I was going to write about how wrong it is for Taleo to have to recognize services revenue ratably over the course of its software contracts, but Dennis beat me to the punch. Please see my previous post as well http://blogs.gartner.com/blog/2008/12/15/jim-holincheck-saas-revenue-recognition/.
A lot of times we think about career planning as a service an employer providers to its employees, but it is important to recognize that with all of the job changes people will make in their careers that there will be a desire for an individual to control this outside of the context of the employer. This is a good example of such a service directed at the individual.
Contingent labor is often left out of the discussion of talent management (it is why we used the broader term talent acquisition when we created our definition of talent management), but as Dr. Sullivan and Master Burnett point out it should be a major topic, especially in the current economy.
Gautam Ghosh has embedded the 2008 version of "Did You Know" into this blog post. If you have not seen it before, you should take a look as it does paint a bigger picture of what is happening in the world.
A couple of announcements in the last few days caused me to raise my eyebrow and take a second look. Last week, GeoLearning announced Geo On-Demand a free e-learning solution (there will be charges for additional online courses). Today, I saw a press release from Kronos announcing pay-per-hire pricing. Granted pay-per-hire pricing is not new in the Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) world, but it is unusual for e-recruitment software. These announcements follow on the heels of the SmartRecruiter announcement (free e-recruitment software) several months ago. Eventually, I think we will see a free talent management suite (we already have a free HRMS, OrangeHRM, an open source solution).
Now, there is no such thing as totally free. Vendors need to make money too. Geo On-Demand, SmartRecruiter, and OrangeHRM offer optional, value-added products, content, and/or services either direct from the vendor or through partners to generate revenues. The key word though is "optional". This does make one ask the question, where does the value reside in the "whole product" (in the Geoffrey Moore sense of the term)? It may not reside in the application. It might reside in content or services. It might also be better tied to the business results (as in the Kronos pricing example).
Of course, "free" solutions will not be for everyone. It is not even clear yet if the "free" model will work long-term. However, competing against "free" increases pricing pressure. Customers buying solutions today (yes, they are still out there buying) are looking for every leverage point. Vendors, now more than ever, really need to have a compelling, differentiated value proposition.
Would you want a "free" solution? Is "free" a compelling value proposition for HCM applications? Is a business-result-based value proposition superior? What do you think?