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12/18/2012
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Salesforce.com Motivates Sales Teams With Work.com

Cloud vendor's sales apps are the first to gain new social recognition, reward and performance-management capabilities.

Salespeople sell more when goals are known, feedback is immediate, coaching is continuous and recognition is meaningful. These are the promises of Salesforce.com's new Work.com social recognition and rewards application when applied to the vendor's Sales Cloud applications.

Work.com is the rebuilt, rebranded and extended version the cloud-based Ryyple application that Salesforce.com acquired one year ago. An alternative to traditional human capital management (HCM) apps, Work.com supports ongoing social interactions among managers, employees and coworkers rather than a top-down periodic performance review process tied to an org chart.

Where Ryyple was mostly a gamified recognition app, with badges handed out as rewards, Work.com has been bolstered with private manager-employee coaching workspaces and a goal-and-reward system that can be tied to Amazon gift cards.

The Work.com makeover was announced at Salesforce.com's Dreamforce event in September, and the debut was promised for Q4. The app is technically still in preview release, but on Tuesday Salesforce.com announced in a blog that the integration with the Sales Cloud is ready. Customers need only contact the company to have the functionality turned on. The formal general release is expected in early 2013.

[ Want more on cloud-based human capital management? Read Payroll Giant ADP Flexes HR Apps Muscle. ]

A key contrast with conventional HCM apps is that Work.com is embedded in apps that workers use every day -- in this case the Sales Cloud and Salesforce Chatter social collaboration app. Managers don't have to go to a separate interface to let the sales team or the entire company know about a success.

Work.com is not a free add-on -- that is, unless the customer has an all-inclusive enterprise license agreement. Per-user, per-month subscriptions start at $10 for Work.com Motivate, which gives managers tools to enhance Chatter.com social profiles with sales role details and reward plans. Rewards can be customizable, gamification-style social badges or point-value rewards that can be accumulated and exchanged for Amazon gift cards.

For $15 per user, per month subscribers also get Work.com Align, which managers use to create and detail goals, outline a skills progression and structure an ongoing coaching program that Salesforce.com says is crucial when bringing new sales people onboard or when moving current employees up to the next level.

The top subscription level of $20 per user, per month adds Work.com Perform, a performance-review app that aggregates all the data from the Motivate and Align apps into summarized reports. Individual reports are available for periodic one-on-one reviews while higher-level summaries can be used by senior sales and HR teams for succession planning. Here, too, the point is that it's not a separate, siloed HCM app; all the wins recognized, goals met, and coaching sessions shared are detailed as part of the day-to-day sales process in the apps used by the entire sales team.

Where Ryyple was a lightweight app priced at $5 per user, per month, Work.com is decidedly more substantial, but so, too, is the pricing. Keep in mind that for all the new features, Work.com is not an employee system of record that covers 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 ADP's Workforce Now or Vantage, Oracle's Taleo or Fusion HCM, or SAP's SuccessFactors app.

Work.com has to be viewed as a complement to a core HR system, but Salesforce believes where motivating, coaching and managing performance are concerned, Work.com's social, collaborative and embedded approach is more likely to be used and effective than a conventional HCM app.

Tech spending is looking up, but IT must focus more on customers and less on internal systems. Also in the new, all-digital Outlook 2013 issue of InformationWeek: Five painless rules for encryption. (Free registration required.)

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