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Friday, November 13, 2020


Gartner's HR Magic Quadrant: A Stronger Rebuttal


November is usually a time for celebration: On one side of the Pond it  brings Thanksgiving, on the other the new beaujolais. This year not only does it take place during a persistent pandemic but it also brings the latest edition of technology research firm Gartner's HR Magic Quadrant. I'm unsure which of the two is worse: At least we know that next year the pandemic will be behind us; whereas Gartner will continue to inflict upon us its annual tale of glaring omissions, inaccuracies and biased information - biased towards the highest bidder, I mean.


For anybody who has worked with and implemented SAP, Oracle and Workday (as this blogger has,) it is shocking, even hilarious, to see  Oracle ahead of Workday on the Vision dimension. Really? Who in their right mind would countenance for a split second that the vendor that has revolutionized HR technology by creating the first global cloud-based HR system can fall behind the vendor that for many years pooh-poohed the idea of the cloud? Completely insane.


When Gartner writes that "Oracle has a robust and global HCM offering with no major gaps" (italics added) it is laughable. The Oracle pseudo-cloud offering Fusion (which Gartner and Oracle try to disguise under the "Oracle Cloud HCM" label) has no Recruiting offering. Last time I checked, Recruiting (which also goes by the fancy new name of Talent Acquisition) was part and parcel of any HR remit. What about Taleo, the cloud-based offering that Oracle bought in 2012? (Read my analysis on that acquisition, Desperately Seeking SaaS: Oracle buys Taleo)  At Oracle's behest, Gartner is keeping silent on the topic because it is one of Oracle's dirtiest secrets: Taleo customers are leaving in droves to either SAP SuccessFactors or Workday, if not to best-of-breed systems. The last HRIS projects I worked on all had Taleo as their Recruiting tool (for either the whole multinational group or some subsidiaries) and they all decided to discontinue it. The haemorrhage is continuing apace but, again, mum's the word from Gartner. 


Another dirty little secret of Oracle's that Gartner won't tell you  about is that if you look at another even more (in)famous acquisition by Oracle, namely PeopleSoft, more PeopleSoft customers are moving to the cloud with Workday than with Oracle Fusion. If Oracle's cloud offering were so "robust" and "with no major gaps" as Gartner claims, why don't customers trust it and stay? Why do they move to Workday or SAP? 


In my 2018 rebuttal, I extensively documented Gartner's failings and motivation for such bias. It comes down to three words: CONFLICT OF INTEREST. Gartner's dirty little secret, well not really a secret to the cognoscenti, is that they get paid by vendors. And as we all know, nobody will bite the hand that feeds them. For over a decade I (and others) have been asking Gartner & Co. to stop getting paid from vendors. Would you accept from the government  a regulator taking money from the industries they regulate? Of  course not! Why would you then accept advice from a research firm who won't tell you how much money they make from the vendors they recommend? 


Of course, there are findings that I agree with, just like I agree with a fool when they say that water boils at 100° C. Glad to see that it took Gartner five years to recognize that Cornerstone has an HR offering. I was the first to predict that such an offering was coming:  first in 2015 (in my blog post

Cor(e)nerstone HR right around the corner ) and then in 2016 in Cornerstone, the newest kid on the global HRIS block. Well, I guess "better late than never" is a fair excuse.


As somebody who has worked on 7 Workday implementation projects, I can tell that Gartner's knowledge of this vendor is very sketchy - actually I doubt that they have deep knowledge of the other vendors either, since few if any Gartner analysts have ever dirtied their hands with actual HRIS implementations. If Gartner knew what it is talking about, it would have mentioned that Workday Learning is still WIP (I also agree about slow global Payroll progress). On the topic of Payroll, they could also have mentioned that there is no such thing as SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central Payroll (I know, what a mouthful!): Why not call a duck a duck? Hosted SAP Payroll it is.


Since most of my 2018 rebuttals are still largely valid (technology may move fast, not the companies that produce it), there is little point in repeating myself. You can check that detailed analysis in  Gartner's HR Magic Quadrant: A (Strong) Rebuttal.


And next time you read research by Gartner & Co., take their findings with a pinch of salt. Actually, make it a barrel of salt - you'll do yourself a big favor.

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