Salesforce.com on Wednesday formally announced Work.com at its annual Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. On hand to explain the new app was Tim Campos, CIO of Facebook, who was credited with co-developing the social goal-setting, feedback, and performance review system.
"With traditional ERP and Human Resources Management systems, you have the concepts of the cost center and the org chart," said Campos during an on-stage interview with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. "These are important ways of organizing information, but what's a lot more important in managing employees is recognizing who they work with and allowing them to provide feedback to each other."
Work.com is about ongoing social collaboration and sharing of feedback among employees rather than org charts and cost centers, Campos said. Set for release in the fourth quarter, Work.com is a rebuilt, rebranded, and extended version the cloud-based Ryyple application that Salesforce.com acquired in December. Facebook was using Ryyple before that deal, and it was Campos who encouraged Saleforce.com to acquire the company, according to Benioff.
[ Want more on the big Dreamforce announcements? Read Salesforce.com Unifies, Extends Cloud Portfolio. ]
Facebook was drawn to Ryyple because it's a social app focused on interaction among managers, employees, and coworkers around goals, feedback, and performance reviews. The new app is more extensive than Ryyple, including private manager-employee coaching workspaces and a points-based rewards system that can be tied to Amazon gift cards.
There's also a new iPad-based recruiting app, from partner Jobscience, that connects hiring teams to interview schedules, relevant candidate details, resumes, and interview notes compiled by participants during the interview process. In addition, where Ryyple had been integrated with the Chatter collaboration platform, Work.com is also built into Salesforce.com's sales, service, marketing, and platform applications.
Work.com stops short of being an HR system of record covering essentials such as compensation management. For that you'll have to turn to a partner, such as Workday, or a third-party alternative such as Oracle's Taleo, Fusion, or PeopleSoft apps, or SAP's SuccessFactors app.
Work.com has to be viewed as a complement to HR systems. The list price is $5/user per month, and Salesforce says it's intended for continuous use by all employees rather than being an HR tool used for periodic performance reviews.
"Traditional performance reviews are all about the process, and they don't work; they're actually demotivating," said John Wookey, an Oracle and SAP veteran who joined Salesforce.com as Executive VP of Work.com and social applications late last year. "Work.com performance reviews are about the content, and it provides a single place where a manager can pull all the information--from feedback, recognition and coaching notes, to goals and key results--to have a simple, content-rich and relevant conversation or performance review at any time."
Facebook helped Salesforce develop much of Work.com's new functionality, according to Wookey. "Facebook takes talent development and assessment very seriously, so we worked with them to develop a capability in Work.com that lets managers look across their entire team and rate and rank their employees and recommend promotions," Wookey explained.
Facebook took this feature one level deeper by building an application on Force.com to pull information from Work.com and Workday, the company's HR system of record, to create a single system that integrates performance management and compensation management information.
Given that most companies want and need an HR admin system for basics such as compensation management, Work.com doesn't fully address the human capital management category. That will leave openings for Salesforce.com rivals to pitch more comprehensive products. In a Q&A session on Wednesday, Benioff insisted Salesforce was interested only in the collaborative aspects of employee management and performance, not in creating a traditional HR application in the cloud.
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