Forced Metaphors: Swimming Up the Workstream

Most of you have probably heard the news about Workstream: founder and board chairman Michael Mullarkey announced Workstream had signed an exclusive but non-binding letter of intent to merge with an unnamed "U.S.-based payroll business."

I’m not writing this to speculate who that company might be, because the big guns like Corsello, Kutik and Dub Dubs have more insider info on these matters; maybe it’s a payroll business like ADP, or maybe not.

But I will say we’ve always wondered where Workstream was going compared to other talent management companies that have gone public. Eight years and all those acquisitions later, Workstream is trading at less than $1.00, down from $10.25 a share on its opening day in 1999, and they never quite integrated all those products into one platform. Not even close.

However, I had read they were getting their house in order last year and their latest 7.0 release got great reviews last fall while their sales were gathering some momentum, so maybe the purchaser will be able to build out Workstream’s main products further (to add to whatever product line they have for a more robust TM suite).

That’s like swimming up the Workstream. It’s funny that while talent management systems sales are heating up across many industries, particularly retail and healthcare and hospitality, only the public players are talked about whether they have the goods or not (Workstream in the latest Wall Street Journal article for example).

It’s funny, but it’s a business reality. The other TM vendors have to work twice as hard at differentiating themselves while shouting from the rooftops (that’s where firms like ours come in handy). Oh, how I love competition!

The pending Workstream deal will be great for the HR marketplace and will hopefully give some smaller quality vendors a few smooth downstream currents to success.

Posted by Kevin Grossman

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