2012 HR Technology in Review

2012 was a busy year for HR technology. From acquisitions and controversies to IPOs and innovations, businesses the world over saw human resources software in the spotlight.

With a busy 2013 already underway, it can be easy to forget how significant 2012 truly was. If you’re going to remember just ten key events, let these be them:


winter 2012

All photos by Masakazu Matsumoto.

After an unremarkable few years in the wake of 2008’s economic collapse, SAP finally hit the big one late in 2011, announcing the acquisition of SuccessFactors for $3.4B (the deal would go on to close in February 2012), and relaying that into a record-breaking Q4 profit announcement in January. As the rest of the year would show, HR software was in a boom phase.


Come February, Oracle rolled out the big dollars in response to SAP’s good news, acquiring talent management system Taleo for $1.9B, and following up with another 10 acquisitions before the year was out, including social talent sourcing software SelectMinds for an undisclosed sum.


The monsters of industry weren’t the only ones making deals, as smaller providers grew, acquired, merged, and folded throughout the year. Cornerstone OnDemand, for example, scooped up Sonar6 for $14M, and quickly rebranded the popular talent management system as CSB (for Cornerstone Small Business). 


Spring 2012

In April, we at TribeHR made some moves of our own, launching our new feature set that enhances company culture, including employee social goals, and a corporate values integration into the full suite of performance management features.


In June, LinkedIn got a big dose of bad publicity, when it was revealed that nearly 6.5 million user passwords were compromised and published on the web by Russian hackers. To blame? Reports claimed that LinkedIn user information was encrypted with an outdated and vulnerable algorithm, putting the weakest passwords at risk.


summer 2012Come August, the focus was back on major players, as IBM launched itself into the HR software market with a $1.3B acquisition of Kenexa. The deal wrapped up in December, though smaller competitors were quick to pounce, with TheResumator, for example, issuing a press release entitled “IBM Acquires Kenexa, The Resumator Acquires Kenexa’s Customers.”


After acquiring Rypple in 2011 and announcing variously that it would either be rebranded as SuccessForce or continued as Rypple, at their annual Cloudforce user conference in September Salesforce would go on to announce a re-packaging of the product as Work.com.


By October, with competition at the top of the market already fierce, Workday raised over $600M in an IPO, for a valuation of nearly $8B. Come November, they would also announce a new set of financial and enterprise solutions, enough to get Oracle CEO Larry Ellison talking trash once again.


fall autumn 2012On the social end of HR technology, things were no less competitive. With the official launch of Facebook’s long-expected Job Board in November, LinkedIn saw a dip in their share price. Unfortunately the product itself simply aggregates postings from a few of the leading public boards, so its overall effect may be limited.


Finally, in HR updates for HR technology, HR Tech Conference institution Bill Kutik announced in December that the 2013 conference will be his last. Steve Boese, himself an institution in the HR blogosphere, is slated to take over.

With 2012 behind us and 2013 already underway, look for more exciting news and developments from us here at TribeHR, and from across the HR technology industry.

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