SAP Acquires SuccessFactors


I was futzing around Twitter on Saturday — reading the #CainWreck stream — when the announcement of the SAP acquisition of SuccessFactors hit the wire. Then I saw a flurry of tweets that fell into three categories.

  1. Sycophantic. Let me repeat some news that you already know because I want to seem like I understand HR services and technology!
  2. Predictive. You think this is big? More acquisitions are coming! I’m on record stating the obvious!
  3. Self-Aggrandizing. I knew this was coming because I am a HCM genius!

God, I hate hate HR blogging and tweeting.

But then I realized that most of my tweets are either sycophantic, predictive, or self-aggrandizing. And it’s not like I really know anything about human capital management software and services.

I just know about human behavior and labor markets. And I know that we exist in a world where companies have cash but would rather acquire an R&D pipeline than invest back into the workforce. Organizations want to grow market share (and enter new markets) without spending money on labor. And many companies buy other companies to control the market and kill innovation.

So if you haven’t been a part of a major acquisition — on either end — you should (sorta) pay attention to the SAP acquisition of SuccessFactors if only because it’s a real life case study happening in your own industry.

  • Possible Staff Augmentations and Layoffs
  • Change Management
  • An Innovation Agenda

You wanted that seat at the table, HR chumps, so pay attention to how SuccessFactors grows (or doesn’t grow) in the next twelve months. And try to pay attention to the stories. Are great people attracted to the organization? Do employees and customers flee? Will product releases be accelerated or stalled? What are employees and sales reps saying about the culture? What will SAP do right?

Set up a google alert. Read the trade journals. Network with friends who know a thing or two about the HR software and services industry. You can learn how to be a better HR lady from this acquisition — and the other ones coming down the pike — without paying $999 to read a shitty HCM analyst report about the industry.

Just don’t read the tweets because anybody tweeting about the acquisition isn’t really in the know.

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