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IBM Acquires Kenexa To Support Social Business Initiatives

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Last month IBM picked up Kenexa in a cash transaction for around $1.3 billion. I know about a bit about Kenexa as they acquired OutStart, a company that provides learning, mobile, and social media services. I helped Outstart with their blog for about a year prior to the Kenexa acquisition in January of this year

This move by IBM enhances its ability to support clients in adopting social business capabilities by gaining actionable insights from the enormous streams of information generated from social networks every day. This is one of the big opportunities that the transparency of social media provides. IBM has made a number of moves in this direction in the past (see IBM’s Mike Rhodin on the Convergence of Social Business, Analytics and Commerce: Part One) and this latest effort is consistent with this direction.

Kenexa provides recruiting and talent management solutions through both Cloud-based technology and consulting services. It complements IBM’s strategy of bringing relevant data and expertise into the hands of business leaders within every functional department, from sales and marketing to product development and human resources. As their announcement stated as a result of this synergy, “clients will be able to attract and develop the right skills to build the right teams, for the right projects, the first time.” IBM sees a big opportunity to apply advanced social business and analytics capabilities to front line business operations and I would agree.

Kenexa has approximately 2,800 employees and operations in 21 countries worldwide. The company will be integrated into IBM’s Software and Services Groups. IBM has made more than 25 acquisitions the past three years, and closed eight acquisitions in 2012. Here is more on their adoptions strategy (see IBM’s Mike Rhodin on the Convergence of Social Business, Analytics and Commerce: Part Two).

The adoption of social business technology is fueling the growth of big data and generating both the opportunity and the need for analytics in the enterprise. A recent global IBM study found that 57 percent of CEOs identified social business as a top priority and more than 73 percent are making significant investments to draw insights into available data. The survey also indicated that 70 percent of respondents cited human capital as the single biggest contributor to sustained economic value. This is consistent with the rise of intangible assets as a major portion of wealth within corporations.

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