A Gem of a Deal: SuccessFactors and Plateau Come Together

A major announcement in the human capital management (HCM) world occurred on April 26, 2011. SuccessFactors, a top vendor in performance management, announced its intention to purchase Plateau Systems, a leading learning management system (LMS) vendor. Although both vendors have competing products in the talent management space, Plateau had something SuccessFactors needed: an LMS. With the loss of GeoLearning, SuccessFactors’ former LMS partner, which was acquired by SumTotal in January 2011, SuccessFactors was left with a gaping hole in its solution set. Although SuccessFactors executives believe that the future of learning is more in the informal and social realms, organizations need and want LMSes to manage their increasing compliance training needs while keeping a close eye on the whole social and informal learning market. Organizations also have formal courses and simulated and role-play learning that the LMS tracks and reports on. The word is that SuccessFactors’ sales staff have been bemoaning the lack of an LMS to help them close deals. Today, organizations are much more interested in getting multiple HRM functionality from one vendor. Often this suite approach includes performance, compensation, learning, and even recruiting (for more details, see my “Four Pillars of Talent Management” research report). SuccessFactors now has a very strong and complete “four-pillar” solution.

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Change Management: A Critical Component Of Any New Business Process

Think of how often you hear the term change management in relation to a new business process. What’s your reaction? Is it “More of that high level stuff that sounds good, but . . .” or is it “Give me something concrete that I can really use to help my staff understand this new process and feel more comfortable with the change”? Methodologies, frameworks, and best practices abound, yet up to 60% of change management projects fail — and these failures are expensive. Should businesses just accept the fact that changes like the introduction of a new email system, a merger or acquisition, or a larger business transformation project are just going to be tough, and no resources are really effective?

Change management can work, but it’s a hard, continuous, and often frustrating process with no shortcuts. Any change management must have detailed planning, strong executive support, continuous and varied communications, assessments to gauge successful milestones, many training approaches, and reinforcement until the process becomes part of the new culture. The change leader needs deep experience in organizational change management. Whether this person is an external consultant or an inside person with a change management background, in most cases this leader also will need to develop a strong team relationship with the project manager.

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