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SumTotal’s Planned Acquisition of Softscape: Another Tremor in Talent Management Market Shake Up

Oakland, CA – September 20, 2010 – LMS leader SumTotal’s planned acquisition of Softscape, a highly innovative provider of talent management software, is the latest in a string of consolidations, all aimed at garnering market share in the competitive and growing talent management market. The combination of SumTotal and Softscape would make SumTotal one of the largest market players and give the company a comprehensive, end-to-end talent management solution with advanced functionality not found in most competitive solutions.

Bersin & Associates, a leading research and advisory firm, estimates the current value of the overall talent management and HR systems market at $2.5B. The company bases this advisory on ongoing quantitative and qualitative research into the LMS, talent management, and HR systems markets. The LMS, talent management, and HR technology markets, which have seen impressive growth for most of the last decade and significant technical advances, offer essential systems to help companies manage employee training, collaboration and knowledge sharing, performance, and other critical talent-related functions. In most companies, HR systems serve as “systems of record” for critical employee data.

“Softscape has a very strong track record in product innovation, customer support, and customer satisfaction,” said Josh Bersin, president. “Its global customers – which include the likes of Nike, Sony, and Seagate – have thousands of users and complex system requirements.

“Softscape will be an attractive solution for SumTotal’s LMS customers, many of which are likely considering comprehensive talent management solutions. Additionally, Softscape’s blue-chip customer base offers excellent upselling opportunity for SumTotal’s LMS and performance solutions,” Bersin continued. “This acquisition makes good sense and would make SumTotal a very strong market player, with particular strengths in servicing large enterprises.”

The consolidations of recent months – which include Authoria’s merger with PeopleClick, Taleo’s planned acquisition of, Kenexa’s planned acquisition of, Stepstone’s planned acquisition of MrTed, and ADP’s acquisition of Workscape – reflect the corporate need for an integrated and comprehensive approach to talent management and learning.

Traditionally, vendors in these markets have tended to focus on either learning management and related functions or talent management and its related functions. However, over the last two to three years, the lines between these two markets have blurred, with many vendors on both sides offering more comprehensive solutions in attempts to increase market share and lock out competition. This year’s research shows further fragmenting in the stand-alone learning management system market, with providers meeting the needs of specialized corporate buyers, such as those in verticals with stringent compliance requirements, extended enterprises, or those wanting to fully exploit social and informal learning.

Bersin advises market watchers to keep an eye on other major providers such as SuccessFactors, Plateau, Saba, iCIMS, Kronos, Stepstone, CornerstoneOnDemand, Lawson, SAP, Oracle, GeoLearning, and Halogen.

Bersin will host a public webinar, What Does the Consolidation of the Systems Market Mean to You?, on Monday, October 18, at 2:00 p.m. EDT. For insight into this and other recent announcements, see Bersin’s blog, The Business of Talent. WhatWorks® members also have access to a detailed recent bulletin on SumTotal’s announcement, SumTotal Acquires Softscape: The Gloves Are Off in the Talent Management Market.

Josh Bersin and analyst Barb Arth will be debuting findings from research into customer satisfaction in the presentation, Talent Management System Vendors: Leaders and Laggards in Customer Satisfaction, at the upcoming HR Technology Conference in Chicago. The presentation is scheduled for Thursday, September 30, at 11:00 a.m. CT.

For more information on Bersin & Associates WhatWorks® membership program and extensive research, including the annual Corporate Learning Factbook and Talent Management Factbook, email or call 561 455 0622. For media queries, email or call 203 790 1591.

About Bersin & Associates

Bersin & Associates is the only research and advisory firm focused solely on research in enterprise learning, talent management, and talent acquisition. The company’s WhatWorks® membership program offers actionable guidance, improves operational effectiveness, and delivers business impact to companies in all industry segments.

Bersin & Associates research members gain access to a comprehensive library of best practices, case studies, benchmarks, and in-depth market analyses and research-based services designed to assist professionals in making fast and confident decisions. Members also have direct access to analysts and a wide range of tested tools and models to address both strategic and day-to-day challenges. More than 5,000 organizations worldwide have used Bersin & Associates’ research and advisory services to guide talent and corporate learning strategies. Research areas include planning and strategy, learning programs and delivery, talent management, leadership development and succession planning, talent acquisition, technology and infrastructure, informal learning, social networking, measurement and analytics.

For more information, go to or call 561 455 0622.