Wins Talent Management Shootout at 12th Annual HR Technology Conference

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This year, I had the honor of attending the 12th Annual Human Resources (HR) Technology Conference held at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois (US). While many of the events at the three-day conference piqued my interest, none did so more than the 2nd Annual Talent Management Shootout. This shootout reminded me of TEC’s very own shootouts and showdowns, done several times throughout the year. While our shootouts are a little less “extravagant” (in the sense that we don’t have the players live on stage), we still find them to be highly effective in allowing our readers make better-informed decisions about the software they choose.

The  13th shootout—one of the Conference’s signature events—took place in the Grand Ballroom and was witnessed by approximately 600 attendees who had the opportunity to vote on the vendors’  performances. Interestingly, employees of the participating vendors who entered the ballroom were corralled into a separate seating area at the front of the stage where they were prohibited from voting.

Participants in the 2nd Annual Talent Management Shootout

At this year’s Talent Management Shootout, two enterprise resource planning (ERP) software vendors—Lawson and SAP—went up against two talent management suite vendors—Plateau and

Each vendor was given three scripted scenarios of problems—challenges that many HR managers face today. The demo scripts were authored by HR Technology Conference co-chair Bill Kutik, and co-authored by Leighanne Levensaler, director of talent management research for Bersin & Associates.

Prior to the event, an e-mail was sent out to each of approximately 30 vendors. This particular event was organized and hosted by Bill Kutik. Vendors had an opportunity to participate in the event (if they chose to do so). While eight vendors were ultimately eligible to be candidates, the final four shootout contestants were chosen at random.

Some of the areas that were covered in the demonstrations were:

•    employee profile
•    competency management
•    employee development
•    goal management
•    career planning
•    performance management
•    compensation planning
•    succession planning

Vendor Overview


Shootout scenarios lead by Larry Dunivan, senior vice president (SVP) Global HCM Products, Lawson

Lawson Human Capital Management (HCM) helps HR contribute to organizational excellence with applications that support business operations. By automating administrative processes, the solution helps HR increase efficiency, allowing focus to be placed on more critical initiatives. Lawson offers a stand-alone HCM suite or an integrated ERP system, so HR organizations can align people and processes, all with a low total cost of ownership (TCO).


Shootout scenarios lead by Paul Sparta, chief executive officer (CEO), Plateau

Plateau Talent Management helps HR leaders develop, manage, reward, and optimize organizational talent. Its Talent Management Suite includes learning, performance, compensation, and career and succession planning modules which can be deployed independently or together as an integrated talent management solution.

Shootout scenarios lead by Kent Plunkett, CEO, is a provider of on-demand talent management, compensation, and payroll solutions. Its software applications, proprietary data, and consulting services help HR and compensation professionals automate, streamline, and optimize critical core HR process such as payroll, benefits, and HR administration as well as talent management processes such as learning and development, compensation planning, performance management, competency management, and succession planning.


Shootout scenarios lead by David Ludlow, vice president (VP) Suite Solution Management, SAP

The SAP ERP Human Capital Management solution is a integrated human resources management solution that automates all core processes, such as employee administration, including talent management, workforce process management and deployment, and legal reporting.

And the Winner Is…

Niche player was the clear winner in all three scenarios—winning out over tier-one vendors Lawson and SAP, as well as fellow niche player Plateau.

Final Note

Industry experts agree that will be the vendor to watch out for over the next few years. When asked which vendors had the most complete and integrated offering, Naomi Lee Bloom, managing partner at Bloom & Wallace, mentioned that along with Softscape and Success Factors, was a good stand-alone solution for managing talent. From my point of view as a TEC research analyst, based on the demonstration of the product during the shootout,’s HR solution was very user-friendly and highly configurable to the organization’s needs, and made it very easy for HR administrators to align employee objectives with the company’s goals.
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