Two of the consistent themes that I picked up on at the HR Technology Conference were:
One - Most, (if not all) of the Talent Management vendors (SuccessFactors, Taleo, Halogen, Salary.com, etc.), are working diligently to expand the breadth of their offerings. Some are introducing new modules to their suites (SuccessFactors now offers ATS capability for example), entering into partnerships with other vendors (Taleo with Learn.com) or building more functionality to 'compete' with or at least offer an alternative to traditional HRIS vendors for the coveted 'System of Record' position.
Two - One of the most significant barriers to success in the implementation of these so-called Integrated Talent Management suites are internal organizational silos. Said differently, in large organizations the Talent Acquisition, Compensation Planning, core HR, and Training and Development groups are separated in the company, are many times working at cross-purposes. The needs of these different groups often have to be reconciled, and sometimes compromised to 'fit' into an integrated solution.
I heard this 'silo' issue at least three different times at the conference, and after being initially surprised it began to make perfect sense. The larger a system footprint gets, the more internal process and functions it impacts, the more people have to be involved, and the greater the need for increased coordination and collaboration.
The larger systems get, the more complicated they are to implement, and the more likely that some area of the organization will not get what they want. This is almost unavoidable, and the reason why most of these Talent Management vendors have risen up in the first place is this phenomenon in the ERP market.
I think the challenge going forward for the vendors themselves, and for the customers looking to implement these ever expanding systems is to avoid the issues faced by the large ERP systems. There is a fundamental difference as some of them transition from their position as 'Best-of-Breed' to something much larger.
Developing, selling, and implementing large systems that cross so many processes and organizational functions is a much more complex undertaking that slapping in a new stand-alone ATS or online Performance Management tool. Customers will have to be smarter, vendors will need to get better at supporting these implementations, and HR and business leaders had better be prepared to deconstruct their silos.