ServiceNow, the systems integrator with the AboutNow cross-platform workflow suite, has announced an acquisition of Boston-based Attivio for its cognitive search capabilities. While on the surface it’s an acquisition of tech and developer resources, it points to the future commitment of ServiceNow to AI and conversational interfaces for their Employee Experience platform. While I’ve been critical of ServiceNow.
There is a future market clash brewing between large HCM systems and systems integrators like ServiceNow. As HCM providers release their own employee experience and workflow solutions – examples: Workday announcing their new “People Experience” layer, and SAP with their new “Human Experience Platform” as a result of the Qualtrics acquisition. These systems will continue to expand in scope and service support, with the very real potential of competing head on with the system integator-provided solutions like those from ServiceNow. For today, all parties are smiling and nodding speaking to minimal overlap and putting the customer first, but as the HCM platforms face increasing customer pressure to improve user experience and adoption, and ultimately deliver on the true promise of the cloud (one system, one database, more user-configurable workflow) customers will begin to question the need for layering massive system integrator fees and additional “layers” over their already expensive HCM platform implementations.
This isn’t happening overnight, but look for increasing market confusion for large enterprise HCM customrs and potential M&A activity in this space as platforms look to shore up market share growth and stem the rise of alternative HCM platforms.