Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Authoria tops the TMS vendors?

In a rare show of self control, a vendor has incredible press that it doesn't show off on it's website.

CHICAGO, HR Technology Conference and Exhibition, Oct. 20 /PRNewswire/ --
Authoria, Inc., the leader in integrated strategic Human Capital Management (HCM) solutions, won the industry's first Integrated Performance & Compensation Management Shootout today at the 8th Annual HR Technology Conference and Exposition in Chicago.
The 350 human resources professionals in attendance at the Shootout chose Authoria as the winner after witnessing live demonstrations from all four competitors. The demonstrations followed a scripted scenario written by Bill Kutik, conference co-chair, and Mark Albrecht, vice president of consulting at The three other competitors were Recruitmax, SuccessFactors and Workstream.
"Studies continue to show that Performance Management is priority No. 1 for HR executives and the C-suite," Kutik said. "Last year, we staged the industry's first Performance Management Shootout. This year, we went the next step toward getting full business benefits by integrating performance management with compensation management to compare industry leaders in an apples-to-apples contest, back-to-back for the first time."

It's pretty obvious that I consider Authoria, SuccessFactors, WorkStream, and Recruitmax to be the leaders in the field. My original reviews here and here. All of the vendors are undergoing an incredible amount of R&D at the moment as the industry demands more robust and comprehensive TMS solutions. The trick is that as these companies acquire functionality (much more acquiring than developing going on here), that they integrate well in the back end. Equally as important is that they create UI's that look seamless to the end users if the applications really are pieced together.

Interestingly, last year's "shootout" was performance only. A comment I got via e-mail from a reader (Andrew) suggested that all of these companies could probably survive on performance management alone for a few years. Indeed that's where the core demand is, but once performance is up, compensation is very soon to follow. Additionally, workforce planning is about to hit the market big time as the consulting world looks out 5-10 years, and the vendors are picking up on this. So while workforce planning and succession are not huge functional drivers today, I think (hope) that if a few years it will be as big as performance.

A couple of posts ago, I pointed out a talent management article on Deloitte's page. Notice that their discussion about talent management is about what I call workforce management, not performance or comp.

Back to Authoria and why they won the shoot-out. Well, I should first say that I was not there, do not know what the scripted scenario was, nor have I even seen the most current version of all 4 software packages. However, I'm betting that Authoria's background in knowledgebase and integrating data from multiple points into a single UI gives them an edge. I'm betting that Authoria won because their data transactions may have looked smoother and more seamless. I think RecruitMax's foray from TAS to TMS is still too new, but give them another 12 months to patch things together and they'll be a threat. (and actually, RecruitMax won the performance shoot-out in 2004 - however they acquired compensation earlier this year)

So what happened to WorkStream and SuccessFactors? Clearly we can't say that they didn't have the functionality, integration, or UI. In all honesty I bet the shoot-out was a pretty close decision that once again may have come down to UI and useability. The singe scenario demonstration certainly would not be enough to judge a ranking based on functionality.

I'm going to agree and give Authoria a thumbs up for UI and integration. The lead on functionality is highly subjective based on who the client/prospect is and functionality changes at lightspeed anyway. I'm going to do some research on the financials of these 4 vendors (and maybe a couple others too). I'll post that in a few days.