Authoria: Needs Some PolishBy Baselinemag | Posted 2006-04-06 Print
Authoria has rounded out its talent-management suite, but customers say the offerings have some rough edges.
Authoria's original gig was selling portals to let employees check benefits info. Now it says it has a full talent-management suite after buying, in the last two years, Advanced Information Management (AIM), a compensation and performance management software vendor, and Hire.com, a provider of hosted recruiting software.
But Authoria needs to put some finishing touches on its offerings, customers say.
Health-care provider Kaiser Permanente began using Authoria's compensation, performance and succession management applications for about 500 of its senior managers in early 2005. "We were very happy with the robustness and scalability of the applications," says Kevin Hastings, senior business consulting manager. Also key: Authoria deployed the hosted applications in three months, which let Kaiser Permanente start its compensation planning cycle on time.
The downside? For Hastings, it's that Authoria doesn't let customers modify applications directly. Instead, he has to contact an Authoria developer to make changesfor example, to add the ability for indirect managers to provide input on employee reviews. Authoria, for its part, says each customer has a dedicated service representative who ensures changes "get done quickly."
Meanwhile, car-parts retailer Advance Auto Parts pulled the plug on Authoria's succession planning system last spring. "We were not happy with the application," says Doug Bryant, vice president of organizational development and training. He says the application was slow and hard to use: It took managers up to two hours to complete one review. The company reverted to e-mailing spreadsheets for reviews; now each takes five minutes, Bryant says. Nina McIntyre, Authoria's senior vice president of marketing, says Advance Auto was using an older version of the succession management tool; the latest version has "dramatically" improved performance and ease of use, she says.
Authoria now sells only hosted service offerings, and expects customers who run the software themselves to move to a hosted service by the end of 2008. Some are leery of the change. "We're hesitant to give that up to Authoria," says Renee Bianchi, senior director of HR at Carlson Cos., which runs Employee Advisor internally. "I don't think they could turn around changes [to the system] as quickly as we could." Says Authoria's McIntyre: "If a customer chooses not to convert to on-demand, we will work with them to ensure that they are satisfied."
Revenue, 2005: $50M
Revenue growth: 62% from '04 to '05
Total funding to date: $84M in five rounds
Investors: Capital Z Financial Services Partners, CIBC Capital Partners, Dain Rauscher Wessels, Fidelity Ventures, HLM Venture Partners, Menlo Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Pequot Ventures, Towers Perrin, Van Wagoner Capital Management, UnumProvident, Aflac, Adams Street Partners, Austin Ventures
No. of customers reported: 300
Financial services: MetLife, Wachovia
Food service: Darden Restaurants, McDonald's
Manufacturing: Caterpillar, PepsiAmericas, Raytheon, SABMiller
Retail: CVS, Retail Ventures, Safeway
Waltham, Mass. (headquarters); Santa Barbara, Calif. (former AIM headquarters); Austin, Texas (former Hire.com headquarters)
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