First take - Why Workday acquired Identified - (real) analytics matter

In it's earnings press release Workday of February 26th, the company disclosed the acquisition of Identified, a San Francisco based start-up that had specialized on recruitment success using analytical algorithms.

A recap of Identify

The company has tremendous talent and started with condensing social network information into tangible (and if you will actionable) candidate profiles, compiled out of available information from social networks. With that Identify reverses the classic recruiting process - that expects candidates to come to the recruiting company - into a mini headhunting process - where the recruiter can start actively looking for candidates.

Needless to say the collection, identification and creation of a candidate profile are no trivial task and Identify spend significant time on this, creating their patent pending SYMAN process. The recent demos of the product then showed the search over these profiles. Back in January we missed some analytical tools beyond the candidate profile that would help the recruiter focus on the right candidates without going through the overall result list, e.g. a scoring model to serve the best candidates to the recruiter. Good news was - this was on Identified's roadmap.


Identify Screenshot from website.


But then it looks like Identified seemed to have run out of steam on the business side. And probably needed more capital to build engagement and interaction functionality for recruiters, more ATS functionality and also had to cater to the need for mobile support for recruiters. The com had taken 22.5M in funding, Workday disclosed the acquisition was 15M - not a good exit unfortunately. 


Why Identify for Workday?

Workday is currently building its recruiting solution, expected in the first half of 2014, but its first release will miss sourcing functionality. My expectation is that Workday will do a replay of the playbook we have seen with 3rd party compensation data. Use it's new BigData Analytics product capabilities to either look at social network data and / or the classic sourcing providers and put it onto it's AWS based storage for BigData Analytics. Then use the SYMAN algorithms to collect and condense to a candidate profile and serve these to the users of its new recruiting product.

This has a number of pretty intriguing consequences:


  • Innovative Recruiting - Workday will be able to serve the best external candidates into a recruiting scenario. Ideally not even to the recruiter, but to the manager opening the requisition.

  • Real Analytics at work - The condensation and serving of the best candidate requires some real analytics (the one that take an action or suggest something). Identified can provide them - if the can find the way to serve the best candidates.

  • Workday BigData Analytics at work - Many observers and me have given Workday a hard time on the current BigData Analytics offering to be neither of those. If Workday does what Identify enables them to do - this would really be BigData (structured and unstructured data with the 3Vs - Identify demos claimed to run on 1B+ candidates) and Analytics (condensation, scoring).



If all that happens (and it seems likely to me) Workday will have a very good value proposition for its recruiting product and deserves kudos for bringing some very innovative business process into recruiting, differentiating it from rest of the vendors. I have expressed my concern that Workday wasn't showing enough thought leadership in it's position as a HCM SaaS leader in the recruiting area, but this may well change now. The next months and briefings will tell. 
Good for Workday customers. Good for Workday talent - an acqhire. Not so good for Identified investors.

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