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SuccessFactors plots another course: Business execution software

Software as a service player SuccessFactors, best known for its employee performance management (EPM) applications, is charting a course that could more than double its total addressable market.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor on

SuccessFactors on Thursday will detail plans to enter the "business execution" software market.

Software as a service player SuccessFactors, best known for its employee performance management (EPM) applications, is charting a course that could more than double its total addressable market. The people performance  market---SuccessFactors' current market---is estimated to be about $15.9 billion by the company. With a move into business execution---sort of a lightweight business  intelligence category---SuccessFactors can more than double its target market. The business alignment category is a $20 billion market.

Here's what SuccessFactors has planned:

  • Create a new category of applications, dubbed business execution software. This strategy will focus on aligning employee goals and what they are doing every day with what the enterprise needs to do.
  • Detail its roadmap for business execution software.
  • And announced key business partners that will combine with its SuccessCloud platform.

Of those three, the strategy shift is most notable. Business execution as a service, which will run enterprises $180 a year per user, could move SuccessFactors up the enterprise chain. Today, SuccessFactors is mostly dealing with human resources executives. But its focus on aligning goals and finding the best performing employees and the up and comers is resonating with CEOs and CFOs looking to grab cheap market share.

If SuccessFactors' grand plan works it can become more than just a HR-focused software as a service company.

The company said that its business execution suite will allow executives to act on potential issues in real-time, surface human capital and allow companies to find in-house expertise and connect with other enterprise systems.

SuccessFactors suite, available Sept. 18, is designed to better communicate corporate strategy, break down corporate silos and be transparent. The parts of the suite include:

  • Metrics Navigator to view rolled-up stats;
  • Key performance indicator modules;
  • Objective alignment spotlight;
  • Employee search and collaboration tools;
  • Business execution surveys.

SuccessFactors CEO Lars Dalgaard notes "we’ve seen how important it is for workers to know exactly what they need to be doing and how they should get it done, and it’s amazing how often that doesn’t happen.”

Indeed, but SuccessFactors' plan won't work unless it can connect to third party data. To that end, SuccessFactors launched SuccessCloud an avenue to connect its software as a service with enterprise systems from the likes of IBM Lotus Connections and IBM WebSphere Portal, Google Apps, GeoLearning, SkillSoft, Conformity, SnapLogic, Cast Iron, Pervasive Software and NetSuite.

The aim: Navigate through a company by employees by connecting HR with other corporate data. "This shows the HR connection with the business," said Paul Albright, chief marketing officer and general manager for SuccessFactors. "You can navigate through a business by function, goal and task."

SuccessFactors has a good starter list of companies to connect with, but ultimately SuccessFactors will need connectors to SAP and Oracle, the two giants that house most of the corporate information to be had.

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