SuccessFactors Acquires Social Learning Firm, Upgrades SaaS Suite

Jambok multimedia learning platform added to help customers create and share training content. Software-as-a-service BizX suite gets analytic, social networking, and mobile upgrades.
Training is evolving, with tools such as video and screencasts supplementing and even replacing conventional on-the-job training. Sofware-as-a-service player SuccessFactors placed a big bet this week that multimedia content is the future of training by acquiring Jambok, a SaaS-based social learning company.

Jambok's technology will be integrated with SuccessFactor's growing BizX Suite, which includes SaaS-based apps for employee performance management, recruiting, variable pay, and compensation management, strategy management, goal execution, and succession, workforce planning, and the CubeTree social collaboration platform.

SuccessFactors also announced a significant upgrade of BizX on Thursday, including upgrades to the social collaboration environment that will soon integrate Jambok's capabilities.

Jambok's tools enable customers to capture Web cam videos, narration, and other multimedia assets such as screencasts, slideshares, photos, and documents. Content is uploaded to Jambok's social networking environment, which can be kept inside a company or extended to a larger community.

The Jambok platform gives managers and sales teams the ability to broadly share content from subject-matter experts, improving the quality of training and demonstrations while also improving productivity since experts no longer have to travel or repeat live presentations. Social collaboration features let content consumer share, rate and review these assets. Current Jambok customers include Nike, Mitsubishi, and Reuters.

The March 2011 BizX Cloud release announced on Thursday delivers improvements in three areas: analytics, social-networking-style collaboration, and mobility. New Manager Action Reports are said to give line-of-business manager metrics and benchmarks on workforce data, including personnel performance, goal setting, and alignment with strategic objectives. Reports can be pushed out via e-mail and personalized to specific managers and employees.

New LiveMetrics integrated with the BizX compensation module help managers plan and revise merit increases and bonuses based on performance data and compensation guidance. Managers also get real-time insight on salary budget allocations so they can plan and revise as they assign increases, instantly seeing the impact of changes and assignments on available salary pools.

BizX social collaboration upgrades include an integration with Microsoft SharePoint that makes it possible to share documents from SharePoint stores through CubeTree. In addition, a new Email Gateway integrates CubeTree feeds with inboxes so you can get microblog-style updates from your e-mail interface.

To better support recruiting, SuccessFactors says it can now broadcast job openings through public networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn through partner Jobvite. Results across networks can be measured and promising leads brought back into the CubeTree environment for internal review. This new capability is said to tap into more than 800 million potential candidates via viral job posting, yet it's also a targeted approach said to reach best prospects based on social-network associations.

In a final BizX upgrade, new mobile support takes advantage of SuccessFactor's typically cross-enterprise footprint within companies to tap into employee profiles and contact information. This link puts a company-wide directory in your pocket, with phone, e-mail, and text contacts and a direct-messaging option through CubeTree.

Combined with the other upgrades and available from iPhone, iPad and BlackBerry devices, the new mobile capabilities enable users to review recruiting prospects, share documents, review analytics, see alerts, and collaborate across the company.

The BizX updates go live on March 18. SuccessFactors claims more than 3,200 customers with 8 million users. Terms of the Jambok acquisition, which was finalized on Tuesday, were not disclosed. Jambok's Redwood City, Calif.-based staff will join SuccessFactors, which is based in San Mateo, Calif. Company CEO Karie Willyerd, formerly chief learning officer at Sun Microsystems, will join SuccessFactors as VP of learning and social adoption.