Employee Experience Software Is More Than an Engaging User Interface
SAP purchased the intellectual property of SwoopTalent, a workforce and data intelligence firm, in a move to strengthen both the utility and performance of the human experience management approach to HR technology that it kicked off two years ago. Terms of the transaction weren't disclosed, but what is clear is that employee experience is increasingly driving human capital software strategy.
With the acquisition, SwoopTalent itself will no longer exist. SAP intends to “embed” its data and machine learning technology across SAP SuccessFactors, the German company's human capital software-as-a-service platform. Its algorithms and engineering staff will become a part of SAP. (According to ZoomInfo, SwoopTalent has around 25 employees and annual revenue of about $5 million.)
By embedding SwoopTalent’s data and machine learning technology across SuccessFactors, SAP will further its vision of human experience management (HXM), which prioritizes individualized employee experiences and dynamic opportunities that boost engagement, improve organizational agility and ultimately fuel business transformation.
“Delivering individualization at scale requires a sophisticated, powerful data platform that extends across multiple systems,” said Meg Bear, SuccessFactors’ chief product officer, in a press release. By making workforce data more reliable and accessible, she said, SAP can help customers gain insights to guide their upskilling and reskilling efforts, as well as the redeployment of talent.
Analysts reacted positively. Constellation Research’s Holger Mueller told SiliconANGLE the acquisition would improve SAP’s “people analytics capabilities immensely, and that’s important for its overall human experience management ambitions.” Now, people will watch to see what SAP delivers with the technology, he said.
What SwoopTalent Does
In a blog post, Amy Wilson, SuccessFactors’ senior vice president of products and design, said bringing SwoopTalent into the family would accelerate SAP’s vision for HXM by allowing customers to “access reliable data to transform the employee experience and empower a future-ready workforce.”
SwoopTalent combines, analyzes and trains data from a range of separate HR systems and workflows. SAP said it will use the technology to strengthen its AI capabilities and provide customers with a wider and continuously updated view of their workforce. That view will come in the form of deeper, continuously updated profiles that include skills, capabilities, interests and learning preferences. They’re meant to help organizations match workers to internal jobs, projects and learning courses, among other things, the company said.
Stacy Chapman, SwoopTalent CEO and co-founder, alongside Satish Sallakonda, told VentureBeat that the company’s algorithms build profiles of employees by compiling information from a number of sources, and does it in compliance with local regulations and employee consent.
“SAP and SwoopTalent are a great cultural fit and share the same values,” Chapman said. ”We are excited to continue advancing HXM together.”
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Employee Experience Is More Than User Interface
SAP’s vision for HXM goes beyond the user interface or the experience employees get when working with any one system, Wilson said. Indeed, employee experience involves a lot more than how the mechanics of work get done or how employees navigate a particular system.
“We are exploring how we can tap into the mindsets, work styles and aspirations that drive people to do what only they can uniquely do to help us transform the human experience at work,” she said.
In fact, from the time it announced HXM in September 2019, SuccessFactors has emphasized the notion that “experience” is foundational to successful HR and recruiting strategies. At a press conference just after the announcement, she described the pivot toward “experience” as being customer driven.
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“There has been a drumbeat” about employee experience, she said. “It has been an area of focus, but I think the level of focus has intensified.”
Wilson described HXM as “an evolution of our platform” as opposed to a re-build or re-branding. “It is our platform that is culling out particular, unique elements, including the supercharging technology and then [using a] different way of approaching the experience layer,” she said.
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SAP's Foundation for Human Experience Management
The capabilities of SwoopTalent fit neatly into that approach. Its algorithms will allow SuccessFactors to enhance its dynamic talent profiles and gather information from a variety of sources. It will use that information to continually refine a “digital picture” of an employee’s complete self or, as Wilson puts it, “who they are today and who they are becoming.”
Later this year, she said, SuccessFactors will launch a new solution that leverages these profiles to offer data-based information tailored for each user — such as recommendations for learning content, roles and mentors — to enable an employee’s ongoing growth and development.
At the same time, employers can take advantage of a more holistic and continuously updated view of their people, which can help them match employees to opportunities like projects, internal jobs and mentorships.
“Delivering individualization at scale requires a sophisticated, powerful data platform that extends across multiple systems,” Bear said in a press release. “By making workforce data more reliable and accessible, we can help our customers gain powerful insights about their people to effectively upskill, reskill and redeploy talent and future-proof their business.”
“Organizations are at a pivotal moment as work is being redefined around agility, purpose and culture,” added Chapman. “With HXM, SAP has the right vision and strategy to deliver technology that enables individuals to upskill and create a career that aligns to their interests and skills. SAP and SwoopTalent are a great cultural fit and share the same values. We are excited to continue advancing HXM together.”
About the Author
Mark Feffer is a journalist who focuses on HR technology and workforce data.