Friday, November 18, 2005

SuccessFactors TMS review

So after being told that my talent management “scorecard” was incomplete and inadequate, I visited one of the SuccessFactors webinars and got a high level overview. Keep in mind that the opinions here are simply those gained from a 1 hour presentation and I don’t know what I don’t know – these are just first impressions.

That said, the first impressions were rather good. In fact, I’m quite positively impressed. First of all, I really like the on-demand software model. Vendor hosts everything and rolls out modules to clients as needed similar to the or model. Secondly, they sport a pretty impressive client list. I won’t name them here, but you can check it out at Third, I love any product with dashboards. Dashboards are a great way to tell managers (who never have enough time) how they are doing on key metrics on a single page. I’m not a communications expert, but navigation and layout seemed pretty intuitive to me.

In terms of functionality, SuccessFactors is really a workforce performance management play with some other stuff. Succession, performance, compensation, employee surveys are all core functions with goals and competencies wrapped around the whole thing (and then analytics further wrapped around that). All in all, a very nice package. Their performance and succession modules were very robust, but I felt a bit disappointed in the comp management side. Granted I didn’t see all there was to see.


I should note here that I’m always disappointed in the comp side of TMS products. Compensation is similar to LMS and LCMS. The functionality needed there is so extreme that you really need specific software. So even though when I talk about integrated TMS as talent acquisition, succession, LMS, performance, comp… there are certain grouping of functionality that easily fit together, and others that require more specialization. So this isn’t really a critique of SuccessFactors since I believe none of the TMS vendors to LMS and Comp that well unless its their specialty.

OK – back to reality. What’s wrong with comp? Well, nothing really. It’s basic comp. This means that you can post merit increases, do some stuff with variable pay and non-cash incentives. When I talk about full comp functionality (that nobody but Hewitt, Mercer, Towers Perrin and Wyatt have) I’m talking about full global compensation databases with job categorizations and the whole shebang. SuccessFactors is not competitive with the big comp players, but sufficiently competitive with the other TMS players.

So all in all, I have very positive first impressions of their TMS suite. I’m hoping to see more of them (perhaps in a vendor selection) in real practice.