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Success Factors Upgrade Follows Footsteps

Cloud-based applications vendor will add Chatter-style collaboration capabilities.

In a move that parallels's recent launch of Chatter collaboration services, SuccessFactors on Thursday announced it will add free collaboration capabilities to its software-as-a-service-based BizX Suite of "business execution" applications.

The new social networking capabilities, to be added through a Fall 2010 update in November, are to be integrated from CubeTree, the online social collaboration platform vendor SuccessFactors acquired in June. Once the update goes live, SuccessFactors customers will be able to turn on single-sign-on access to CubeTree microblogging capabilities akin to Facebook- and Twitter-inspired Chatter.

"We understand the value of wrapping social collaboration capabilities around existing business processes," said Beth Styles, senior director of product management at SuccessFactors.

The business process SuccessFactors is best known for is employee-performance reviews. But the company has steadily extended its BizX Suite to add apps including recruiting, variable pay, strategy management, goal execution, compensation management, succession planning and workforce planning.

"Our customers absolutely want to collaborate around the tens of millions of reviews in our system, but there are also tremendous opportunities to use this functionality when setting goals, recruiting or reviewing analytics and ad hoc reports," said Brad Mattick, SuccessFactors' senior director of global product marketing.

Basic collaboration capabilities will be free, but SuccessFactors will also integrate premium CubeTree services including document sharing and commenting, wikis, groups, tasks and itinerary sharing. The premium service is $60 per user, per year.

SuccessFactors now claims more than 3,100 corporate customers and 8 million individual users, and the company is aggressively pushing beyond its talent management roots. Those capabilities represented 93% of company revenue in 2003 but balanced out at 38% in 2009, according to Mattick.

This year's acquisitions of CubeTree and Inform (the latter an analytics and workforce planning vendor) have further diversified the applications portfolio. Revenues are on track to hit $200.

The questions facing Chatter and CubeTree are much the same: Will Web 2.0-style collaboration will be a hit as an enterprise capability and is it a natural fit with a subset of enterprise applications?

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