There is a new frontier and it is the applicant tracking system. For those of you that have been following the world of applicant tracking systems lately you know that there’s been some merging and acquiring. Life as the applicant system vendors knew it has changed. One by one companies like Taleo and SuccessFactors are being gobbled up and regurgitated as newly packaged entities. Freedom from the big “b” that is the bottomline is no more. They are now a part of something bigger and customers, critics, and onlookers alike are all wondering one thing- will their value propositions live on?


They all have put out nicely crafted PR statements saying that this new push to combine technology powers is a plus and the combination of the two companies will allow them to bring even more value to the customer-yadda…yadda…yadda. While it may be true that these vendors will continue on valiantly; they cannot fault those that remain a bit cynical about the whole ordeal. Of primary interest is the partnership. Who were the two companies before they merged and how will the flaws of each impact the customer experience going forward? The answer is none of us knows and customers are sitting ducks for the moment. In time there will be reports of gains or losses (however that pans out) but for now it is unchartered territory for all involved.


There’s no doubt that big dollars thrown around lead to a perception that it’s all about the bottomline, market share and making money. The challenge that ATS vendors have ahead of them is proving us all wrong and keeping up the same value propositions if not improving those offerings now that they are bigger and allegedly better.


While it is a happy time for all of these companies (Kenexa being the latest to be gobbled up), it is a time of vulnerability for everyone involved. ATS vendors need to be more vigilant than ever in reassuring their customers that these M&A’s are good for the product. In addition, they must be diligent in making sure that they are meeting and exceeding the service levels they provided prior to the acquisition. Any service or value infraction could cost them customers.


ATS and/or Talent Management platforms were given life to streamline HR processes and make the lives of those in the hiring function easier. The reality of a changing landscape of technology facilitated by mergers and acquisitions is daunting. Before M&A’s became a commonplace, these systems were imperfect and in some cases viewed as a burden rather than a valued added tool. There’s no better time than now to bring out the heavy artillery and show us techies that all of this change is laying the groundwork for an exciting future in HR Technology and not just a mad rush to gain market share in the Saas space. After all some will argue that it all comes down to the almighty “cloud”. The allure of the technology is certainly due in part to a fascination with the almighty “cloud” but it’s also the strut of the ATS that is all the buzz. The ATS space is something to watch. It is becoming increasingly profitable and those that had no interest in this business a decade ago have a renewed outlook on the entire industry.


Whether it is ATS, CRM, or virtual learning, there are a lot of things to be excited about in the HR Technology space. The future of HR tech is exciting but yet ominous. It is on the cutting edge, but still with inherent flaws. We can only be optimistic and broad minded in our thinking and assume that what’s to come is a hell of a lot better than where we have been.


In parting, I say to the ATS vendors and HR Technology companies may the force be with you as you explore life, liberty and the pursuit Saas. Here’s to the Futurism of HR Technology!

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