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Taleo Broadens Focus With New Software Tools

September 21, 2007
Related Topics: Human Resources Management Systems (HRMS/HRIS), Workforce Planning, Latest News
Taleo’s product news this month is another sign that usability and social networking are hot topics in the HR tech world.

The Dublin, California-based company announced September 10 a set of software tools for performance management, goals management, career management and succession planning, and said it expects its Taleo Performance product to be available in the first quarter of 2008.

Taleo transforms performance management from a once-a-year obligation into a competitive edge that businesses can use to harness innovation and facilitate execution to achieve outstanding business results,” Taleo chief executive Michael Gregoire said in a statement.

The company has focused in the past on recruiting software and will now be able to offer customers a broader set of talent management applications, which are software products for key areas including recruiting, performance management, learning management and compensation management.

Taleo’s new product builds in social networking, such as the ability to see career paths taken by other employees to identify mentors. And it features a user interface designed to look and feel like a consumer Internet application, such as Yahoo.

Jason Corsello, vice president of consulting firm Knowledge Infusion, gives Taleo Performance high marks. Among the things that stand out, he said in a recent blog posting, is Taleo’s baseball card approach, with a picture of the employee on one side and their stats on the other, such as performance review information and succession plans.

“The product, from a [user interface] perspective, looks like nothing else in the market,” Corsello wrote.

According to a recent Knowledge Infusion survey, he added, usability ranked as the most important factor for considering a talent management suite.

Christa Degnan Manning, analyst with AMR Research, says the upcoming Taleo product breaks new ground with its uncluttered user interface. But she warns that companies will have some work to do to make the tool effective—plenty of data will have to be supplied. “It’s almost like they start out with a team with little to no stats to fill the back of the card,” she says.

Social networking concepts and technology have been spilling from the consumer arena of MySpace and Facebook to the corporate world. Vendors including SelectMinds are offering networking tools designed specifically for businesses. Such products are designed to foster collaboration and are said to appeal to younger workers.

Zach Thomas, senior analyst at Forrester Research, says social networking is more than the latest fad.

“I think it is helpful for companies, because you’re giving employees greater access to resources,” he says.

With its new product, Taleo is entering a crowded, fast-growing field. Other vendors of performance management products include HR software giants Oracle and SAP as well as smaller vendors such as SuccessFactors, Halogen Software and Softscape. According to AMR Research, employee performance management software will be the fastest-growing segment of human capital management software between 2006 and 2011.

Ed Frauenheim

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