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Corporate HR departments are ripe for the kind of cloud-based augmentation that Salesforce has introduced to other business areas. The applications used in the HR environment are complex, expensive, and often siloed. Salesforce for HR, a new module in the Salesforce1 platform, attempts to streamline the experience that employees have with HR, including their interactions with third-party systems of record (from Taleo, Workday, PeopleSoft, and so on).

Common operational elements exist between front and back offices

Salesforce is extending its platform to include apps (or app connections) that reach into the back office and into the daily interactions that employees have with HR departments. With three new software modules that together form Salesforce for HR, the company is making it easier for businesses to stay engaged with their employees. These modules represent the employee-facing counterpart to Salesforce’s existing customer-centric tools: they leverage what Salesforce has learned about managing interactions and engaging customers to improve the employer–employee relationship. The goal is to help firms to attract and retain the best talent, to communicate better with staff, and to measure performance more effectively.

Although it is too early to know how the market will respond to this offering, there are several reasons why this effort makes sense for both businesses and for Salesforce.

First, any customer service environment depends very heavily on the health and success of its corporate HR support. Labor represents as much as 80% of the ongoing cost of running a contact center. Unfortunately most businesses do not coordinate their HR practices (and technologies) with their contact center performance tracking and analytics. Hiring pipelines, onboarding, provisioning, and ongoing engagement policies are often ad hoc and not coordinated with operational needs.

Second, Salesforce itself is changing from a CRM company to a broader organizational software supplier that melds front and back offices. Enterprises need to centralize and coordinate software investments that run across multiple departments and functions. For Salesforce, having an HR offering cements the notion that its cloud-based (read: easy and inexpensive) platform can be seen as the cockpit for a wide range of business processes, not just sales or service.

And third, businesses are coming to see that managing staff is not all that different from interacting with customers: both processes require attention to journeys, processes, and flow; to the continuity of experience along the way; and to the “unsiloing” of data about the individual and their needs.


Further reading

2015 ICT Enterprise Insights on Human Capital Management, IT0021-000044 (December 2014)


Keith Dawson, Principal Analyst, Customer Engagement

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