Flip Filipowski, SilkRoad’s highly enigmatic and outspoken leader, opened his Connections user conference in mid-May with a comment that he wasn’t really thanking his customers, but rather he was thanking his employees. In other words, in Flip’s opinion if he treats his employees well they will treat the customers well. My conversations that week at the users conference definitely showed that to be the case. Many of SilkRoad’s customers are loyal fans, due mostly to their relationship with someone at SilkRoad.
With over 500 users packed into a resort in Hollywood, Fla., during torrential rains, I had a lot of time to chat with clients, and the conversations often started out with, “Well, this area of the product could be improved, but Ted, or Judy, or Joe helped me work my way through the solution.” As an analyst I see a lot of great systems and not so great systems, but one thing an organization can’t fake is its willingness to help the customers. SilkRoad has made a successful business model out of honestly caring about and helping mid-market HR functions. Many vendors shy away from organizations that range from 500 to 2,000. They are often small, if not single-person, HR functions dealing with the same complex challenges of large multi-national organizations, but with miniscule resources. SilkRoad has embraced them, and figured out a way to make them feel like part of the family.
- Performance Management for contingent workforces. Mid-market organizations often struggle to manage large contingent workforces. Silkroad released performance management capabilities and extended the feature set to handle contingent workforces.
- Life Suite® SuiteApp, built using NetSuite’s SuiteCloud Computing Platform. This creates a full mid-market option for ERP, CRM, e-Commerce, as well as HRIS and Talent Management technology. This creates a very compelling opportunity for NetSuite customers in talent.
- SilkRoad’s Point product begins to mature. A big part of SilkRoad’s users conference was spent sharing the success stories for SilkRoad’s Point, the social collaboration tool built as a next generation approach to managing talent. Those organizations fully leveraging Point as a central part of their approach to Talent Management were successful.
- Tiles, tiles, everywhere. SilkRoad’s new user interface, based on a tile layout – is definitely resonating with its audience. It is more mobile friendly and accessible. The biggest challenge is getting the new UI built out across the entire system as quickly as possible, including the administrative sides. If SilkRoad can’t manage this quickly, the company could find itself in some trouble with struggling users.