Infor snaps up PeopleAnswers, fleshes out HR analytics

Den Howlett Profile picture for user gonzodaddy January 7, 2014
The application of analytics and algorithms in talent management is taking center stage. Infor weighs in with a fresh acquisition that should prove attractive to customers.

peopleanswers analytics
Infor has acquired PeopleAnswers, a talent performance, retention and analytics company, for an undisclosed amount. This is an important transaction that will allow Infor to visit and revisit its customers with an intriguing value proposition that plays directly into a space that is garnering a lot of attention.

Organizations have long recognized that people 'assets' form the most important part of their value delivery equation. You can for example readily argue that stock market share prices build in a perceived talent premium. We see that especially where there is a significant technology component to the business. It is part of the reason vendors like, Amazon, Google and Workday are so highly valued.

Most recently, Andy McAfee, co-director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy in the MIT Sloan School of Management pointed to gaps in talent systems that could be filled algorithmically. McAfee is a firm believer in the power of algorithmically predicting outcomes as compared to the use of intuition. This is a topic I have already discussed and expect will take on greater importance in 2014. In this context, McAfee believes that talent systems should incorporate such approaches.

Last year, Lazslo Bock, SVP people operations at Google was quoted as saying:

Years ago, we did a study to determine whether anyone at Google is particularly good at hiring. We looked at tens of thousands of interviews, and everyone who had done the interviews and what they scored the candidate, and how that person ultimately performed in their job. We found zero relationship. It’s a complete random mess, except for one guy who was highly predictive because he only interviewed people for a very specialized area, where he happened to be the world’s leading expert.

Scary isn't it. More prosaically, I regularly get asked to comment on potential job candidates in relatively senior positions. While I can give a reasonable and balanced assessment based upon what I know of a particular person, there is no way I can realistically understand whether the fit will be right for one organization or another. There are simply too many factors in play to which I don't have direct access. The best anyone in my position can do is provide supporting evidence for a decision that's in process.

Better still, check out this video testimonial:

According to the blurbs:

“Evaluating talent is one of the most important decisions for a manager but these decisions are hindered by uncertainty and a lack of data. PeopleAnswers has pioneered the concept of HCM big data and behavioral science that delivers a patented, cloud-based product available in 16 languages that has become the gold standard for hiring best practices,” said Charles Phillips, CEO of Infor. “Through this acquisition, we will not only expand our HR offering, but we will add a cadre of scientists to move beyond simply automating processes to push the envelope on big data and HCM innovation.”

It's clear that Infor is tapping into a hot topic that will be attractive to many buyers. As always with Infor, the question comes around how well it can integrate this acquisition with its other acquired solutions in such a way that it presents a clean solution to buyers.

Disclosure: and and Workday are partners at the time of writing

Featured image: © Olivier Le Moal -

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