Road report: IAMPhenom 2023 – Leading with innovation and customer support
April 7th, 2023
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
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
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.
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
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.
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:
- Cater to all platform users, not just HR
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.