Salesforce.com has been toying with the HR technology market for four years via acquisitions, partnerships, and substantial investments (the most recent being the HUGE round for FinancialForce in April 2015).

In 2011 I called Salesforce the possible dark horse for HCM.  Along the way I’ve chronicled Salesforce’s moves in HCM here.

Now they’re here. In our face. The HCM game board just got really interesting. Salesforce has announced a push into HCM starting initially with Employee Engagement. It makes sense for several reasons.

Salesforce needs the entire enterprise to grow.

If Salesforce is going to compete as an enterprise player, they need the entire enterprise. Leaving HCM to Oracle, Workday, and SAP just leaves a flank exposed.

Engagement is the next big thing.

I’ve been calling Employee Engagement as the next hot HCM platform category for more than a year. The moves Salesforce has made directly via acquisition and branding (the small acquisition of Rypple and the launch of work.com) were tied to performance in sales and marketing. Engagement is a logical next step.

They are experts in collaboration.

Their Chatter app is a collaboration tool that, when tied with Employee Engagement, could change the game for engagement in the Salesforce installed base. While people love to gripe about the Salesforce interface, they generally rave about Chatter.

Salesforce as a platform for engagement apps.

The ability to spawn apps off off their core solution and address the nuances of employee engagement across industries and in market segments with their Force1 platform is unlike anything we currently have in the HCM space.

Like I said before, this is going to get really interesting for the HCM space now that the dark horse has emerged.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this move. Please hit me in the comments, or send me a message.

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