Performance management in a Web 2.0 world

Everyone’s on Facebook, and performance and talent management solution providers are joining the Web 2.0 world.

With the Facebook phenomenon continuing to capture the imagination of consumers, broadcast television networks, and a number of ISVs, SuccessFactors, a talent-management SaaS (software as a service) provider, unveiled ULTRA, the latest version of its performance and talent management suite, which now links to Facebook profiles.

At the end of last year, WorkLight, a Web 2.0 software developer, launched WorkBook, the actual Facebook application that will be used by WorkLight to facilitate corporate communications and knowledge sharing in a secure environment.

Last week, many television viewers watched as the ABC network partnered with Facebook in its coverage of the New Hampshire primary.

Now it is SuccessFactors’ turn. The company is a SaaS powerhouse in talent management, and it has more than two million subscribers in 156 countries.

SuccessFactors is using Facebook to allow a richer employee profile that goes beyond the structured data that is typically captured in a HCM (human capital management) service, according to Jim Holinchek, a senior analyst with Gartner.

Rob Bernstein, global vice-president of product marketing and product management at SuccessFactors, agrees with Holinchek’s assessment. “It also blurs the line between enterprise and consumer by linking between employee profiles and Facebook profiles,” added Bernstein.

From a management perspective, the biggest change in SuccessFactors’ service probably comes from ULTRA’s new integrated capabilities. No matter where in the suite an HR or department manager is working, he or she can switch to other suite components.

“In the past, managers would have to switch between applicant tracking systems, learning management and performance management, for example; now ULTRA has a single footprint,” said Bernstein.

The ULTRA release also includes a new drag-and-drop UI, as well as the ability for users to generate their own content such as to-do lists. It also allows HR or facilities managers to plot and move locations of employees and equipment on a floor plan.

Tagging will allow users to add to their own profile, said Bernstein,. For example, if an employee speaks a foreign language, they can be tagged with that information to enhance collaboration and, ultimately, company productivity.

The integration of Facebook into ULTRA is a relatively new phenomenon, said Holinchek, and while it is true that the formal organizational structure does not necessarily reflect how work gets done, Holincheck said customers and vendors are still working to understand cases where this type of integration makes sense.

“Customers are trying to understand what the ROI is from the investment,” said Holinchek.

The Ultra release is compatible with Flex, Flash, and AJAX.

ULTRA is shipping now.

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