SuccessFactors: Getting the Job Done

By Baselinemag  |  Posted 2006-04-06 Print this article 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."

Talent Management

999 Baker Way
San Mateo, CA 94404
(650) 645-2000

TICKER: Privately held

Lars Dalgaard
The Denmark native took over the company in 2001. Previously, he worked at Ingenuity Systems, a provider of hosted biomedical software, Novartis and Unilever.

Randy Womack
VP Operations, CIO
Joined in March 2003, after working as a partner with Greylock Partners, one of SuccessFactors' investors.

SuccessFactors Talent Management Suite provides hosted applications for competency and performance management, goal management, career and development planning, succession planning and related functions.
Reference Checks

Gary Short
Senior Consultant, Talent Management
Project: Paper-products manufacturer uses SuccessFactors to automate performance reviews for 20,000 employees worldwide.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Ruth N. Bramson
Chief Human Resources Officer
(617) 878-9703
Project: State government uses SuccessFactors to rate annual performance of 4,000 managers.

Pep Boys
Liviu Dedes
Dir., Training and Organizational Development
Project: Auto parts and vehicle maintenance chain with 20,000 employees last year implemented SuccessFactors' succession planning and performance management applications.

Quintiles Transnational
Tim Toterhi
Dir., Learning and Development
(919) 998-2134
Project: Medical research firm uses SuccessFactors' goal setting and performance management system for 15,000 employees worldwide.

Jeff Hudson
Mgr., Organizational Development
Project: Plastics manufacturer uses SuccessFactors' goal setting and performance management applications for 1,200 professional workers.

Sharla Jones
Organizational Development Consultant
Project: Irving, Texas-based cooperative of 2,400 community hospitals uses SuccessFactors' performance management and other applications for 1,200 employees.

Executives listed here are all users of SuccessFactors's products. Their willingness to talk has been confirmed by Baseline.

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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