I met with Bobby Yazdani, CEO & President of Saba Software earlier this week at their Redwood Shores California headquarters. A substantial global company with 1400 customers and more than 19 million users across 150 countries, Saba is the piece of the enterprise stack jigsaw puzzle that first brought training and learning into the internet era after their 1997 founding.
Increasingly collaboration at a global scale is instrumental for success at the enterprise level, and Saba's early role in enabling human capital management (HCM) software and services in the internet era is even more important today as a foundation for creating strategies for formal training alongside the sophisticated informal learning enabled by modern 2.0 technologies.
The on premise era for the entire enterprise stack is rapidly giving way to on-demand SaaS (Software as a Service) offerings and collaboration around greater knowledge (Saba means 'knowing' in several languages) is often a good fit for the cloud this new era.
As chair of the 'People, Culture & Communications' track at June's US Enterprise 2.0 conference I'm very interested in the current Human Resources landscape across enterprises. As I wrote in the tracks' accompanying white paper 'Enterprise 2.0 People & Culture: HR Management Challenges & Opportunities'
The individuals who comprise the unique personality and culture of a modern business are also its hearts and souls... yet all to often we think of 'Human Resources' in terms of bureaucratic people processing, vastly underestimating the role our People and Culture leadership play in driving and realizing value to the business.
Today's worker is exposed to a rapidly evolving world of information and new types of networks, both in their social and work lives.
Staff are a huge fixed cost for enterprises, so making them as productive and efficient as possible is clearly a high priority, but the nature of workforces is changing rapidly.
As we all know, personal connections and access to information through social graphs and 2.0 technologies is accelerating in sophistication and speed for users of all age groups...however the regulatory requirements for formal businesses remains very complex around information retention and reporting.
Companies like Saba are helping tackle a very challenging problem. While small groups of people (small and medium companies; departments within larger business entities for example) can quickly mobilize 2.0 collaboration environments formally or informally, it is a far harder and different task to strategize at scale across global entities.
'Collaboration' means Unified Communications in some areas of large business entities - which is still essentially discussing documents on video and voice conference calls. As Enterprise 2.0 technologies take root in more and more businesses, either as stand alone environments or as enhancements to existing technology products, tensions are building around ways of working which are still rooted in the on premise era of enterprise technologies from late in the last century.
There are many ways enterprises can quickly become more efficient by leveraging the power of modern technology, the challenge is in orchestrating cohesive ways to get the entire culture of a company working well together.
In the current era of irrational exuberance by some over the supposed attributes of adopting more social ways of living transparent lives online it's worth remembering that formal certification and understanding of job function is required to allow you in the door in many vocations. Understanding how and where unstructured information - the tacit knowledge that can be so hard to convey and receive from people to make them more aware - augments or fits into more formal learning structures is very important.
Saba's infrastructure is well positioned to facilitate this as a structural foundational component of the enterprise stack that adheres to the various international policies and procedures for handling data while still making it easier for individuals and teams to locate expertise and information across the organization.
Align this with more performance management and you have ways of measuring these activities. The challenge, as with other parts of the enterprise stack, is in influencing and providing incentives for positive behavior change to realize the benefits of all these possibilities...