encroach on areas where ERP vendors like SAP and Oracle play with modules. It’s also likely to become an attractive space for business intelligence vendors to look at moving into.

“There’s an intersection point and we could start to say lots of other, bigger vendors start to wander into this space,” he said.

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras is a technology journalist with IT World Canada and a member of the IT Business team. He began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada and the channel for Computer Dealer News. His writing has also appeared in the Vancouver Sun & the Ottawa Citizen.

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