Last week we reported that Salesforce's Marc Benioff was readying a number of technology releases to compete in the social business space. Work.com was one of those releases, unveiled yesterday at Dreamforce, due to become generally available in the fourth quarter of this year.

Work.com is expected to compete with Asana in the social-based human resources management space. In effect, it is a re-branding of Rypple, which Salesforce bought last December, along with some new features that Salesforce is hoping will help Rypple corner this market.

Rypple, Work.com

There’s a lot to the new features, Salesforce says, but most of them won't be available until the product is released. First and foremost, though, from a Salesforce point of view, the principal immediate effect is that Rypple is fully integrated with Chatter, the SalesCloud and the Service Cloud.

Work.com and Chatter.jpg

Work.com and Chatter Integration
 

In a blog post on the Work.com website, David Austin, who is leading the Work.com online marketing team (but who originally hails from Salesforce’s Web analytics and testing team) said that while the company Rypple has now been rebranded as Work.com, the Rypple app will be rebranded in Q4.

It’s probably not a good idea to read too much into appointments to strategic positions in companies -- and in an online company there are few positions more strategic than head of online marketing -- but the fact that Salesforce has pushed Austin into this position seems to suggest that Salesforce is pulling Rypple deep into its corporate environment.

Austin said that there will be new features introduced in the Q4 general release, but he did outline some of the major things that will be happening with Work.com in the coming months.

Social Work.com

Taking a short step back, Work.com is a social performance management platform that works in the human resources space. It aims to align people and departments around social goals and to motivate employees with real-time recognition.

Work.com provides a set of tools that sit inside the applications used by key personnel and departments: sales people, marketing departments, human resources. It aligns people with company goals and motivates them to do their jobs better. And when those company goals change, it lets people know that the goals have been changed.

Both Salesforce and Work.com are approaching it from a dollars-and-cents perspective, arguing that happy workers are productive workers and productive workers don’t weigh down the bottom line.

They point out that lost (or low) productivity in the US every year costs enterprises around US$ 300 billion. If Salesforce through Work.com can offer a product that saves companies money, then they are onto a nice little earner.

And that’s exactly what Work.com is created to do. It brings "social" into performance management, freeing it from the very restrictive top-down, once-a-year assessment and goal setting, and makes these functions part of every working day.

 

Work.com interface.jpg

Work.com interface
 

Work.com’s Enterprise Focus

In particular, the release due out later in the year will focus specifically on three areas:

  • Alignment: Brings a fragmented workforce together and aligns all work efforts in a single direction. With Work.com, teams will be managed in real-time social through ongoing feedback and coaching. Social goals will also be visible in Chatter, providing transparency across the entire enterprise.
  • Motivation: This enables enterprises to acknowledge the work people are doing on a daily basis. Workers can recognize the efforts of colleagues using custom badges. The badges become part of their profile, enabling workers to build up public reputations and identify themselves as experts.
  • Performance: Work.com will enable performance reviews based on real work done rather than assessments by people who are unaware of how an employee is actually doing. It enables painless productive reviews that improve performance by capturing achievements and weak points.
     

Workday, Amazon

The other part of the announcement of progress around Work.com is that Salesforce has announced that it is also partnering it with Workday, which will enable seamless integration between Workday HCM and Work.com

The Workday element of the integration will see it providing worker data and organizational relationships straight into Work.com’s social performance management layer. Work.com will, for its part, send performance reviews back to Workday’s Talent profile for formal reviews.

Amazon.com has also been dragged into the mix with a rewards scheme directly from within Work.com. Users will be able to collect points awarded by managers that can be turned into rewards at Amazon.

Work.com is scheduled to be generally available in calendar Q4 of this year. Pricing and packaging will be announced at general availability. If you want to see Work.com’s predecessor Rypple in action, check out the video below