Perceptyx Acquires Humu to Enable “Smart” Nudging at Scale

Posted on Wednesday, August 2nd, 2023 at 10:08 AM    

This morning, Perceptyx, an employee experience, engagement, and voice vendor, announced it acquired Humu, an employee engagement vendor best known for using science-based “nudges” (and for being founded by ex-Google CHRO Laszlo Bock).

For those of you counting, this is the fourth acquisition by Perceptyx in 3 years (the last 3 being Waggl, CultureIQ, and Cultivate). Given the surface-level similarity between Humu and Perceptyx – both vendors in the employee engagement / experience / voice space – you might be wondering what Perceptyx is thinking in making this acquisition. Let’s dive in and explore this deal together.

At a high level, here’s what you need to know about this acquisition:

  • The greatest weakness of any employee engagement / experience / voice vendor is that they typically only measure those things – they generally struggle when it comes to showing they are driving change. Perceptyx is acquiring Humu to help it fill that gap in its capabilities.
  • Humu’s value to Perceptyx is entirely tied up in its nudge system, including its behavioral content, science, sequencing, etc.
  • The Humu acquisition helps round out Perceptyx’s product vision and continue its shift from a measurement and monitoring solution to one that also enables the mobilization of those insights at scale.
  • This acquisition is indicative of a broader shift we anticipate will come in this space: moving from EE / EX / Voice measurement and monitoring to these solutions also mobilizing and motivating change.

In this blog, I cover:

  • What employee engagement, experience, and voice vendors have done traditionally and where they have fallen short
  • Who these specific vendors (Perceptyx and Humu) are and what they’ve done to date
  • What we should expect from Perceptyx after the Humu acquisition

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Road Report: UKG 2023 Spring Analyst Event

Posted on Wednesday, June 14th, 2023 at 12:24 PM    

*Note, since I wrote this, UKG acquired Immedis, a global multi-country payroll provider. Since our ThreadHeads tends to focus on payroll not as much as other topics, I didn't cover global payroll much in this blog, though it is obviously an area of focus for UKG.*

A few weeks ago, I attended the spring 2023 UKG Analyst Event in Boston. For those of you who have not been following along on the latest from UKG, you should check out Priyanka Mehrotra's summary of UKG’s 2022 Aspire Analyst Event from last November.

Here’s the TL;DR for this UKG event:

  • Continued commitment to its unified, values-aligned vision. UKG demonstrated an aligned approach in some very specific ways, including internal alignment (clear vision, mission, values), data alignment (by way of a single profile and data set for each customer, regardless of platform), the sunsetting of a lot of older products, and the integration of cross-UKG data into the Great Place to Work (GPTW) Hub and the Hub’s inclusion into UKG’s broader selling motion.
  • Adjustments to better respond to customers. UKG has made a number of changes to better respond to customers, such as formally expanding UKG Ready to service up to 500 customers and making UKG Pro available to all organizations above that threshold. In addition, UKG is focusing heavily on frontline workers, who are a critical population for its customers. Further, UKG has implemented more than 2,000 customer requests into its software. Finally, they have developed new customer service pods to better meet customers’ needs.
  • Investing in innovation. UKG had a lot of announcements on this front. They provided a lot more details on their recently announced strategic alliance with Google Cloud. Further, they shared more details on how FleX, which is a meshing technology underpinning UKG platforms, is enabling them to innovate and stand-up new products quickly. Finally, we heard a lot about UKG’s current use of AI and their plans for generative AI, which leverage both the Google Cloud partnership and FleX.

Note: This blog was publicly available for 48 hours, after which point it became available only to RedThread members. Sign up to become a member at

Road Report: Oracle Spring Analyst Event 2023

Posted on Wednesday, May 24th, 2023 at 9:13 AM    

A few weeks ago, I attended the Oracle Applications and Industry Analyst Summit in Redwood Shores, CA (blissfully less than 30 minutes from home). This blog summarizes what I think you all would most like to know from the event, but the high-level summary is below:


  • Oracle attributes its growth to new customer acquisition versus a land-and-expand approach from other parts of their business
  • Oracle has embarked on significant UX, speed, and responsivity investments that make the product look and feel more consumer-grade
  • Oracle is taking a pragmatic and relatively conservative approach to generative AI

New customer acquisition driving growth

Previous Oracle metrics have indicated strong growth and the Oracle team indicated that much of this growth is coming from new customer acquisition (versus a land-and-expand approach from other parts of their business). The session was dotted with examples of customers that transitioned from both SAP and Workday (an interesting contrast from the Workday session in March, where customers’ previous HCM providers went unmentioned). The team also mentioned that a lot of their growth is coming from EMEA and Latin America.

Oracle’s broad messaging around why they are achieving that growth came down to three key points:

  • Everything customers need
  • Innovation that matters
  • Committed to customers’ success

On the first point, Oracle shared a summary image of its portfolio of applications and infrastructure (see Figure 1). I’m sharing it here since I haven’t previously written about Oracle for our ThreadHeads, and some of you may be unfamiliar with the full breadth of Oracle’s offerings.

Figure 1: Oracle’s portfolio of applications and infrastructure | Source: Oracle, 2023.

When asked specifically why they are winning, the team stated they have “clear, non-arguable product and service differentiation.” Specifically, they called out:

  • The pace of innovation and adoption
  • Oracle ME elevating employee experience
  • Mobile-responsive front-end
  • “A complete, fully connected candidate journey”
  • “Intelligent” automation
  • Personalization without customization
  • “Native, mature HR HelpDesk and case management”
  • Natively developed payroll options, scale, and ability to handle complexity

Further, the team called out that they have invested in the following within Oracle HCM Cloud:

  • Strategic integrator (SI) and independent software vendor (ISV) partner ecosystem expansion
  • Global payroll
  • App and platform extensibility
  • Near-zero planned quarterly maintenance downtime
  • Employee experience
  • A modern platform, including improved security, performance, availability
  • Redwood UX experience
  • AI/ML and Generative AI

In addition, as many of you may know, Oracle has a very strong industry focus, and they featured many stories from the following industries:

  • Healthcare
  • Financial services
  • Communications and professional services
  • Consumer packaged goods and groceries
  • Gaming, hospitality, and quick-serve
  • Industrial manufacturing and logistics

Finally, the Oracle team talked a lot about customer success, indicating their “reference-ability and advocacy are at an all-time high.” They also specifically called out their customer community and the conversion of customer ideas to product, adding that roughly 80% of their roadmap is sourced through customer collaboration (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Summary of Oracle’s Cloud Customer Connect Community | Source: Oracle, 2023.

My take

Oracle’s primary message is that they are gaining net-new customers and this is a result of greater customer satisfaction. This is interesting, in that Oracle’s strength over the years has not necessarily been customer satisfaction. Oracle is investing in accelerating time to value for customers and providing more resources for them through templates, learning resource centers, and a strong customer community. At the summit, we didn’t see any meaningful numbers such as NPS, though they did have a few happy customers there to speak to us. Given that this is the first Oracle I’ve attended in a long time, I will look forward to future opportunities to better understand and assess customer satisfaction.

UX, Speed, and Responsivity Investments

Oracle has significantly invested in its Redwood design and development system. This is designed to be a modern UX, which the team characterizes as a “collective reinvention of how Oracle customers interact with technology and consume information.” The components of this design system are listed in Figure 3. Oracle indicated that within 9-12 months they will have completed their comprehensive UX upgrade.

Figure 3: Summary of Oracle’s Redwood Design System | Source: Oracle, 2023.

Examples of the new UX are in Figure 4 and samples of the new Redwood pages and flows are in Figure 5.

Figure 4: Examples of the new Redwood UX in Oracle HCM | Source: Oracle, 2023.

Figure 5: Sample New Redwood Pages & Flows | Source: Oracle, 2023.

A consistent theme throughout the discussion on product improvements was product responsivity, availability, and speed. For example:

  • Greater responsiveness: With the new UX, Oracle now is leveraging single page applications, meaning there is a micro-application built within a single web page. This makes it highly performant and stable, and results in a more seamless and responsive experience for users.
  • Accelerated performance: The team mentioned their speed is 30% faster than previously. This also extends to search (see Figure 6).
  • Improved availability: The team stated they now currently have a 99.9% SLA for uptime. The team specifically called out that their 90th percentile downtime is just 2 hours per quarter. This contrasts with 5-6 years ago when that number was estimated at around 16-17 hours on average, and 24 hours for large customers. It also contrasts favorably to the planned downtime of other major vendors in this area who today require 4 or more hours each week. Expect Oracle to have the average downtime cut to 20 minutes per quarter next year.

Figure 6: Summary of Improvements in Oracle Search | Source: Oracle, 2023.

My take

Most of these improvements are designed to reduce friction in the Oracle user experience. This is a good thing, especially as it relates to consumer-grade UX, speed, and responsivity. Users expect this as table stakes from their Work Tech software and Oracle is making sure it will be present moving forward.

The most notable improvement comes from the improved downtime numbers, which are expected to further improve. Downtime is something most users don’t see unless it meaningfully impacts their day-to-day. Oracle is investing to make sure it doesn’t.

All that said, based on what I saw, it doesn't appear investments are pushing the needle on innovation. As far as I can tell, none of this is going to change how work is done or dramatically simplify it. In the future, I hope to see more from Oracle on this front.

A pragmatic and conservative approach to generative AI

Oracle is taking a highly pragmatic and conservative approach to generative AI. As shown in Figure 7, they see a relatively small overlap between the problems that AI is currently good at solving and those that businesses need to solve today.

Figure 7: Schematic of the overlap between generative AI capabilities and business problems | Source: Oracle, 2023.

The Oracle team’s plan for evolving the use of generative AI is shown in Figure 8. As you can see, their initial focus is on assisted authoring, summarization, and suggestions.

Figure 8: Schematic of how Oracle sees the evolution of generative AI use cases in applications | Source: Oracle, 2023.

The Oracle team sees a virtuous cycle from combining generative AI and existing AI, as shown in Figure 9.

Figure 9: How Oracle sees generative AI and existing AI working together | Source: Oracle, 2023.

The team plans to continue to invest in their product’s AI competencies by focusing on the below areas:

Figure 10: Summary of Oracle’s AI capabilities focus, now and next | Source: Oracle, 2023.

Finally, Oracle articulated its “radically practical approach to AI” as the following:

  • Allow user and use cases to determine technology
  • Start with a baseline, simple model; iterate
  • Assess potential negative impact and implement guardrails
  • Build features for specific use cases; leverage for general AI services
  • Validate with real-world data and users in collaboration with customers

My take

Of all the recent analyst briefings I have attended, Oracle was one of the most conservative when it comes to generative and next-gen AI, as particularly illustrated by Figure 7.

While I am always for practicality, this seems like a time to dream, not to allow existing users (who do not understand the tech nearly as well as Oracle’s technologists, I would wager) to drive the discussion on what they should do. To be clear, I am not one to encourage anyone to chase bright and shiny objects – but I am one to encourage people to fundamentally rethink existing work and processes in an effort to simplify and improve. I’d like to see Oracle doing more of that.

One thing I did appreciate, though, was Oracle’s awareness of the need to earn customer trust when it comes to new LLM capabilities and training on traceable data. I’d like to see Oracle be more clear on what these two things mean for them and how we will see them show up to support ethical AI efforts.

Final takeaways

I was pleased to spend time with Oracle’s executives and look forward to additional deep dives on products that are of particular interest to our ThreadHeads, such as their learning and performance products. I am also looking forward to opportunities to get to know more of Oracle’s customers and to better understand the value they get from their Oracle implementations.

Workday Introduces Workday VNDLY: Why it Matters

Posted on Tuesday, May 9th, 2023 at 11:00 AM    

Today, Workday announced that VNDLY, a Workday company, will now be known as Workday VNDLY, an extended workforce and vendor management system (VMS) that’s part of Workday’s suite of products.

In this blog, I cover:

  • Why contingent workers are especially important today
  • What VNDLY is and how it addresses this need
  • What the VNDLY acquisition tells us about Workday and its strategy

Why contingent workers are especially important today

With the rise in volatility and uncertainty, leaders are increasingly looking to structure their organizations to be responsive to change. For example, in our study on responsive organizations, we found that 95% of high-responsivity organizations were likely to meet their business goals, compared to just 21% of low-responsivity organizations.

One approach organizations can take to be more responsive is by using contingent workers (contractors, freelancers, temporary workers, project-based workers, 1099’ers, etc.), which allows organizations to more quickly adjust the size and skills of their workforce, given business needs. The use of contingent workers is prevalent, with some large companies estimating that as many as 30% of their workers today are contingent.

The idea of using contingent workers isn’t a new concept. For example, when I was at Deloitte in 2017, we wrote about the rise of “off-balance-sheet workers,” which is yet another term for these workers.

What is new, though, is the extent of the need for these types of workers. This is being driven by a few factors:

  • Market volatility. We all know the last few years have been highly volatile and uncertain, and we can reasonably expect at least some degree of this to continue. That volatility is driving varied customer needs and, thus, organizations need different skills to respond. Contingent workers can help organizations adjust quickly.
  • The skills gap. As technology accelerates change, organizations require different skills from workers. Current employees can only upskill, and organizations can only hire, so fast. Therefore, accessing contingent talent from outside the existing workforce can help organizations fill the gap in the short term.
  • Demographics. Today, there are 9.9 million job openings in the U.S., but only 5.8 million unemployed workers. This mismatch between available talent and job openings is projected to continue, with the BLS expecting the economy to add 8.3 million jobs but only 7.7 million workers between 2021 and 2031. The result will be organizations scrambling for talent to fill gaps.

As a result, organizations will likely increasingly turn to contingent workers to augment their existing “core” employee workforce.

Yet, there are a host of challenges in using contingent workers, such as:

  • Legal and regulatory challenges: Organizations can be accused of misclassifying workers or co-employment, which can result in legal action, fines, and other challenges.
  • Competitive risk. Due to the more temporary nature of their work, contingent workers may have different confidentiality requirements, potentially exposing organizations to the risk of loss of trade secrets, intellectual property, and organizational knowledge.
  • Ownership and accountability. Historically, contingent labor has been managed by procurement rather than HR. As a result, it can be unclear to managers how to get access to contingent workers and how to manage them.
  • Clarity around talent available. Given the different status of contingent workers, and the fact that they are usually managed in a different technology system, leaders may not understand the contingent labor force and how to access it effectively in times of need.

As a result of these challenges, many organizations use a VMS (vendor management system), potentially in combination with an MSP (managed service provider) to help them manage their contingent workforce. According to Workday, approximately 70% of organizations leveraging a VMS also use a MSP.

These systems typically are separate from human capital management (HCM) systems and are run by procurement. That said, they have many similarities to HCM systems, such as the ability to source, engage, manage, and pay contingent workers. However, the nuances around what is required to do each of those things is different. For example, with sourcing, there isn’t a direct outreach from the hiring organization, but rather a hiring manager can look at the talent available and then have the MSP reach out directly to that person. Examples of the range of capabilities offered by a VMS are shown in Figure 1 and Figure 2.


Figure 1: Workday VNDLY as an example of a vendor management system (1/2) | Source: Workday, 2023.


Figure 2: Workday VNDLY as an example of a vendor management system (2/2) | Source: Workday, 2023.

While a VMS and/or MSP can help with the first two bullets outlined in the list of challenges above, it typically does not help with the second two, around ownership and accountability and clarity around the talent available. This is why it makes sense to combine the insights of a VMS and an HCM system.

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Microsoft Announces Copilot in Viva, Introduces “Viva Glint”, and Shows Why it Matters

Posted on Thursday, April 20th, 2023 at 11:27 AM    

This morning, at its Viva Summit, Microsoft announced the integration of Copilot into Microsoft Viva and also the formal addition of Glint to the Viva family in July 2023. Microsoft also announced a new “Performance Equation,” via its Work Trend Index Special Report (from the People Science team at Glint), which shows some compelling correlations between engagement and financial performance. (If you need the backstory on all of this, see our previous RedThread articles on Microsoft and Glint hereherehere, and here.)

As I’ve mentioned on social media, I had a chance to participate in today’s keynote panel, so got to peek under the hood before today’s announcement.

Here’s the TL;DR of it all:

  • Copilot in Microsoft Viva = LLMs + Microsoft Graph + Viva Apps. Put another way, Copilot in Microsoft Viva applies the power of large language models (LLMs) to data in the Microsoft Graph and Viva apps. Practically speaking, this means that users can now query, in natural language, any Microsoft Viva app, and get a result generated by the LLM from across all the apps.
  • “Viva Glint” = Copilot + Glint data + Microsoft behavioral and collaboration data. We’ve known for a while that Glint was moving to Viva, and that by doing so, it would be in the same “family” as Microsoft’s behavioral and collaboration data (provided via Viva Insights). However, it’s one thing to be in the same family – it’s another thing to share data effectively. The addition of Copilot changes the game, as it allows all those data to be accessed easily in an interface that is already well-known by Glint customers.
  • Productivity x Engagement = Performance. Microsoft also released a new study (conducted by the People Science team at Glint) that shows why business leaders should care about engagement: because there is a strong relationship between engagement levels in organizations and financial returns. Based on this, they have thus come up with what they are calling the new performance equation: Productivity x Engagement = Performance.

Let’s dive into the details more.

Note: This blog was publicly available for 48 hours, after which point it became available only to RedThread members. Sign up to become a member at

The State of People Analytics Technology Market 2023

Posted on Thursday, April 20th, 2023 at 10:53 AM    

People analytics has served as a crucial tool for many leaders to navigate the uncertainty of the past few years. Given its essential role, it is not surprising that this research, our fourth annual study on the people analytics technology market, finds that vendors in this space are thriving.

Yet, the market has changed and matured over the last few years.

Our study into the people analytics technology (PAT) market, based on survey data and vendor briefings and demos conducted in early 2023, resulted in 6 key findings that can help the buyers and makers of the technology understand the market better. We found that:

  • The PAT market has continued to grow. The overall PAT market grew to an estimated $5.6 billion in 2022 from $3.1 billion in 2021. It experienced a growth rate of 41% for 2021-22 and a 50% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) for the last 3 years.
  • Acquisitions and investments are slowing down. About half of the vendors that said they received funding in 2021 said the same in 2022. In addition, there was almost a 10% decline in those that reported undergoing a merger, acquisition, or some ownership change in 2022, compared to 2021.
  • Growth expectations for 2023 are lower than for 2022. Fewer vendors expect over 31% growth for 2023 compared to those that said the same for 2022.
  • Vendors are shifting their target customer segments. More vendors served small companies (under 1,000 employees) and mid-sized (1,000 – 10,00 employees) in 2022 compared to 2021.
  • Vendors are helping customers address urgent needs. Retention and efficiency were the top 2 outcomes vendors' solutions focused on in 2022.
  • Customers are receiving more support, but services cost more. Vendors checked in with their customers more frequently, but they also increasingly charged them for consulting services.

Overall, 2022 was a good year for PAT vendors. We were excited to see the market grow and the vendors become clearer on their value propositions, marketing, and go-to-market approach. Vendors are also optimistic about their ability to deliver on customer needs while being realistic about the future and how the changing economic environment might impact their growth.

Our member-only report dives into each of these findings and provides insights on what they mean for people analytics practitioners and the PAT market. RedThread members also have exclusive access to RedThread’s 2023 People Analytics Technology tool, which will be updated in May, which helps members quickly search and compare information on specific vendors. If you would like to learn more about our membership, please click here.

In addition to the member-only full report, there is also a link to a free executive summary available on our external website, which provides an overview of our findings from the report.

The publication of this report will be followed on May 30, with the release of the second part of the study — the People Analytics Technology Vendor Report. That report will contain a more in-depth look at individual vendors and where they fit in the marketplace.

We will also share our findings at an upcoming webinar on June 29.

This report is made possible by the support of our RedThread Tech Consortium members. We would like to thank our Tech Consortium members for pledging to support high-quality, unbiased HR technology research. If you would like to learn more about our Tech Consortium, please click here.

Road Report: Perceptyx Insights 2023

Posted on Wednesday, April 12th, 2023 at 6:28 PM    

Last week, I attended the first day of Perceptyx’s Insights conference in Carlsbad, California (just north of San Diego). If you want the play-by-play, the Twitter hashtag was #Insights2023. You can see last year’s blog on their event here.

My key takeaways include:

  • The world has changed – so, too, must your people strategies
  • Perceptyx has a clear and modern vision of how its core product and acquisitions fit together
  • The new People Insights Platform gives customers a way to access all of those capabilities in one place

Note: This blog was publicly available for 48 hours, after which point it became available only to RedThread members. Sign up to become a member at

#TC #Perceptyx #EmployeeEngagement #EmployeeExperience #HRTech #WorkTech #LearningTech #RoadReport

Road report: IAMPhenom 2023 – Leading with innovation and customer support

Posted on Friday, April 7th, 2023 at 3:16 PM    

Last week I attended Phenom’s fourth customer conference, IAMPhenom, from March 29 – 30th in Philadelphia, PA. Phenom is a talent acquisition and management solution provider and refers to its suite of products as the Intelligence Talent Experience platform. Below is the TL: DR from the event.

  • Consistent focus on innovation: A steady theme throughout the conference sessions was the company’s focus on innovation. The company unveiled over 17 new products and features as part of its continued drive to innovate. The biggest announcements included the launch of a generative AI capability, Phenom X+, and Succession Planning, Interview Intelligence, and Workforce Intelligence tools.
  • Improvements in customer care: The company updated its customer delivery model in 2022 by creating a centralized governance and planning structure with a core service layer. It also added 3 sub-teams focused on product advisory, governance, and transformation advisory. The company also updated its service model and launched a new support portal, a user community, global office hours, an online learning academy, and a 24/7 hub services hub for administration-focused requests.
  • Continued growth: The company proudly boasted that it had maxed out one of the biggest hotels in the city with over 1,400 people in attendance, compared to 800 attendees in 2020. The company grew its number of employees as well. It has over 1400 employees, compared to about 500 in 2020, with offices in 6 locations and over 500 customers.

Figure 1: Phenom’s opening Keynote by CEO and co-founder, Mahe Bayireddi | Source: Phenom 2023


The company leadership emphasized its focus on consistently reinvesting in product innovation and developing new features and capabilities. The company made over 17 new product announcements during the conference. I’ve covered some of the major announcements below.

  • Phenom X+
  • Succession Planning
  • Interview Intelligence
  • Workforce Intelligence

Phenom X+

The biggest announcement was the launch of Phenom X+, a new generative AI capability embedded across the entire platform that can help surface insights, create content, and automate tasks for all users, including managers, employees, candidates, recruiters, and HR teams. Mahe Bayireddi, Phenom CEO and co-founder, pointed out in his keynote that automation and personalization will define how work is done moving forward.

Phenom X+ is designed to help customers automate time-consuming tasks while providing greater context and a personalized experience for users. For example, instead of sifting through applications, a recruitment manager will be able to search for top candidates matched for a role within the platform simply by asking a chatbot powered by Phenom X+. Similarly, an employee will be able to ask the chatbot to show them all relevant opportunities within the organization based on their skills and experience.

Figure 2: Phenom X+ | Source: Phenom 2023

Succession planning

This new feature is designed to allow hiring managers and talent management teams to identify suitable employees for specific roles based on tenure, performance, skills, and competencies. According to Phenom, it will allow users to plan movement within the organization by adding new employees to the succession plan and charting their progression.

Interview Intelligence

According to Phenom, this new capability, powered by AI, will allow recruiters to receive transcripts, recordings, and key takeaways from video interviews, thus, enabling them to move quickly. It will also be able to provide insights such as interview sentiment, talk-to-listen ratio, topics covered, and main topics discussed during interviews.

Figure 3: Phenom’s Interview Intelligence | Source: Phenom 2023

Workforce Intelligence

A new dashboard, Workforce Intelligence, is created to provide HR and talent management teams with metrics such as churn rate, flight risk, and high performers. According to Phenom, it will allow users to drill down and see which roles are in danger of the highest retention risk, which employees are a good fit for those roles, the most common skills within the company for specific roles, and where the gaps are. It will also allow users to review employee profiles for insights on tenure, current skills, and growth trajectory.

My take

The launch of Phenom X+ is extremely timely. With new use cases for applying generative AI popping up daily, Phenom rolled out a tool that will:

  1. Cater to all platform users, not just HR
  2. Allow users to take action by quickly surfacing relevant information
  • Allow automation of workflows, which can significantly reduce the time to output

Talent acquisition leaders should benefit from automation when creating job descriptions, career website content, interview questions, personalized candidate emails, and messages, and scheduling interviews. Talent management leaders will be able to identify succession planning opportunities, skills gaps, and employees with a high risk of leaving the organization.

The area I am most excited about is the potential ways employees can use the capability. From giving them information on their current skills gaps and identifying relevant roles for career progression to helping them gain the necessary skills, the tool can significantly impact employee learning, performance, and experience. It can be particularly useful for frontline and gig workers, who might not always be fully aware of the potential career paths they can explore.

The Succession Planning and Workforce Intelligence tools are smart additions to the existing capabilities in helping customers find the right talent quickly. It also makes sense for the company to provide these capabilities since the platform already collects skills data from employees and other systems and can use the data to help with internal mobility.

The Interview Intelligence capabilities should allow recruiters to receive much richer insights into the interview process and help them make better decisions. It can help them design better interview questions, improve candidate and recruiter experience and fasten the process as well.

Overall, I was quite impressed with the level of innovation that was presented and the thoughtfulness that was clearly put into creating features that would improve the experience for all the users of the platforms.

Figure 4: Phenom’s Intelligent Talent Experience Platform | Source: Phenom 2023


During the analyst day, the company leadership spent a significant time talking about the changes and upgrades it has made to its customer delivery and care model.

Global Delivery Model

Based on customer feedback, the company rebuilt its delivery model in the past year. It created a centralized governance and planning structure with a core service layer and 3 sub-teams:

  • Product advisory that takes customers through the product journey
  • Governance that focuses on training, enablement, planning, and allocation of resources
  • Transformation advisory that focuses on compliance regulations and comprises domain experts

According to the leaders, the new model has enabled consistency and predictability and reduced friction during delivery and deployment. One of the ways it did this is by changing how the core services are delivered. Prior to the changes, a project manager would be assigned to manage the delivery. Instead, it now appoints a technical program manager who has a depth of knowledge across the product, domain, and technology and can respond to customer’s questions quickly.

The company also launched the Falcon Model, an accelerated delivery model that delivers the product to customers, along with the integration setup, and moves them over to the customer team within 4 weeks of buying it. At the time of the conference, it had completed delivery to 7 customers successfully.

Figure 5: Phenom’s One Global Delivery Model | Source: Phenom 2023

Customer Care Model

The company deployed a new service model to 40 customers in 2022. As part of the model, the company introduced the following new features:

  • Support Portal. A 24/7 portal for customers with connections to other Phenom resources such as the Phenom User Community, Service Hub, and Managed Services Requests and status tracking capabilities
  • User Community. An on-demand online user community that contains articles on product and platform functionality and allows users to connect with other customers to ask questions
  • Global Office Hours. Online office hours 3 times a week to meet the needs of their international customers
  • An online learning academy that is available to all customers 24/7 on-demand with over 100 different online role and scenario-based courses and micro certifications to help with end-user training
  • Service Hub. An on-demand 24/7 services hub for administration-focused requests that do not require Managed Services Requests that involve configuration changes

The initial results from the new care model look promising. For the 40 companies it was launched for, the model reduced case duration by 20%, improved customer Health Index Score by 10%, and a 100% service-level agreement (SLA) compliance.

Figure 6: Phenom Explorer | Source: Phenom 2023

My take

The amount of work that the company has done to improve its customer delivery and care model is impressive. According to the leaders, the developments have allowed the company to reduce a lot of noise in the customer journey. It’s great to see the company offer a user community, as many of its competitors and other providers in this space already do this.

This growing focus on customer care and delivery is also likely to be a differentiator for the company compared to other providers as they give up some of the support services or push them off to their partners to reduce costs and adjust their pricing in the current economy.

Continued Growth

Although the company did not share revenue or growth numbers, it did talk about the customer growth it experienced over the past few years. The company's last conference was before the pandemic, in 2020, with over 800 attendees. This time the company proudly boasted that they had maxed out one of the biggest hotels in the city with over 1,400 people in attendance. The company also grew its number of employees. It now has more than 1400 workers with offices in 6 locations and over 500 customers. The company did not raise any funding in 2022; its last round of financing was in 2021, when it raised $100 million in Series D.

My take

While it would have been interesting to learn how much the company grew in revenue, the customer and employee increase reflect steady and consistent growth. The company will likely go public at some point in the near future, although the current uncertain economic considerations might push the timeline further than planned by the company. Given that the company has a good financial standing, it’s also likely to make acquisitions of its own as other solution providers find themselves running out of funding and lacking capital.

Final thoughts

Overall, it was a great conference for Phenom customers and analysts. The focus on automation, personalization, and context providing was front and center through all the sessions and announcements.

The customers I spoke to enjoyed their training day and were excited to start using the newly launched capabilities. Some customers also mentioned that they were happy about the improved customer support. I am curious to see where the company goes next and how it will work on further elevating the employee experience.

RT Tech Consortium welcomes new members – and co-sponsors first research projects

Posted on Wednesday, April 5th, 2023 at 12:30 PM    

It’s been a busy first quarter for the RedThread Tech Consortium! Since our kick-off in January, we have been excited to welcome eight new member companies: Claro Analytics, Cornerstone, Crunchr, Lightcast, Medallia, NovoEd, Quantum Workplace, and Torch.

This brings our current RedThread Tech Consortium membership to twenty-two, including founding members: Augmentir, Axonify, Betterworks, Degreed, Eightfold, Perceptyx, Reejig, SeekOut, Skillable, SplashBI, TechWolf, Top Employers Institute, Visier, and Workday. 

The Tech Consortium is already having a measurable impact. Our first TC-sponsored research, a Learning Technology Trends virtual event, is scheduled for April 19. The Consortium will also be a co-sponsor of RedThread’s People Analytics Technology (PAT) research. PAT is an influential annual report which — thanks to the Consortium — will now be available in two parts, starting on April 20.  

Our new and founding members are equally excited about their opportunities to connect with one another and support this ground-breaking, high-quality research. 

“We are proud and grateful to be a founding member of this Consortium. We think this is a very pivotal time to step up and be counted,” said Carin Taylor, Chief Diversity Officer at Workday. “Tech can help us to proactively imbue inclusion and well-being in very foundational and structural ways. We’re proud to be helping to bring these conversations and this analysis into the workplace and will continue to look for ways to support this important work in the future — in the Consortium and beyond." 

“By providing independent and invaluable research, RedThread has become a leading voice in people analytics and the broader HR industry.” said Ralf Bovers, Head of Marketing at Crunchr, “As the world of work changes due to new ideas and innovative technologies, organizations can rely on RedThread to navigate this complex landscape. Moreover, their insights help us to develop great products for our customers. And for all these reasons, Crunchr is proud to support RedThread as a member of the Tech Consortium.”  

At RedThread, we have also been energized and encouraged by the interest the Tech Consortium has generated. As Dani Johnson has observed: “The response to the launch of the Tech Consortium has been overwhelmingly positive. As the Consortium grows, it reaffirms our shared commitment to unbiased Learning and HR technology research. We are grateful to these vendors who are leading the industry forward with integrity, and helping us to make these insights available to everyone.”

We have many more Consortium-sponsored projects on the docket for 2023, including analyzing the tech marketplace for Learning, Performance Management, and DEIB vendor solutions. 

You can read the press release on these updates here, and stay tuned for more announcements!

If you are interested in learning more about joining the RedThread Tech Consortium, please reach out to [email protected].

Road Report: Workday AI and ML Innovation Summit 2023

Posted on Wednesday, March 29th, 2023 at 2:06 PM    

In early March, I attended Workday’s annual Innovation Summit, rebranded to be the AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning) Innovation Summit, at Cavallo Point Lodge in Sausalito, CA (Twitter hashtag: #WDAYSUMMIT). Between the event and Workday’s recent announcements of FY23 results and executive changes, here is the TL;DR of this event:

  • Delivering strong growth: At last year’s summit, Workday stated they would attain 20% YOY growth until they hit $10 billion in revenue. True to its word, Workday hit total 2023 revenue of $6.22 billion, representing 21% YOY growth, with subscription revenues up 22.5%. As part of this, Workday surpassed the 10,000-customer mark and added new HCM customers such as Allstate, Mercedes Benz, and Cracker Barrel. Workday also focused more on the retail industry (and thus frontline workers), with more than 50% of retail organizations in the Fortune 500 selecting Workday.
  • Doubling down on AI and ML: Beginning in 2014, Workday began investing in its AI and ML capabilities, and those investments are increasingly coming to fruition. Throughout the last few years, Workday has woven those capabilities throughout its platform, so AI and ML are used naturally throughout its applications (as opposed to being layered on top). This shows up notably in Workday’s Skills Cloud, as well as many of its other solutions, such as Recruiting, Workforce Optimization and Scheduling, VNDLY, and other applications. This focus on innovation will undoubtedly continue, as Sayan Chakraborty, who is an expert in AI and also leads the Product and Technology Organization, was recently announced as co-president.
  • Changing leadership and evolving approaches: An unspoken theme of the Summit was the changing leadership and approach at Workday. Right before Christmas 2022, Workday announced the appointment of Carl Eschenbach to Co-CEOEschenbach, a 5-year member of Workday’s Board, was a partner at VC-firm Sequoia Capital and an operator at VMWare. Workday has also brought on other external executives in the last ~6 months, such as Angelique de Vries as President of EMEA (from Salesforce) and Rani Johnson as CIO (from Cloud Software Group). Executive changes always make you ask, “why?”. Our hypothesis is that these changes reflect a belief that Workday’s leadership and approach need to change to achieve its audacious growth goals.

Note: This blog was publicly available for 48 hours, after which point it became available only to RedThread members. Sign up to become a member at

RedThread Research is an active HRCI provider