Cliché or not, a business’s most valuable asset is its people, and for 15 years Softscape has been dedicated to providing applications that help human resources organizations handle a range of processes that I call workforce performance management, including what the industry refers to as talent management. Privately held Softscape operates in 156 countries, and its customers range from large companies (with 1,000 to 10,000 employees) to the extremely large (which have over 50,000 employees). It has one of the highest customer renewal rates in the industry, is growing consistently and is attracting new customers with its cloud computing offering that provides software as a service (SaaS) that organizations rent rather than license and install themselves. Softscape also has entered the expanding market for customer experience management to support processes for maximizing customer relationships.
In May, Softscape announced availability of Softscape Apex 2010 R1, which enhances its suite of applications with new releases in learning management, workforce planning, succession planning, coaching and use of social media by the workforce. The update also brings new capabilities in the user experience, business intelligence, configurability and administration. The advances in usability make its applications more intuitive, which will help the multiple generations of technology competencies now found in the enterprise. I have recently written why workforce analytics are a requirement for determining the value of employees. Softscape has taken workforce analytics to another level by embedding them in the applications so managers can acquire the information necessary to take actions and make decisions in recruiting, assigning learning, determining compensation and assessing performance.
Softscape put significant time and effort into advancing its Learning Management System (LMS). This makes a critical link between performance management and effective career development for the workforce and also contributes to confidence in placing talent in succession planning. While in the past organizations had to turn to dedicated providers for an LMS, Softscape in this release has integrated it with other applications as part of an individual’s profile and added accessibility and flexibility to learning.
I admire the improvements in Softscape’s Talent Profile application, which provides a unified view of information for any individual, organized into groups such as goals, assessments, position, compensation, development, learning and role and collected in an internal talent network. This capability helps control the workforce information anarchy that I wrote about last year (See: “HR Faces Talent Management Roadblock: Workforce Information Anarchy”) and that HR professionals now realize is a top priority to correct. It provides the foundation for an application called Softscape People Advisor that helps managers have relevant information and use it to manage effectively. In addition Softscape Embedded Smart Coaching can provide a centralized view of interactions with a team of employees to facilitate business collaboration and monitor its activity and priority. Coaching is imperative for large and distributed teams like those in call centers, field service and sales organizations. It can establish continuous interactions among a team in regard to reaching performance objectives and compensation criteria including incentives and rewards. Most organizations try to manage this through spreadsheets and e-mail or in separate systems unconnected to company-wide compensation and performance systems, with predictably limited results.
Softscape has worked to expand its partner network with consulting companies including Accenture, Ascendis and Human Dynamix and with PayScale and jobfox for Internet-based HR services. Softscape recognizes the importance of social media and mobility and will make announcements in the near future in both of these hot areas. Softscape is committed to push the envelope of what HR organizations should do not just to control workforce operations but to innovate in the use of human capital to provide a competitive edge.
It may not be as well known as some other providers in this industry, but Softscape has demonstrated successful deployments at many customers and continuously improves its applications, reinvesting more than one-third of its revenue into research and product development. Our recent research in performance management for talent management found that most organizations are still at the basic level of looking for the right set of applications to manage talent and improve the capabilities of the workforce. The future is looking bright for Softscape, based on year-to-year growth and its focus on applications and a platform that deliver what customers want. This new release addresses needs in learning, succession, coaching and analytics and overall is one of the leading integrated workforce performance and talent management suites on the market today.
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Mark Smith – CEO & EVP Research