Salesforce.com’s customer relationship management (CRM) applications have been adopted successfully for sales and service departments, and the company is now advancing into social collaboration in the cloud by acquiring Rypple, a provider of social collaboration software designed to improve employee engagement. Salesforce has gained from Rypple new capabilities in the social media realm that can help align the workforce to business goals and yield progress toward performance goals and targets. However, companies expecting to use the application to replace existing performance management software will find salesforce’s promotional announcements a bit premature based on the state of the application and capabilities. We recommend that they track the progress of the development of this acquisition.
Rypple introduced innovations to promote feedback and dialogue between employees and managers, and salesforce now can use these tools to expand its performance management capabilities. By integrating Rypple with Salesforce Chatter, companies can thank employees publicly for achievements and integrate many human capital tasks including recruitment of new hires through social networking. Rypple engages employees through a Facebook wall-like environment and lets employees earn electronic badges and achievements that others can see, much as Foursquare does in checking into a variety of locations. These capabilities provide a task-based environment that can be shared and can enhance employee engagement and provide recognition for accomplishments. Integration of the tools also makes it possible to create and publish goals and objectives that others can easily see. All of this contributes to aligning the workforce to business goals more frequently and effectively, which according to four of five organizations participating in our benchmark research is the most important benefit of performance management for talent management. Participants also said that providing visibility into progress toward performance goals and targets is the most important management capability for performance management.
Our benchmark research confirms that performance management is very important for talent management in 63 percent of organizations. Moreover, the integration of performance management with the rest of talent management is very important in more than half (54%) of organizations, and having a single, unified platform for doing so is very important to 40 percent of organizations. The challenge for those evaluating salesforce’s products for talent management is to determine whether the company is ready to address the needed range of performance management and other human capital-related processes that must be managed by software. Before salesforce had even integrated the Rypple website into its own, it was claiming that it could be used to replace existing applications and that it would revolutionize performance management.
Integrating Rypple is a good start for salesforce to advance into performance management, but organizations will need a lot more than this to replace the performance management applications and processes in use today. Despite salesforce’s shortfalls in communicating Rypple’s capabilities, the Rypple application offers advances toward employee engagement that are worth examining. It is important to empower the mobile and social workforce in order to efficiently retain talent.
Rypple offers a social collaboration-based employee engagement application that helps recognize employee achievements and lets managers better interact with employees. Salesforce has tough competition in this area of social collaboration for the workforce; products such as Saba Social Enterprise for social collaboration and SuccessFactors Jam are a lot further along. Salesforce is great at marketing but often has betrayed a lack of understanding of buyers’ existing environments, which makes it harder to help them transition to a new approach or complement and extend existing efforts. It could gain more credibility by promoting its partner Jobscience, which provides recruiting, onboarding, human resources and even learning capabilities built on the salesforce cloud computing platform and tools.
To position itself competitively in the area of human capital management, salesforce must further integrate Rypple into its portfolio and properly position the application and its capabilities in this area. Doing so would enable it to gain more credibility with organizations and departments where it already has credibility foothold, such as sales and customer service. Businesses looking to add social collaboration and employee recognition as components of their overall performance management effort should examine Salesforce Rypple.