SuccessFactors Adds 'cloud Calculator' Analytics

SuccessFactors announced a new Calculator in the Cloud service on Monday that allows users to pull together analytic mashups with data from its human resources software suite as well as from other SaaS (software as a service) applications.

SuccessFactors announced a new Calculator in the Cloud service on Monday that allows users to pull together analytic mashups with data from its human resources software suite as well as from other SaaS (software as a service) applications.

The capability is made possible by SuccessFactors' recent acquisition of Danish BI (business intelligence) vendor YouCalc, which was revealed Monday. Terms were not disclosed.

The deal is just the latest by SuccessFactors following its purchases of Inform and Cubetree.

SuccessFactors' Business Execution Software Suite contains a wide range of modules covering areas such as compensation management, employee training, goal management and workforce planning.

The new Calculator service will allow users to conduct real-time analysis of their business, including "what-if" scenario, using a combination of metrics, such as employee satisfaction rates crossed with the current backlog of sales leads.

YouCalc's technology works in-memory, pulling live data in real time from other systems, meaning there is no need for customers to maintain a data warehouse. The tools are easy enough for any business user to use, which frees up time for IT staff, according to the company.

The company has already built a number of specialized analytics applications for Salesforce.com, Google Apps, SugarCRM and other systems. It can also connect to SQL databases, Web servers, FTP sites and Web services via SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and REST (Representational State Transfer).

It will be some time before the Calculator tools are generally available. A limited release is scheduled for early next year.

YouCalc is "a nifty tool for analytics and BI in the cloud" and "a noticeable improvement for SuccessFactors," said Altimeter Group analyst Ray Wang. "The value is in the scenario planning and what-if forecasting tools."

SuccessFactors could have also gone after other SaaS BI vendors, such as PivotLink, Birst or GoodData, Wang said.

Competing HCM (human capital management) vendors will likely continue partnering with such companies, but their valuations "will remain attractive," Wang said.

Many smaller HCM players don't have the financial resources to make similar acquisitions to the YouCalc deal, but larger ones such as Taleo and Ultimate Software could follow suit, he said.

In turn, SuccessFactors and Taleo are acquisition targets as well, he added.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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