Ventana Research Analyst Perspectives

SuccessFactors Takes Learning to a New Plateau

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 19, 2011 10:53:32 AM

Attendees at the SuccessFactors Insights conference and those of us on Twitter socializing with the Insights11 hashtag in San Diego this week was designed for Plateau customers who came to the final conference that was scheduled prior to its acquisition by SuccessFactors. The conference provided educational and customer content in an agenda focused on developments in the previous Plateau learning management system (LMS) and new products that SuccessFactors is integrating with it. SuccessFactors brings significant number of assets that the Plateau technology and people can leverage from its global scale and operations to the product release and customer operations centers for cloud computing delivery of its applications.

SuccessFactors’ acquisition of Plateau is strategic in that it adds an LMS, an essential component of any comprehensive talent management suite. SuccessFactors planned to integrate the LMS in 90 days and achieved that in 84 days, making it part of the BizX Suite just announced. The rapid pace with which the company has accomplished the integration and communicated it to the market is a good indicator of why the company is growing so rapidly. In addition the demonstration of the upcoming release with simpler to access and use catalogues, integration with Jam for social learning, integration of learning data into workforce analytics with a metrics library, compliance dashboard and other advancements are coming out soon.

Other Plateau’s talent management products, including those for analytics, compensation and performance, do not appear to have a future with SuccessFactors but will be supported for a period of time. Customers at the conference got a chance to learn more about the new product portfolio from SuccessFactors including analytics, compensation and performance. The common platform, called Employee Central, in its second release integrates many applications and provides information useful for both workers and managers. SuccessFactors improved the depth of its analytics with itsacquisition of YouCalc and Inform and now offers both stand-alone and embedded workforce analytics.

SuccessFactors also emphasized its newly announced SuccessFactors Jam,its approach to social engagement for workforces. Jam builds on the previous acquisitions of Cubetree and Jambok to provide a social collaboration environment. SuccessFactors also outlined its support for applications across mobile platforms including Android, Apple and BlackBerry. Mobile support is critical for the company to meet the changing needs of workforces. I had previously tested the software on the Apple iPhone, but it wasn’t as easy to do as I hoped; simplifying signup and access to the demonstration environments would go a long way to getting more organizations to see the value of the advances that I do like.

The company’s path to further success depends on putting a broader business focus on its marketing, compared to its current more deliberate focus on HR, although it has been growing nicely there. SuccessFactors delivers significant value for businesses looking to save by creating operational and financial synergies to reduce people-related costs and fully utilize their talent. The more business context it provides to key lines of business such as sales and service, which for many sectors is where the bulk of their people reside, will further demonstrate its ability to complement and integrate with existing business processes. SuccessFactors’ rapid integration of Plateau and its LMS product, and the company’s utilization of the people from Plateau in roles across the company, demonstrate its ability to build a stronger company, which I expect will continue to grow, as its company financials demonstrate. If you have not looked at SuccessFactors’ suite of applications and tools to help businesses retain and utilize talent, I recommend that you do.


Mark Smith – CEO & Chief Research Officer

Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Human Capital Management, Learning Management System, Recruiting, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Digital Interviewing, Hiring, HRMS, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics

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Mark Smith

Written by Mark Smith

Mark is responsible for the overall direction of Ventana Research and drives the global research agenda covering both business and technology areas. He defined the blueprint for Information Management and Performance Management as the linking together of people, processes, information and technology across organizations to drive effective results. Mark is an expert in technology for business from Performance Management, Business Intelligence, Analytics to Information Management across finance, operations and IT. Mark has held CMO, product development and research roles at companies such as SAP, META Group, Oracle and IRI Software. He has experience across major industries including banking, consumer products, food and beverage, insurance, manufacturing, pharmaceutical and retail and consumer services.