SuccessFactors: Getting the Job DoneBy Baselinemag | Posted 2006-04-06 Print
SuccessFactors wins praise as being responsive and candid, even when unexpected snags have cropped up.
Customers give SuccessFactors top reviews as a candid and responsive vendor, though it's hit the occasional snag.
Kimberly-Clark initiated a performance management project using SuccessFactors' system in November 2004 for 20,000 salaried employees, out of 62,000 workers, in 63 countries. Gary Short, senior consultant for talent management, says SuccessFactors' system was very intuitive and required minimal training: "We just gave people a quick-reference card."
Furthermore, SuccessFactors has provided "99.9% uptime—that's what they said, and it's been true to form," Short says. While he wouldn't disclose financial details, he says Kimberly-Clark didn't pay more than the original agreed-upon cost: "I didn't believe it when they told me, 'We won't nickel and dime you on the implementation,' but they didn't."
SuccessFactors also impressed Liviu Dedes, Pep Boys' director of training and organizational development. "They've delivered on everything they said they could," he says.
But some customers have run over unexpected potholes. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which last year instituted performance reviews for 4,000 managers with SuccessFactors' system, discovered during a test phase with five agencies in early 2004 that SuccessFactors was not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act—specifically, that the application wasn't compatible with text-to-speech software for the blind, according to Ruth N. Bramson, the state's chief human resources officer.
SuccessFactors needed an additional six months to update its software, Bramson says: "To their credit, they did make it ADA-compliant, but it took longer than we expected." (SuccessFactors says its system now "far exceed[s] the compliance requirements" of the ADA.) Otherwise, Bramson says, SuccessFactors' application is easy to use and that the company was very helpful in developing in-house training tools for the system.
Meanwhile, Tim Toterhi, director of learning and development at medical research firm Quintiles Transnational, had to circle back with SuccessFactors several times to ensure that every part of Quintiles' system had been properly translated into seven languages, including Chinese and Japanese. (SuccessFactors says its system is now available in 16 languages.)
"That hand-holding was difficult at the beginning," Toterhi says. "But SuccessFactors got it done. They were very responsive."
Total funding to date: $20M in four rounds
Investors: Canaan Partners, Cardinal Venture Capital, Emergence Capital Partners, Greylock Partners, Texas Pacific Group Ventures
Annual revenue: Not disclosed
No. of customers reported: 400
Financial services: Grant Thornton, MasterCard, New York Life, T. Rowe Price
Manufacturing: Cooper Tire & Rubber, General Motors, Kimberly-Clark, Reebok International, Tyco International, Volkswagen of America, Xerox
Pharmaceutical: GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer
Retail: Lowe's, Pep Boys, RadioShack, Sears Holdings
San Mateo, Calif. (headquarters); London; Copenhagen; Munich; Paris; Melbourne and Sydney, Australia; Jakarta; Shanghai, China; Singapore; Manila, Philippines
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