Phew !! that’s an impressive list of credentials for a Company that was founded in 1996..almost a decade after Dave Duffield founded PeopleSoft – one of the best in breed ERPs in the market today. I had heard about Taleo’s Recruiting Solution about 4 yrs ago when my previous employer was scouting for the best Recruiting solution after being a wee bit uncomfortable with PeopleSoft’s Recruiting solution. Without a doubt, Taleo’s impressive User Interface and advance talent acquisition functionality stood out from the crowd. Having a bias towards peopleSoft, I must confess I didn’t give it much of a thought until I was given a demo of the system by Josh during my class at UC Berkeley and I was mesmerized once again with the impeccable UI and ease of configuration that this system gives to its users….So without a further adieu let me rummage through all the literature available and collect my thoughts to present a rather interesting take on …the good, bad and ugly of Taleo’s Talent Management Solution.
So What makes Taleo Talent Management worth a mention?
1. Affordability: It’s simple with no initial capital expenditure. Like most of its contemporaries in the SaaS and Cloud Computing domain, users pay a monthly fee of $99-140$ per month. There is no software or hardware to buy which is normally a deterrent in these trying times.
2. Availability and Pure Web Architecture: Accessible 24/7 from anywhere anytime as long as there is an Internet connection.
3. Usability: This is one area wherein I found Taleo providing the greatest advantage to its users mainly the candidates through its simple and intuitive User Interfaces . With the sudden rise of social networking sites like Twitter and Linked In used by candidates for job application purposes, Taleo has a built in integration with both these websites. Hence it facilitates an instant chat with a member of the Co’s recruiting team as well as allows a prospective applicant to find additional information through contacts on professional/ social networking sites like Linked In.
4. Integration to Microsoft Outlook: Coming from a PeopleSoft eRecruitment background, this was another fascinating feature provided by Taleo. All interview schedules can be entered in Microsoft Outlook which can further remind an interviewer about the interview scheduled for the day without having to login to the system and checking an equally complicated interview schedule calendar.
5. Configurable Workflow Mails: I still recall the nightmare I had to undergo while configuring the workflows in eRecruitment as the business processes were so individualized to certain sections of the user audience. Taleo allows us as Functional Consultants to configure individualized workflows. Hence we could better adapt the system to our real life business scenarios.
6 A very refined Advance Search Functionality: In PeopleSoft eRecruit, there was an inherent bug in the Verity Index which allows us to use the advanced search functionality. PeopleSoft n its vanilla avatar also restricted its users on a very limited fixed set of parameters to search a large and complex resume database. I still recall the times wherein my power users wanted resume searches to be based on uploaded CVs, testimonials, PDF resumes and HTML docs which wasn’t possible in the system. In one of the demo sessions, Josh demonstrated how Taleo allowed its candidates to upload not only .txt files but also .Doc, .PDF, .HTML files which seemed so practical in today’s time.
7. Ad-hoc Reporting: Even today, if I could lay my hands on a disgruntled user, it would be my Head of Group wide Recruitment as she wanted the flexibility to drag and drop fields used for her MIS and reporting which could never be standardized in a crystal / SQR report. The ease and flexibility which this feature brings definitely makes one of the reasons for a compelling business case for Taleo ATS.
The other side of the coin…the flip side of Taleo:
I do realise that demos or sales pitches by pre-sales teams are expected to invoke an -Ahhhaa effect on the audience so while I cannot discount the apparent advancements of the Taleo system, I cannot assume a perfect system devoid of any ugly truths.
1. Integration through Open APIs : While I may not be an IT professional to enumerate the complexities involved in integrating the Taleo Recruiting system with the Co’s System of Record by using the functionality of Open API, as a novice on this subject I can state with some degree of certainty that the path to integration of the 2 systems provided by different vendors, having no commonality in system architecture and database structure would not be for the faint hearted. Integration plays an important role when you have hired the candidate through Taleo’s ATS and now the record needs to be passed in the System of Record (employee database). Most integration using Open APIs are through non real time cumbersome batch processes which further results in time lag for data entry between the 2 systems.
2. Taleo is known for its ATS not Talent Management: If we were to trace the early beginnings of Taleo as a product and focus on its impressive list of Fortune 100 clients, you would see a trend towards Taleo’s forte being its advanced ATS. From a predominantly ATS product to a Talent Management application comprising of Performance Management, Career & Succession Planning modules, there is no comprehensive evidence of the business benefits of Co’s using these modules or to corroborate if these processes are mature and incorporate industry best practices.
3. Data Security – Although I am told that there is a detailed comprehensive encryption methodology of securing data, there is still an element of fear in my mind for fear of cyber pilferage or confidential Talent Ratings falling into the hands of cyber miscreants.
4. Customer Support/ Helpdesk Assistance – Resorting to my past experience of working on PeopleSoft, I always knew that there was a very robust 24/7 Support infrastructure for its customers with predefined escalation clauses and SLAs which I used extensively during the nascent stages of project roll out and implementation. It may seem questionable to assume a similar support infrastructure that Taleo would provide to its customers in very remote corners of the world, akin to that provided by the Application Bigwigs like Oracle, SAP or PeopleSoft.
Whether Taleo’s Talent Management Suite can rival that of the larger Best in Breed Application systems like PeopleSoft, Oracle, SAP etc .. only time can tell. However, its without a doubt a competitor which only a fool would choose to ignore….So lets wait and watch this race for some more tech trivia!!