Keeping tabs on the hiring, training and performance of BNY Mellon's 44,000 employees in dozens of countries around the world is too important to be left to local custom or interpretation, and too crucial to be sidelined even given the recession.

Sheena Wilson, BNY Mellon's newly-appointed global head of talent strategy, is responsible for a massive technology project to create a global architecture to serve its global talent development strategy, layering several niche tools on top of the bank's PeopleSoft HR system. Supporting a global talent strategy with a global tech platform, or multiple globally available tools, is a trend among big banks these days, analysts say, because it fulfills two imperatives: first, it rationalizes the costs associated with maintaining multiple vendors in each of the primary talent technology silos, and, second, it endeavors to maximize the value the bank gets from its recruiting, succession planning, training, and compensation initiatives.

And that value is significant. Research indicates companies in the intermediate or advanced stages of implementing an integrated talent management strategy have lower turnover and have experienced less downsizing through the current recession, says Josh Bersin, president of talent consultantcy Bersin & Associates. In addition, their revenue per employee is 26 percent higher than companies without an integrated talent strategy.

SumTotal, a learning management systems vendor, says one global bank client estimates that it will save $50 million per year by consolidating its 27 different learning platforms and replacing time-consuming and expensive in-person training with Internet-based curriculum.

BNY Mellon's plan calls for the rollout of three best-of-breed talent management tools. Performance management technology comes from vendor SuccessFactors and handles employee goal setting, self-appraisals, and manager feedback. By the end of 2009, more than 40,000 employees will be using the system. For its continuous learning program, BNY Mellon has contracted with SumTotal; the LMS has also been rolled out in several geographies around the world. The final piece is what the bank calls My Career, a staffing and applicant-tracking platform from Taleo.

The siloed technology approach is not ideal, but even getting the talent management ecosystem down to three or four systems is an achievement for banks that have for years juggled 10 or more local products.

"Utilising a best-of-breed approach is distinctly advantageous when you have a diverse, world-wide business model," Wilson says. "Being able to take the best tools for us as a company and implement them successfully globally was our primary concern."

Bersin estimates the talent management software market will be $2.2 billion by the end of 2009. The leading-edge developments incorporate social networking-type features, says Chris Tratar, senior director of product marketing at Taleo. The holy grail would be an integrated system that holds talent profiles on everyone - from candidates to employees, and includes performance appraisals, training records, compensation and goals and interests.

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