When Products Blur and Blend

Vendors, often startups, sometimes ask my advice about the human resources market. 

One company that I was in touch with July 4 had some interesting thoughts, some of which I thought I’d share here.

Her email reminds me of what I found last week in Las Vegas, at the SHRM conference (see here and here for my posts on the event): that many companies describe their products just like other companies describe their products.

One company will say it’s the first end-to-end solution in human resources, technology for all of the lifecycle of an employee, from candidate to former employee. “Talent management,” they say. Other companies make the same argument, and have for years.

Or, they’ll say they’re the only “fully integrated solution” — except for their competitors, who say something similar.

Anyhow, as mentioned at the outset, here’s the latest email I got, this one from a not-new seller of services to human resources and recruiting departments. Perhaps it’s a good summary of how others feel.

Todd, I am trying to follow the scene, which is confusing — everyone is “partnering” with everyone else to provide a “full solution.” So you have various technology solutions that seem to offer the same thing while everyone is claiming to be different … RPOs, recruiting technologies, sourcing platforms, CRMs, talent filters, job boards, social networking recruiting platforms, blah blah. Meanwhile everyone is on everyone else’s website (in the alliance or partner area). I assume that some of these offers are integrated right into the larger platforms — but I am not really sure. So, it is really hard to clearly delineate and differentiate between all the offerings – at least in terms of WHAT THEY DO (or claim to do) and under what heading/category.

Is it really as obscure and amorphous as it seems to me?

… EVERYONE and their grandmother has a social networking app to fit with their technology … and so forth. In terms of how each offering is indeed different is very confusing unless we are talking details.

So we (as “consumers”/recruiters) can’t separate what one company does SO DIFFERENTLY from the other. … Do you have a better solution? Am I missing something or is everyone selling the same thing while everyone claims to be different? The offerings just seem to blur and blend to the unpracticed eye (although I have been in this field for some years now)…”

I’d love your thoughts.



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