CEO’s Letter: Why Goliath Lost

HRO Today

By Elliot H. Clark

We all grew up listening to the story of David and Goliath. This is a tale of how a young shepherd boy volunteered to face the hulking giant champion of the Philistines one hot day in the Valley of Elah. The triumph of David has become part of cultural lore and religious canon, and has given rise to modern verbal clichés. The problem I usually have with this particular story is that even though David won that afternoon, the smart money in the Valley of Elah was still on the big guy.

That parable leads me to this year’s Baker’s Dozen for Talent Management Technology. This year’s ranking features several large companies, including Workday (a challenger brand 10 years ago, but a Goliath-type today), SAP SuccessFactors, and iCIMS. They are being stack ranked based on three indices: size of deal, breadth of features, and most importantly, quality of service. Smaller firms, including GR8 People, BrightMove, and Hireology, are also in the survey.

Unfortunately, while the smart money in ancient Philistia may have been on Goliath, this is not true in our survey where David is kicking the living daylights out of the giants. Short story version of this survey: Big companies treat customers POORLY.

The truth is that if big companies were treating customers better and innovating more, they would kill every start-up with a flick of their monstrous tails. But they do not. Part of what HRO Today does with programs like the Baker’s Dozen Customer Satisfaction Ratings, the TekTonic Awards, and our annual events is give some notoriety to the smaller players who are up and coming in marketplace. Ironically, in the service-oriented Baker’s Dozen rankings, we see excellent service from both large and small companies, but in the technologically-driven rankings, such as the Baker’s Dozen for Talent Management Technology, we see that small companies are far more customer-oriented than larger ones.

Adaptability and flexibility should not diminish with size. If anything, the opposite should be true. We get so many questions now about what I will term “HR infrastructure” that we cannot properly address them at the HRO Today Forum, our annual conference that provides a platform for more strategic discussions about the future of HR from the perspective of CHRO speakers.

That is why this year, we will be hosting a series of topical conferences to address issues like technology selection as well as a host of other “topical” considerations about day-to-day HR. Click here for more information on the various events we have added through our recent transaction with the former Talent Management Alliance (TMA). We hope we can provide you with further insight about partnership selection.

Technology selection is a “conundrum” for HR buyers. I know many executives feel that it is a safer choice to go with an internationally renowned big player, but the truth is that these deals are often fraught with implementation and ongoing services issues, and HR leaders risk damaging their reputations trying to protect them. And while I have recommended using platform technology as opposed to trying to integrate dozens of point solutions in the past, after looking at these results, I am considering re-evaluating that recommendation.

Take a look at the results of the Baker’s Dozen for Talent Management Technology, and as always, we are ready to answer your questions.

Posted February 18, 2020 in Enabling Technology

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