As I watch the consolidations in the Talent Management Technology market and I try to come up with a way to describe it, all I can think of is SaaS Wars. And while it might seem like a stretch to compare it to the Star Wars movies, there are some definite similarities.
In the Star Wars epic there were only two sides; the evil Empire and the Rebel Alliance. SaaS Wars is a little more complicated because there are several vendors trying to build a Death Star, or I should say Integrated Talent Management Suite.
So how do you know who is Darth Vader and who are the Jedi? It seems that whenever a vendor makes a move to take the lead position in SaaS Wars, they also take on the persona of the evil empire. All other vendors become the Rebel Alliance and take shots at them. (…use the force Luke…)
For example, SuccessFactors has been on an acquisition tear and aggressively pursuing the lead position. When they acquired InfoHRM to add Workforce Planning to their platform, very shortly after Taleo and Aruspex form an alliance. SumTotal then makes a direct hit by acquiring GeoLearning. Let’s be honest, SumTotal did not need to add Learning to their product line, they were founded by the merger of two leading LMS vendors. It was an attack on the SuccessFactors Death Star by eliminating their ability to deliver GeoLearning’s LMS through a strategic alliance.
Last week the Empire Struck Back. SuccessFactors announced their intent to acquire Plateau for a cool $290 million. When the deal closes later this summer I think it will be the most significant consolidation in the space this year. Already there are the beginnings of the counter attack, just look at this response from Saba. There is no acquisition or alliance here, but Saba is essentially saying that they have a better Death Star and should be considered the real Empire.
I hope that while they are battling each other for global dominance, they don’t forget that much of the universe is still made up of Ewoks looking for simple solutions to life’s problems.
If you like a good movie, stay tuned because this one is just getting started.