LinkedIn Tool Searches For SAP Talent

SAP joined several venture firms in funding social networking site LinkedIn with $22.7 million last fall.

The first deliverable of SAP's investment last October of social networking site LinkedIn, is a new tool that helps SAP systems integrators and consultants find talent for hire.

SAP AG announced Thursday the LinkedIn Recruiter Basic Starter Package, which lets SAP channel partners that serve small-and-midsized businesses search for talent among some 140,000 SAP consultants with LinkedIn profiles. The product is the result of a marketing agreement with the social networking site, and is the first "collaboration announcement" since SAP joined several venture firms in funding LinkedIn with $22.7 million last fall.

SAP never disclosed what it hoped to specifically gain from the investment. And since then, in the rapdily evolving world of social networking, professional-oriented LinkedIn has seen more competition from Facebook and Twitter as networking sites for business pros.

Still, the tool demonstrates a smart use of LinkedIn, which is more likely to expose an individual's professional skills and credentials than Facebook or Twitter.

There's unquestionably a need for such a tool. The scarcity of IT consultants experienced on SAP, compared with the number of businesses standardized on SAP, has become a serious problem within the past few years. Last year, SAP estimated there was a shortage of up to 40,000 SAP experts globally, and research firm Foote Partners found a sharp increase in pay for individuals with SAP-related skills last year.

The package is designed for channel partners assisting businesses with up to 1,000 employees that are likely using such SMB offerings as SAP Business One. SAP is offering the package at a "discounted" rate to more than 4,000 channel partners, but it's reasonable to expect that SAP sees this as just the first offering for job recruitment via LinkedIn.

SAP offers job recruitment modules with its HR systems, and in the past few years SAP executives have talked about their interest in integrating social networking sites with onsite SAP systems.

The new offering provides businesses with "advanced recruiting methods to find the best talent," according to SAP. It will search LinkedIn for the best candidates based on specific criteria. Users can then contact and track those candidates. The package includes an online job posting service for the LinkedIn community.

More than 1,000 companies use LinkedIn, but SAP is the first software company to collaborate with LinkedIn on a job-recruitment offering, according to a LinkedIn executive.

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