Salesforce.com Dives into HR

On the surface, Salesforce.com’s announcement earlier today that it entered into an agreement to purchase Rypple, a three-year-old social-performance site (and a winner of our 2010 top HR product award), probably doesn’t qualify as a major acquisition. But because it represents Salesforce.com’s initial entry into the human capital space, it’s obviously newsworthy.

Terms of the deal (expected to close next April) weren’t disclosed. But as the Salesforce.com press release explains, the company views it a first step into HCM. (Salesforce.com EVP John Wookey, a former exec at Oracle and SAP, will head the unit.)

The release goes on to state:

The company “plans to re-launch Rypple as ‘Successforce’ ” and “expand into other areas with a new social model that will revolutionize the way companies recruit talent, build teams, empower employees and achieve results.” (“Successforce?” Sounds a little like another company that was just acquired about two weeks ago, no?)

It’s long been rumored that Salesforce.com (which has a market cap of nearly $15 billion) might eventually stake a claim in HR. Apparently that day has arrived.

One of the early comments on HR Technology Conference Group LinkedIn page described the Rypple deal as a “homerun.” To be sure, with Rypple, it’s acquired a true innovator in HCM.  But what should make this  interesting is where Salesforce.com goes from here.

Following a conversation with Wookey, our HR Technology columnist Bill Kutik, writes that “[Wookey] wants to create the social process of HR and not ‘the back-end and payroll.’  In fact, he readily lists the modules he’s interested in: Performance (which he gets with Rypple); Recruiting; Onboarding; Learning; Career-Pathing (or Career Development) and maybe Comp as a future.”

Most expect this won’t be Salesforce.com’s last HCM acquisition. 

(If you’re not a member of the LinkedIn group and want to read more on what folks are saying about the deal and/or participate in the discussion, simply click here, ask to join and you’ll be accepted as a new member within 24 hours.)

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