The talent management software gold rush continues as IBM buys Kenexa


IBM has just announced it is to buy talent management software company Kenexa, a step that provides further evidence of a gold rush for talent management software vendors.

In its press release, IBM says the acquisition will enable it to further develop its social business offering – helping create teams and enabling them to communicate and collaborate effectively:

Kenexa, a leading provider of recruiting and talent management solutions, brings a unique combination of Cloud-based technology and consulting services that integrates both people and processes, providing solutions to engage a smarter, more effective workforce across their most critical business functions.

Kenexa complements IBM’s strategy of bringing relevant data and expertise into the hands of business leaders within every functional department, from sales and marketing to product development and human resources. As a result of this synergy, clients will be able to attract and develop the right skills to build the right teams, for the right projects, the first time.


So companies like Kenexa provide cloud solutions that simplify the recruitment of, and manage processes for, new recruits.

But what does this deal mean for talent management software providers? Ed Frauenheim, senior editor at Workforce Management, has written a though-provoking piece suggesting that this acquisition sounds the death knell for talent management vendors as the likes of IBM shift towards data and analytics and social business.

Whether or not this plays out, talent management vendors are also looking to crack analytics, he says.

Gil Press, writing in Forbes,  echoes the point about the importance of data to IBM. By purchasing Kenexa – with its 8,900 customers – IBM is able to grow its data significantly and sell back the tools to use the data effectively.

IBM joins Oracle, who bought Taleo, SAP, who bought SuccessFactors. Added to that, we have seen Microsoft buy Yammer and Salesforce buy Rypple.

The trend is for big vendors to be able to provide talent management, workforce planning and communication and collaboration tools all in one package. But what does this all mean for the learning systems wrapped up in these talent management solutions?


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