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Vurv Adds New Options With Acquisition

January 17, 2007
Related Topics: Mergers and Acquisitions, Latest News
Vurv Technology is acquiring People Business Network, a provider of on-demand optimization products, in a move that extends its footprint in the talent management arena.

The company is in the process of transitioning from being a tactical applicant tracking system provider to more of a strategic talent management company, a company spokeswoman says.

“Our vision is to build a holistic suite of talent management services for our clients,” says Jaime Spuhler, a marketing communication specialist for Vurv. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition, announced Tuesday, January 16, will enable Vurv to offer new services to clients: offboarding and human capital analytics as well as dashboards, which will allow companies to tackle talent management issues in redeployment, retention and employee separation. These types of talent management tools are useful for large companies going through mergers, acquisitions, layoffs or reorganization—making it easier for employers to keep inventory of the skill sets that exist throughout their workforce.

“With all of the consolidation and M&A activity taking place in the market, it makes sense for Vurv to offer offboarding capabilities at least in theory” says Yves Lermusiaux, founder and CEO of Checkster and a co-founder of Vurv competitor Taleo Research. “It still remains to be seen whether there will be a need for these tools among Vurv’s clients.”

There are other questions among industry experts. Some wonder how Vurv, which has 300 workers, will juggle integrating the two companies and keep up with the demands of its high-volume business. Vurv is among the nation’s largest applicant tracking providers, with about 845 clients.

“The company is definitely moving up in the food chain by offering more sophisticated services. But at what cost?” says John Sumser, an analyst at Interbiznet.

New Jersey, that services a wide spectrum of employers, including 10 Fortune 500 companies. Spuhler says the company will stay in New Jersey, at least for now, and there will be no layoffs stemming directly from the acquisition.

Vurv product evangelist Michael George says the company took measures ahead of the acquisition to ensure that the integration would be successful and to position Vurv for other strategic moves in the future.

“To mitigate disruption, we took a holistic approach to this acquisition by addressing organizational needs via workforce planning and strategic product planning.”

Some of those steps included consolidating business development and sales under the jurisdiction of Michael Gibson, who was hired as senior vice president of global sales in mid-December. Gibson's position was created to better coordinate the work done by the sales and business development divisions.

In addition, Vurv hired Samantha Hanson as vice president of human resources in December to meet workforce management needs. Vurv’s strategy is to empower its workforce to deliver better services. “We want to provide the Ritz-Carlton-like experience for our customers,” George says. To reach this objective, Vurv is flattening its organization so there are fewer layers between clients and customer services.

Jacksonville, Florida-based Vurv recently restructured its workforce, resulting in the elimination of several positions.

Spuhler declined to disclose the number of employees let go, but stressed it was a small group of workers and the move was intended to eliminate redundancy and sharpen its workforce.

“We are practicing what we preach to our customers,” George says.
 Vurv will continue to push ahead with its reinvention strategy in 2007. “This is going to be a make-it-or-break-it year, with a lot of action in the market,” George says. “We want to position ourselves to be consolidators in the industry.”

A year ago, management dropped the company’s old name, Recruitmax, and adopted Vurv. Other firms in the industry have pursued similar strategies. Recruitsoft was renamed Taleo in 2003.

“Dropping the recruitment portion of the names is a way for these companies to rebrand themselves,” Lermusiaux says. “It sends a message to the market that they are much more than an ATS provider.”

Gina Ruiz

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