Listen to my conversation with Dave Karel, VP of product marketing at SuccessFactors and Dave Willis, senior VP of marketing of Inform, recorded just after SuccessFactors announced its acquisition of Inform.
In this podcast, learn how Inform’s analysis software helps companies understand more about how to motivate their best performers, and find out why SuccessFactors is likely to be making further acquisitions in the future.
Listen to or download the 8:56 minute podcast below:
PW: I’m delighted to be here today with Dave Karel, VP of product marketing at SuccessFactors and Dave Willis, who’s senior VP of marketing of Inform, which is the company that SuccessFactors has just announced the acquisition of. And that’s two Daves. It’s quite unusual to do a two-hander podcast, but it’ll be interesting I’m sure. Welcome to both of you, and thanks for joining us today.
DK: Thanks Phil.
DW: Our pleasure.
Dave Willis, if I can start with you and ask you to tell me a little bit about Inform: the business it does, and what it brings into SuccessFactors that SuccessFactors didn’t previously have in its product set?
DW: Yeah, I’m happy to do that. I think that for many of your listeners, yesterday’s announcement may be the first time that they’ve actually heard of us. Inform is, or was until yesterday, a privately-held Australian company that has been around for about 28 years. We produce a software-as-a-service application that sits on top of other information systems that a company might have — an HRIS system, performance system, a financial system, an operational data system, a recruiting system, what have you.
We extract data from those systems and integrate them into a reporting and analytics and planning platform that organizations can use to get very sophisticated answers to critical business questions. Such as: what’s the relationship between high performers in different businesses, and the actual financial and operational performance of those businesses; or what recruiting sources do I draw most of my best performers from? Questions that for many organizations are very difficult to answer because the data resides in many different sources. Our application enables them to get very quick and very sophisticated answers to those questions.
So bringing that strength — that goodness, if you will — to SuccessFactors was the real driving force behind the acquisition for us. It was the opportunity to take what we do and then the way that we work with our clients worldwide, and bring it to SuccessFactors’ global employee base of about 3,000 customers — and hopefully, accelerate our growth, but also accelerate the SuccessFactors vision of being the business execution platform.
And so really what you’re talking about is taking quite sophisticated analysis of what’s going on in an organization and presenting that in a way that helps people make more sense of how their people are performing and how to help them perform better.
DW: Yeah, I think that’s a very good, succinct description of it. We would say we help organizations make better business decisions by providing them with an easy-to-use platform with which they can access and integrate all of this great data that otherwise is sitting around not talking to each other.
And that’s actually a classic SaaS play in a sense, isn’t it? To be able to come in, sit on top of all of the other systems in a very light, loosely coupled way and actually bring the information together.
DW: That’s exactly right. And I think one of the things that’s important, that differentiates what Inform does from other more traditional, more business-intelligence type platforms, is that it’s not just extracting a technology. The application itself is built on our 30-year history of experience in workforce analytics and workforce planning. So it is designed to be able to answer very sophisticated questions and inquiries that we know would tend to lead to really important nuggets of knowledge that drive individual organization performance.
So Dave Karel from SuccessFactors, if I can come to you now, can you give me a little bit more context around why the customers that you’re signing up for SuccessFactors now are going to find this extra functionality useful?
DK: Sure, Phil. You know it really comes down to the value that our customers are securing from SuccessFactors today, our primary focus: which really is around addressing the biggest challenge that our customers face today, which is how to execute more effectively on their strategies. And with Inform, with the kind of things that Dave Willis describes that we bring to the table, what we’re able to do is, introduce to our customers a very sophisticated technology and content — intellectual property — around planning…