SilkRoad Technologies: An Independent Talent Management Software Review
Founded in 2003, the now Chicago-based SilkRoad Technologies (originally from North Carolina) had its initial sights on the content management systems industry. Rather rapidly though SilkRoad moved into the realm of talent management software and the broader HCM technology market. Built on the principle that by delivering innovative solutions customers would be enabled to “attract top talent and retain happy employees that drive their bottom line”, SilkRoad Technologies is headed up by serial entrepreneur “Flip” Filipowski (former COO of Cullinet and CEO of PLATINUM Technology), Brian Platz (a leader for former companies like Zentropy, Globalist Internet Technologies, and InfoBand), and a host of executives that Filipowski worked with at prior companies.
Still, while the pedigree of SilkRoad’s leadership team is undoubtedly impressive, it’s the depth and breadth of talent management software solutions that make SilkRoad a formidable competitor in the highly competitive talent management software market. However, as is the case for a number of other point solution vendors, SilkRoad defies some of the logic that has traditionally been associated with this industry. Namely, the company has branched out from offering a solely talent-management focused feature-set to also offer a system of record HRMS; called HeartBeat. Also, as a nod to the company’s origin, document management has also been given top-tier placement within the suite in the company’s Eprise solution.
For the purposes of comparing SilkRoad to other talent management solutions though, this SilkRoad review will focus on the substantive talent management areas of recruitment, learning, and performance, as well as social and mobile capabilities. That said, in an effort to represent the SilkRoad solution as comprehensively as possible, areas of particular note (i.e. differentiation and/or uniqueness) will also be included.
SilkRoad’s Market Positioning
Although paltry compared with some of the other technology vendors within the talent management software space, SilkRoad has amassed 2000+ customers since its inception—a number that highlights the growing popularity of both the vendor’s offerings as well as talent management applications on the whole. Not surprisingly then, SilkRoad Technologies has been front-and-center for a number of industry accolades—netting Brandon Hall silver and bronze awards for excellence in talent acquisition and learning management technologies (for SilkRoad OpenHire and GreenLight respectively); a Best in Biz bronze award for Best New Product of the Year (for SilkRoad Point); NCTA 21’s Award for Customer Service Excellence; as well as a whole host of other plaudits for cultivating effective and productive customer relationships. Not only that, but the company’s numerous solutions have also positioned the company on a number of widely-recognized industry leaderboards; including McLean & Company’s Vendor Landscape and IDC’s Integrated Talent Management Vendor Analysis.
Even so, SilkRoad still suffers from the plight that many smaller HCM software vendors face, an industry perception that only one of their company’s products is worthy of consideration. In SilkRoad’s case that product is their on-boarding solution RedCarpet—which sources close to the company indicate has just over 700 live customers. And while that particular module is indicative of one of the most popular modules that clients are buying, a closer look at SilkRoad’s numbers show that the vendor’s other offerings are quickly catching up. For instance, SilkRoad’s OpenHire solution for recruitment has surpassed RedCarpet figures and comes in just shy of 1000 live customers; GreenLight for learning has about 200; WingSpan for performance has right around 350; and HeartBeat (the company’s new HRMS solution) has just over 30. No figures to date have been released with regard to the company’s newer collaboration software Point. It should be noted though that all of these numbers don’t necessarily account for the fact that a single company could be buying more than one module. In fact, according to our research, nearly half of all new customers purchase more than one software module. While this invariably means that roughly that same percentage of new customers are only purchasing one module, company representatives indicate that, once in, the chances for upselling are present; and approximately 15% of their current customer base choose to buy additional offerings.
SilkRoad’s Acquisition & Partnership Strategy
In addition to the HR and talent management software solutions, a thorough understanding of how the company has developed into what it is today is also in order. For instance, while organic growth has largely been the fuel that has propelled SilkRoad to its current status, acquisitions have also been an integral part of their growth strategy. In fact, other than RedCarpet for on-boarding and Point, each of the company's HR software solutions has originated from acquisitions. SilkRoad’s first product OpenHire began this trend when an e-recruiting vendor was purchased to move the vendor outside of pure content management. Similarly, in order to breach the talent management space, SilkRoad bought out Human Asset Technologies and VTN Technologies. And while some time has passed since the company’s acquisition in 2009 (of Emportal) to enter into the HRMS world, it’s clear that M&A is integral to SilkRoad’s DNA. And as many analysts have said before us, this strategy represents one of the biggest hurdles that SilkRoad has had to overcome; finding a way to effectively integrate these disparate HR technology offerings into a unified suite.
Equally a part of their organizational make-up though is partnering with complementary solutions. For example, in the recruitment space, the company has strategically teamed up with TalentBin and Talent Technology (for sourcing/talent discovery), Indeed and Simply Hired (for job board aggregation), HireVue (for digital interviewing), and Aurico, Vertical Screen, Sterling InfoSystems, EmployeeScreenIQ, and HireRight (for employee screening). Likewise, in the learning application space partnerships have been struck with eJ4 and KnowledgeAdvisors; in the consulting realm strategic relationships can be found with PeopleToPerform, The Newman Group, and HRchitect; and the company has even forged strategies with the implementation and deployment partners of WorkStrategy, Infocom, HRMS Solutions and Gaucho Group.
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