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2015 HCM Vendor Brandscape Report™

We released the 2015 HCM Vendor Brandscape ReportTM last week to great anticipation after a huge team effort. Here at The Starr Conspiracy Intelligence Unit (TSCIU), we know we offer a new perspective on the market. But, this being the first in a series of brandscapes, I was curious about how it would be received. We couldn’t be more pleased.


Vendors, HCM customers, analysts, and investors have offered feedback and insight on the report that has been incredibly validating. Here are a few standout observations I’ve heard in the last week:

  • The brandscape offers a refreshing view on market size. We see HCM as a $131 billion market. Conventional views give estimates ranging from $11 billion to $16 billion. The market size has been sliced in niches, while very few consider any one niche their market. For the most part, vendors don’t offer — and customers don’t want to buy — core HR software alone. Customers want a stronger platform that addresses multiple aspects of managing their workforce. Why are we limiting our view of the market when our technology empowers businesses of all sizes and in all market segments?
  • More than features and functions should matter to buyers. Most of the leading and emerging HCM technologies offer a high percentage of the capabilities customers require. Consider points like how the vendor aligns with customers’ view to the future of the workforce, or whether the vendor can sustain its position in the market and deliver on their brand promise. Outlooks like these in the brandscape report offered some interesting perspective to the HCM customers I spoke with last week.
  • The SMB may lead the way for HR technology. The SMB segment is finding and engaging with HCM vendors at a rapidly increasing rate. The SMB is where most work gets done around the world. The sheer size of this underserved segment alone is already driving more innovation across all HR technology segments than for enterprise. This was validating for many reading the report and pleasantly surprising for others.

The brandscape offers a clear view to what makes The Starr Conspiracy different, from the Lightpaper format to the forward-looking analyses and predictions we offer that challenge common conventions about the B2B human resources technology market and the trends in play at any given time. It’s been exciting to release the report, review it with the vendors covered, and get feedback from the HCM community at large.

We’ve developed a compelling vision of the future based on a deep understanding of market cycles and the rhythms of product innovation. In HCM, we are in a period of innovation and tremendous switching — from on-premise software to the cloud, and likely from one vendor to another.

We’re market analysts. We’re not evaluating product features or prescribing HR and talent management best practices. We don’t comment on product road maps, code infrastructure, or feature functionality. We look at the market, the trends, the brands that are leading and emerging, and the future of the workforce, and we help users, vendors, and investors make some sense of it all.

We’re not stopping at HCM. We’re working on brandscapes for talent acquisition and employee engagement due out later this quarter. We’ve got a 2015 publishing calendar that covers all the major HR technology segments.

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