Salesforce.com enters HR software business

Thu Dec 15, 2011 7:58pm EST
 
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By Jim Finkle

BOSTON (Reuters) - Salesforce.com Inc is entering the business of selling human resources software in a move that raises the stakes in its battle to woo customers away from bigger rivals SAP AG and Oracle Corp..

The provider of web-based software for managing sales, customer service and marketing said on Thursday that it has agreed to buy Rypple, a closely held company with 350 customers including social networking giant Facebook.

Salesforce said it expects the deal to close in the quarter ending April 30, 2012, and that it won't have a material impact on revenue in the coming fiscal year.

The company described the acquisition as the first step in an effort to build out a line of web-based human resources software for corporations.

Companies use Rypple to manage goal-setting, manager feedback, recognition and coaching using an interface that has the feel of modern social networking sites like Facebook.

Salesforce.com is internally developing additional human resources software to help companies in areas including recruitment, adding new workers and training them, said Executive Vice President John Wookey, who will run the new HR business unit.

Salesforce.com Chief Executive Marc Benioff credited Facebook for introducing him to Rypple, saying that the social networking site's chief information officer, Tim Campos, first told him about the three-year-old company.

Benioff told Reuters that human resources is the last major category of business management software he plans to introduce. "This is enough," he said. "We're in the major categories."   Continued...