Salesforce integrates Work.com with Sales Cloud platform

Available next year, Salesforce.com's Work.com will merge human capital management with sales in the cloud.

Salesforce.com has announced plans to integrate its human resource product, Work.com, into its Sales Cloud platform.

The cloud-based software company unveiled Work.com at its annual Dreamforce conference in September, hinting that it would work with sales, service and marketing tools, but stopping short of elaborating on its home. On Tuesday, Salesforce finally revealed the future of Work.com, promoting its integration with the CRM product Sales Cloud.

The newly integrated package will become generally available next year, but Salesforce has already started marketing the product as one that will make human capital management (HCM) a seamless part of the sales process. HCM software helps organizations treat its workers as assets, or human capital, whose value can be measured and whose future can be enhanced through investment and incentive.

Work.com will likely compete with on-demand offerings by Oracle Corp. and SAP AG in the growing human capital management market. Late last year, SAP acquired human resources (HR) software maker SuccessFactors Inc., and Oracle followed suit months later when it bought Taleo Corp., another HCM Software as a Service (SaaS) company.

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"It's hardly news," analyst Josh Greenbaum of Berkley, Calif.-based Enterprise Applications Consulting said of Salesforce's announcement. It would be news if Salesforce decided not to place Work.com inside Sales Cloud platform, he said.

"Certainly, the whole idea of integrating work and talent management into strategic business processes, whether it's sales or manufacturing, is absolutely essential," Greenbaum said.

Aside from SAP-Successfactors and Oracle-Taleo, Greenbaum cited Workday Inc. -- an HCM SaaS company based in Pleasanton, Calif. -- as another company that can help organizations blend HR management with business processes.

"The older model of talent management in a silo doesn't cut it anymore," Greenbaum said. "People become the most important variable for any business project."

Work.com represents a rebranding of technology that Salesforce acquired when it purchased Rypple Inc., a human resources software company, last December. Work.com gives companies a team-based dashboard that lets employees and managers set and communicate goals while providing continuous feedback.

Sales teams running the Sales Cloud platform will be able to see one another’s goals inside Chatter -- Salesforce's social tool -- or review a colleague's work from within a Sales Cloud opportunity record. Work.com employee social profiles, meanwhile, will show a salesperson's expertise and performance.

By joining Work.com and Sales Cloud, Salesforce intends to combine the behaviors of a sales organization with the functions of a CRM platform, according to Sales Cloud Executive Vice President Linda Crawford.

With Work.com, employees and managers can expect to spend less time having to write essays about job performance, and can instead get feedback and coaching as part of the larger tracking processes available through Sales Cloud, she said.

"The last thing salespeople want to do is write an essay," Crawford said. They would rather spend their time selling, she added.

HubSpot, a SaaS marketing company in Cambridge, Mass., has tested Work.com with a 10-person team for the past six months, according to Mark Roberge, the company's vice president of sales and services.

At the beginning of the test run, Work.com lacked the kick necessary to justify abandoning the other applications HubSpot used for HCM, such as Google spreadsheets, Roberge said. "It was okay. It wasn't enough to replace that," he said. But recently, Salesforce.com improved the offering to where it now offers greater potential, he said.

Roberge hopes to get his 250-person department on Work.com sometime next year. The HubSpot sales department uses metrics to assess employee performance and establish the proper ground for coaching. "We really are just firm believers in coaching everyone. So we turn to metrics to see where people are broken," he said. By placing sales performance inside Sales Cloud, coaching should get easier, he said.

"We're always exploring the personal and professional goals of our company," Roberge said. "We're always asking, 'How do we motivate people?' We want a clear vision for people. We just needed a system to support that process."

Adam Bataran -- the director of Salesforce.com technology for the Boston-based information management systems company Iron Mountain -- wanted something like Work.com last year but no product combined a sales cloud CRM offering with something that would track sales performance. Instead, he had his company build its own application to combine sales and sales performance.

Now, Bataran would like Iron Mountain to implement Work.com next year.

"You take the collaborative aspect of Chatter, the functionality of analytics, the flexibility of mobile [with Sales Cloud] and you have everything: pipelining to management, to customer care, to your personal goals," he said.

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