HR software vendor turning to the channel for implementation help

San Francisco – As Taleo Corp. transitions from a purely e-recruiting software provider to a performance management software provider, the company plans to rely more heavily on the channel to help it implement its on demand human resources solutions.

The San Francisco-based vendor, with a substantial research and development presence in Quebec, told attendees at its Taleo World 2007 conference here this week it considers managing an employee’s performance with the company, and employee retention, to be as important as the recruiting and hiring process itself.

To that end, Taleo used the conference to launch Taleo Performance, a new on demand software offering in the performance management space, that will see the company beginning to compete more heavily with larger ERP vendors like Oracle and SAP.

Speaking to the media, Taleo president and CEO Michael Gregoire said as the company expands into this new market it sees implementation quickly becoming a challenge.

“Our ability to sell the product will rapidly outstrip our ability to implement, so we’re actively recruiting partners to help with implementation,” said Gregoire.

In an interview with CDN Taleo’s vice-president of global alliances, Fred Harding, confirmed the company will be looking to the systems integrator community to help it fill that gap, and will be making implementation primarily a channel play.

Today, while Taleo does have a channel program, its partners are mainly large human resources outsourcing companies like IBM, Accenture, Fidelity and EDS. Harding said pure software deals are typically done by Taleo direct, while deals where the decision is to buy a service with the software built into it typically move through this channel.

“The service provider typically needs a software to power or enable their services, and so from a channel perspective they’ll either bring us in as a referral partner and we’ll jointly sell, or they’ll resell Taleo as part of their services,” said Harding. “It’s a strategy for getting at a type of deal and an element of revenue that our direct sales team couldn’t get at.”

Where there’s going to be greater down-channel opportunity in the future is, as Gregoire hinted, around implementation. Currently, Taleo’s services team does 80 per cent of the implementation work and relies on partners for 20 per cent. Harding said he’d like to flip that figure.

“If we want to really grow the way we want to grow software revenue is what powers the company,” said Harding. “We generally do services in order to make the software successful, we don’t do services standalone, so part of the strategy is to switch that around.”

It’s a vision, said Harding, and they’re not there yet, but he said it is the direction Taleo is heading in.

“The idea is we’ll bring in more implementation partners and more systems integration partners, either very large-sized, mid-sized of boutique ones depending on the customer engagement, to deliver the services,” said Harding. “We’re going to grow our partner ecosystem.”

Comment: cdnedit@itbusiness.ca

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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