re: Inside IBM's $1.3 Billion Kenexa Buy
This morning I had a follow-up conversation with Alistair Rennie, general manager of social business for IBM, who wanted to clarify IBM's evolving acquisitions strategy. While I noted that IBM has a history of partnering rather than competing with application vendors like SAP, Rennie said what's shifting is really "the nature of applications themselves."
Using Geoffrey Moore's concept of systems of record vs. systems of engagement, IBM sees its investment opportunity in systems of engagement, which is where social software apps for engaging with consumers, employees, and partners fit.
"We have no desire to enter the ERP space or the core HR space -- we have some very productive and health relationships with a bunch of partners in that space," he said.
Kenexa's technology is in a category of product less focused on transactional HR than on engaging and understanding employees and potential employees, which is how it fits into the social graph of the business, Rennie said. "By bringing together the social graph and the business, we can enable a new category of applications."