From Taleo to Monster, from ADP to Doostang, companies who successfully create and own their own categories often shift their focus away from the model that helped them get to the top – a relentless focus on building the best technology to make life for recruiting and HR end users easier, more efficient or more effective.
Once that focus on innovation and building a brand reverts to renewals, up-selling and increasingly incremental changes that turn products’ roadmaps into a dead end, these companies market share, viability and even existence tend to suffer from the malaise that comes with being a clear market leader.
It’s hard to see the landscape changing from the top of the mountain.
Despite being an established player – and clear market leader – in the staffing and search sector, Bullhorn has avoided the fundamental trap of sticking to the status quo – which, in this industry, never lasts long – but the trap that so often affects the innovation and evolution of major players in the HR Technology market.
Bullhorn was established in 1999, or approximately as long as many legacy systems and solutions that have succumbed to stasis and SaaS, but unlike these technologies, Bullhorn was built for the cloud. Its 117% growth over the past 3 years – despite an overall decline in overall agency and 3rd party spend proves their success at continuous reinvention and relentless product development to deliver the best possible technology to their clients – who reward them with one of the best renewal rates in the business.
While Bullhorn has long been adding point solution integrations and functionalities to its core CRM platform, their announcement last week that they had acquired The Code Works Inc. shows not only their commitment to the cloud, but also the desire to level the playing field for third party recruiting and staffing firms. With The Code Works Inc. Bullhorn will be able to provide their mostly SMB user base with an enterprise class big data solution that further enhances an already best-in-breed suite of service offerings.
“There are a number of reasons that this is a fantastic acquisition for Bullhorn and its customers,” said Bullhorn CEO Art Papas. “The way in which The Code Works Inc. integrates CRM platforms with disparate CMS solutions … is truly innovative. We se much broader applications for this technology in integrating other disparate systems in the future.”
By acquiring The Code Works Inc., a longtime Bullhorn Marketplace partner, Bullhorn not only has a proof of concept and case use for the integration’s efficacy, but the fact that a majority of The Code Works existing customers were already Bullhorn users promises a much quicker, more effective and seamless post-acquisition integration of both customers and code bases. This should preempt many of the bumps in the roadmap and client concerns which presented major challenges to other Bullhorn acquisitions like MaxHire and Sendouts.
It also addresses a huge area of opportunity – and growing market need – by adding vendor management services to its technology. As Glen Cathey noted in his #Talent42 keynote earlier this year, recruitment – particularly for the contingent workforce – has increasingly shifted from an HR to a supply chain function.
Similarly, the rising demand for contingent workers has led to the rising need for third party recruiters to work directly with procurement, who today are tasked with making the ultimate decisions – and driving the process – of managing external recruiting vendors.
According to Bullhorn, 70% of “large buyers of temporary labor” use VMS solutions to manage their contingent workforce – giving third party staffing and search firms access to a market today dominated by global MSP and RPO providers with the tools and technologies required to successfully win and manage enterprise procurement deals.
This should enable many staffing firms using Bullhorn to expand their service offerings and capabilities into contingent hiring without adding a new system, point solution or services group – a low cost of entry with a potentially high ROI.
“We’re enabling companies to move their front office solutions to the cloud and to take advantage of Web-enabled services that power better decision-making and additional revenue opportunities,” said Papas:
“This vendor neutral solution extends Bullhorn’s product portfolio and will allow us to develop new offerings to help improve customer productivity. Long-term, the Bullhorn VMS Access development team will help drive the development of Bullhorn’s data integration offerings, fundamental to our cloud-based Big Data offerings. To drive better decision-making, companies are looking to integrate data from a variety of sources online; Bullhorn VMS Access will provide that engine for our customers.”
Which makes this acquisition good news for recruiting professionals – and a market play that likely will have other HCM providers forced to develop or acquire their own solutions to compete with Bullhorn’s value proposition for customers, candidates and clients.