Wednesday, February 10, 2010

SuccessFactors completes a "practise" acquisiton

SuccessFactors buying Inform (InfoHRM) was certainly something I did not see coming. But, the most interesting, and seemingly overlooked, part of last week's announcement was the appointment of Judy Blegen as VP of M & A Integration. Such a position is surely not required to integrate an organisation as small as Inform. And, with more than $300M USD still available in its war chest, it seems obvious that SuccessFactor's shopping excursion is only just beginning.

As to the value of Inform, I think it is mildly complementary to SF's business, and certainly fits from a market positioning perspective. But, as Bull Kutik rightly points out, there is a large amount of professional consulting services that comes with implementing a workforce planning and analytics business. This part of Inform's business is not well aligned with SF's heritage.

On the other hand, I think the real value for SF will be practising on a "starter" integration before selecting a main course. I stand by my last post regarding Stepstone, especially its value to SF, but the timing of the Inform acquisition throws a spanner into the works that really opens up the targeting for SF. They have their pick, but what will it be? And what will Taleo do in response?

To me, it is like reading the first chapter of a good novel. I'm hooked, and I can't wait to see how it plays out.

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