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Stuart Lauchlan

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SuccessFactors acquires Inform


SuccessFactors has beefed up its business execution offering with the purchase of Inform, an Australian firm which offers consulting and software to help companies analyse and plan for the future of their workforce.

SuccessFactors’ roots are in performance management and talent management, but the firm last year launched into an ambitious gambit to reposition as a business execution provider. The Inform acquisition is intended to beef up that BizX strategy.

“Inform Business Impact is a global leader in business analytics and workforce planning. It is a pureplay Cloud company and has world-class consulting capabilities, kind of like the McKinsey of this industry,”  says SuccessFactors CEO Lars Dalgaard. “We are aggressively building out our BizX road map. We have a three-pronged approach, internal development, partnerships and M&A. there is a lot of business intelligence software, but it is all based on the code general ledger and accounting. That is not going to work for our customers.

SuccessFactors needed to drive workforce information to drive business decisions.

“Our customers need technology that’s built based on the general ledger, sales and workforce information. With Inform, we can do all three,” he adds. “It is incredible how well they merge and build the Cloud of all applications and make it all work, standardise data in one place and show it all to you in one place, so that you can bridge the gap between strategy and execution, and you can make the right decisions; only Inform does that for large enterprises. We want to bring it to all companies across the world and it is frankly what Inform is most excited about in this merger is that they will be able to provide this not just to large enterprise companies, but also across SMEs.

Predicting the future
Essentially what all this means is that SuccessFactors customers now have access to predictive analytics. “Inform has taken 600 person years of intellectual capital and codified it in a rich set of business analytics and workforce planning applications,” explains Dalgaard. “The analogy’s going to a doctor and being told exactly what is going on, a complete body scan and you know exactly what you need to do to keep running. [Inform has] strategic workforce planning, strategic reporting, workforce analytics, workforce reporting, over 2,000 key performance metrics. They have a library build up of key benchmarking concept for over 20 industries. This acquisition allows us to provide something none of our competitors can – software specialised for business execution based on people that rapidly improves company performance.

“If you are a CEO, what if you knew you would save $6 million in annual turnover costs without investing a diamond compensation of benefit simply by changing your hiring and on-boarding process, and we could tell you how to do it? If you are a retail chain, and we can tell you exactly what the differences are for you to get top line growth at 10% to 20% more? How about learning that you can increase same-store sales by $28 million by changing store layouts and increasing manager/employee meeting time by 10%? What if you knew you could save $10 million a year by promoting from within rather than hiring from outside or generate a $100 million or $180 million of revenue by reallocating your sales training budgets and we could show you how? This is Biz Execution."

Riding the tsunami
The move to acquire another Cloud vendor is indicative of SuccessFactors growth ambitions, says Dalgaard. “The momentum is like a tsunami wave,”
he says. “Many companies gave up 2009, but like in sports SuccessFactors doesn’t build character it reveals it. SuccessFactors’ people took market share in 2009. SuccessFactors added 520 customers in 2009 bringing our total customer count to greater than 3,000. Today SuccessFactors has the most unique paying users in the business Cloud with more than 6 million users.

“Last year, we had a series of high-profile customers, including General Motors, Bechtel, Columbia Sportswear, DHL do Brasil, British Petroleum, GulfStream, Nestle, The Cheesecake Factory, JM Smucker, and Nielsen Company. Coca-Cola Enterprises selected SuccessFactors with 60,000 seat of business execution to in line the entire workforce with overall business strategy. Coca-Cola presented to one of our local training and kickoff events in Atlanta couple of weeks ago. The whole company dialed in as it did to several other company presentations across the world, and to hear them describe how SuccessFactors is a key part of their global operating framework was exceptionally rewarding for the entire company."

The poster child customer site remains Siemens, of course, which last year signed a deal for 420,000 users across 80 countries in 20 different languages. This is progressing well, according to Dalgaard. "Currently, more than 300,000 people are using the product of Siemens and more than 220,000 upon their area using SuccessFactors’ Goal," he says. "Siemens purchased virtually all SuccessFactors modules to link strategy and execution. We [have] started four massive [project rollouts] now. We estimate each of those are bigger than anything else going on in SaaS and the Cloud in enterprise. It’s a legendary experience.”


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