IBM’s purchase of Kenexa gets them nearly 9,000 of Kenexa’s clients. Kenexa’s solutions are currently in use at 50% of Fortune 500 firms, certainly a sweetspot for IBM.
For clients and potential clients of Kenexa, there are several questions that need to be answered and areas that need to be taken into consideration:
1. What new investments will be made in Kenexa’s products and technology? IBM spends an enormous amount of dollars on R & D related projects. IBM could easily increase R & D spending, giving clients new tools to drive business results.
2. Will IBM enable Kenexa to operate independently as it’s own brand? Of those 9,000 clients Kenexa has, only 250 of them are Fortune 500 companies – the rest are a mixture of mid-sized companies. Can IBM operate effectively across these market segments, or better yet, how will Kenexa integrate successfully within this new environment?
3. How will IBM keep the people and management team of Kenexa interested and aligned? When acquisitions of this magnitude occur, people leave, the leadership team almost always changes and entering into the IBM culture as an acquired company can take some getting used to.
The Talent Management/Acquisition/Social technologies market is still highly fragmented – companies that are able to leverage their size, scale and investments are taking advantage of these acquisitions – think Oracle (www.oracle.com), IBM, SAP (www.sap.com) for starters. Next up? Microsoft (www.microsoft.com) – I wouldn’t count them out for making a play for one or several companies in this space.
We already were aware of IBM’s investments in HR Tools, BigData and analytics – Kenexa now becomes IBM’s newest investment. For now, Kenexa is the bright new shiny present for IBM. It will surely be spoken about daily for the next several weeks, with many industry pundits making guesses, right and wrong, about what IBM will be doing with Kenexa. More importantly, what will IBM/Kenexa be doing for their clients?
Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Mike Cooke was the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of AC Growth.
Mike held leadership and executive positions for the majority of his career, at which he was responsible for steering sales and marketing teams to drive results and profitability. His background includes more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, management, and operations in the research, consulting, software and technology industries. Mike has extensive experience in sales, marketing and management having worked for several early high-growth emerging businesses and has implemented technology systems to support various critical sales, finance, marketing and client service functions. He is especially skilled in organizing the sales and service strategy to fully support a company's growth strategy. The concept of growth was an absolute to Mike and a motivator in starting AC Growth, in order to help organizations achieve research driven results.
Most recently, Mike was the VP and General Manager of Field Operations at Bersin & Associates, a global analyst and consulting services firm focused on all areas of enterprise learning, talent management and talent acquisition. Tasked with leading the company's global expansion, Mike led all sales operations worldwide. During Mike's tenure, the company has grown into a multi-national firm, conducting business in over 45 countries with over 4,500 multi-national organizations.
Mike started his career at MicroVideo Learning Systems in 1992, eventually holding a senior management position and leading all corporate sales before founding Dynamic Minds. Mike was CEO and Co-Founder of Dynamic Minds, a custom developer of software programs, working with clients like Goldman Sachs, Prentice Hall, McGraw Hill and Merrill Lynch. Also, Mike worked for Oddcast, a leading provider of customer experience and marketing solutions, where he held a senior management position leading the company into new markets across various industries.
Mike also serves on the Advisory Board for Carbon Solutions America, an independent sustainability consulting and carbon management firm that specializes in the design and implementation of greenhouse reduction and sustainability plans as well as managing the generation of carbon and renewal energy and energy efficiency credits.
Mike attended University of Phoenix, studying Business Administration and Finance. He has also completed executive training at the Chicago Graduate School of Business in Chicago, IL.