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Bill Kutik - The Little ATS That Could

His latest HR Executive Magazine Column: Imagine Chasing Taleo for 18 Years?

Bill Kutik - HR Executive Online columnist -TotalPicture Radio interviewBill Kutik

Imagine Chasing Taleo for 18 Years?

Bill Kutik is considered the leading independent analyst of the HR technology marketplace with specialties in HCM, Recruiting, Talent Management, SaaS, mobile and social networking.

In 2015, he started Firing Line with Bill Kutik®, the first independent broadcast-quality video interview series about HR technology. New episodes appear monthly on YouTube.

Since 1990, he has been Technology Columnist for Human Resource Executive (and for HREOnline™ since 2006,), also serving as founding co-chairman of the magazine's famous annual conference, HR Technology Conference & Exhibition, since it began in 1998 until 2013. In 2008, he started The Bill Kutik Radio Show®, a bi-weekly online talk show with industry leaders, currently on hiatus but with 183 episodes in the archive.

For 20 years, he was consulting editor for Esther Dyson's leading computer industry newsletter, Release 1.0. Previously he was the founding editor of the monthly magazine, Computers in HR Management; managing editor of Ziff-Davis' Computer Industry Daily; and a reporter for The New York Times and The New York Daily News. He has also published articles in Newsweek, Washington Post, Institutional Investor, New York Magazine, Business Month, IHRIM Journal, Cruising World and Backpacker (where he was the founding editor).

He has a B.A. degree from Harvard University and is president of Kutik Communications, a strategy, marketing and editorial consulting firm in Westport, Conn.


Welcome to a HR Technology Channel Podcast on TotalPicture Radio, I'm you host, Peter Clayton. I'm delighted to have Bill Kutik back on the show. Bill, great to see you again.

Here's the lede to Bill Kutik's latest HR Executive Magazine Column:

"Recruitsoft, Taleo, Oracle Recruitment -- it's had several names -- but that recruiting software has been the favorite of large company multinationals for years. Many competitors under various leaders have butted up against its brick wall. But for 18 years, only one company run by one man has consistently tried to be Avis to Taleo's Hertz -- iCIMS. Can it possibly become No. 1?"

A very intriguing lead-in for sure. Obviously, you're an expert at writing those! However, my first question, Bill -- I've never met a recruiter or HR manager that liked Taleo. Ever. And this is even before Oracle acquired them. How have they remained at the top of the ATS world for so long - they have many, many competitors.

There are a number of lists out there ranking ATS systems this one is from ONGIG - here's their top 10:

Taleo 36.43%
Homegrown 11.10%
Jobvite 8.58%
Kenexa - Brassring 7.56%
iCIMS 6.39%
ADP 4.79%
SAP-SuccessFactors 3.72%
PeopleFluent (Formerly PeopleClick) 2.52%
Silkroad 2.27%
iRecruitment/PeopleSoft 1.74%

Do you agree with this ranking?

You begin your article quoting Jeffery Pfeffer professor at Stanford (whom I've had the privilege to interview) "Silicon Valley is really only 10 to 20 large companies and 400 or more small ones acting as their R&D labs and sitting around hoping to be acquired by them." Which, as you point out, perfectly illustrates what's happening in HR technology.

So let's talk about the Avis in your story, iCIMS - what has made them a different cat?

You mention a huge get - Amazon leaving Taleo for iCIMS

iCIMS along with almost all of it's competitors offers a series of modules. You write "Colin came a little late to the idea that the center of value in TA had shifted away from the ATS (Recruit) to recruitment marketing (Connect)." Can you expand on this?

I think it's appropriate to have you give us a brief history of applicant tracking systems - they were first created to deal with compliance issues related to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission - EEOC back in the 60's were they not?

Returning to ICIMS and Taleo -- the stats you quote in your article are quite different from those we discussed earlier. Again, quoting from your article. "Colin's numbers show iCIMS catching up to Taleo by adding more than twice as many new customers a year. The totals in June were 3,500 for Taleo (which jibes with what Oracle says) and 2,600 for iCIMS. The followers in descending order are Taleo Business Edition, Ultimate, IBM/Kenexa and SilkRoad." Every list ranking ATS's is radically different.

Do you think iCIMS is a likely to be acquired in 2017?

What HR technologies are you keeping your eye on this year?

Peter Clayton

About Peter Clayton

Peter Clayton, Producer/Host, is an award-winning producer/director of radio, television, documentary, video, interactive and Web-based media who has created breakthrough media for a wide array of Fortune 100 clients.


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