Hanscome’s Move to Kenexa was a Long Time Coming

Jul 11, 2008

Ron Hanscome’s serious thoughts of moving from HRchitect to Kenexa (profile) began during Kenexa’s “analyst day” this past April. But Hanscome, the new veep of product strategy, met Kenexa’s CEO more than five years ago, when Hanscome was at the META Group, and always had in the way back of his mind that Kenexa could be an interesting future employer.

At the analyst day, “the connection got rekindled,” he says. The company was looking for someone who could “bring it all together, think holistically” — with “it” referring to the company’s diverse group of products.

Hanscome’s name and face are as familiar to recruiting-conference-aholics as Jason Corsello, Sammy Jo’s Pop, and stress balls. Before Kenexa and HRchitect (profile), he was an Oracle VP, overseeing its HR tech products.

Hanscome had joined HRchitect about a year ago, and led that company’s creation of the “The Suite Life of Integrated Talent Management” report.

“Ron is not the kind of resource that is easily replaced, and he brought a lot to the table,” says HRchitect’s bizdev director Matt Lafata. “Fortunately, everything we do at HRchitect is done in a very collaborative manner so one person doesn’t make or break any project, or practice. Ron worked with a team of consultants who are continuing on projects without skipping a beat. Ron was very good at sharing knowledge and working as a team player. As a result of all of that, we are certainly keeping our eyes and ears open for a similar-caliber person to lead our strategic planning group and in the meantime, our VP of Consulting Services, Dan Katavola, is overseeing the handful of people we have involved in strategic planning projects.”

Hanscome found Kenexa attractive partly because of its emphasis on the science of assessment and “fit”; it brags about its 100 I/O psychologists on staff. “They’ve got science around measuring fit, measuring assessment, that really adds to the technology as the delivery vehicle,” he says. “Case study after case study.”

Three Favorites

In a recent report for Think Panmure, Nate Swanson analyzed Kenexa and its competitors from a Wall Street perspective, writing:

Our best three HCM ideas are Taleo, SuccessFactors, and Kenexa. Taleo and SuccessFactors, pure-play on-demand vendors within the HCM space, are pulling away from competitors such as Oracle and SAP with product depth, breath, and functionality. We see Taleo and SuccessFactors creating innovative ways to further extend their product reach through the adoption of Web 2.0 technologies and the integration with new social networking sites. With recurring revenue contract terms lasting three to five years, Taleo and SuccessFactors should have some near-term insulation even if the current economic environment gets worse. We expect each company to meet or beat our estimates. We like Kenexa as an attractive value play within the HCM space, but note the company’s recruitment outsourcing services may be more sensitive to the current economic headwinds. The company’s recently announced acquisition of Quorum should help diversify this risk as the company is able to expand and strengthen its services in EMEA, an area previously identified as a weakness.

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