TechWeb

Workstream Brings Workforce Systems to Next Level

Nov 29, 2004 (11:11 AM EST)

Read the Original Article at http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=54200610


VentanaMonitor™

Workstream has rapidly become one of the market leaders in workforce management systems that provide employee-related operational and performance applications for human resources (HR). Workstream is a fully hosted application provider that provides software as a service approach, which has rapidly become the simplest and most cost effective way to provide your organization with the ability to purchase and deploy applications. Workstream has launched TalentCenter, a role-based employee portal that unifies access to a suite of best-of-breed applications for your workforce. Ventana Research believes Workstream's offering will rapidly become one of the new standards for bringing efficiency and effectiveness to your workforce, and will eliminate the need for installing and integrating HR applications in your enterprise.

Assessment

HR organizations must find ways to simplify and reduce the cost of operating specific tasks such as hiring, retiring, and firing employees, facilitating performance appraisals, compensation, incentives and rewards, outplacement, and benefits administration. Unfortunately, the complexity and cost of maintaining existing human resources management systems (HRMS) has become so cumbersome that organizations have acquired many of these systems through custom applications or niche providers, thereby introducing further complexity. The need to simplify HR has forced organizations of all sizes to transition away from the install-and-maintain approach and move toward the purchase and deployment of software as a service approach.

Workstream has launched an easy method, called TalentCenter, which provides organizations with simple, hosted workforce automation and performance applications. This software, a service approach leveraging a portal, provides unified and role-based access to these applications. Workstream manages the applications and environment to your specific needs, removing the complexity of installing, maintaining, and integrating the applications inside of your enterprise.

Workstream has assembled these capabilities through a series of acquisitions, including companies like Job Planet and Icarian in recruiting, Trimbus and Bravanta in performance, Kadiri in compensation, Xylo in rewards, and Allan & Associates in outplacement. Even last week there was a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of HRSoft, which specializes in succession planning, competency management, and development planning.

These acquisitions have quickly brought existing customers, domain knowledge and skills, and workforce applications to Workstream at a fraction of the cost that the original companies had invested to build the solution and acquire customers. Ventana Research believes this simplified approach to helping organizations maintain and improve the value of their workforce will become the standard method for HR organizations.

Market Impact

Workstream's rapid evolution in the last 12 to 18 months in bringing workforce operations and performance process to market has caught most players in the market by surprise. The difficulties of the smaller niche providers in sustaining their operations have provided Workstream with an opportunity to acquire the customer, people, and technology assets quickly. Workscape has a strong HR operations-centric set of applications and services, and continues to build out the performance and information management aspects of its offering. Workstream will provide a directly competitive offering and, in many cases, a more advanced offering than other hosted applications and service providers such as Kenexa, Softscape, and Workscape.

The traditional HRMS providers — Lawson, Oracle, Peoplesoft and SAP — will be significantly challenged to transition their business rapidly to compete against Workstream for two reasons. The first is the economic aspect of Workstream's software. Its service approach makes it incredibly cost effective to purchase and access the applications. The second reason is that Workstream has moved way beyond the payroll and benefits aspects of HR systems and has brought together the next generation of workforce operations and performance applications that organizations require to increase the value of their human capital.

Recommendation

Workstream brings a simplified, cost effective service approach to workforce automation and performance systems for your organization. Ventana Research believes costly HR and ERP upgrades are a thing of the past. The clear economic value of this hosted portal approach will rapidly bring new focus on workforce processes and less focus on systems and technology. Workstream TalentCenter and its investment in building the most robust workforce suite of applications are critical steps in this direction and provide a good opportunity for you to re-evaluate your existing systems. This approach will provide you more time and resources to focus on leveraging human capital and improving workforce performance.

Mark Smith is CEO & Senior Vice President of Research at Ventana Research (www.ventanaresearch.com), a research and advisory services firm.