Salesforce Buys Social Performance Platform Rypple; Will Launch ‘Human Capital Management’ Unit Successforce

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Salesforce.com has just announced the acquisition of social performance platform Rypple. Financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close early next year, were not disclosed.

Rypple, which has raised $13 million in funding, is a web-based social performance management platform that helps managers and employees improve performance. Essentially, Rypple replaces the traditional performance review with a more social and collaborative approach. The software has been compared to a “Zynga for the enterprise,” and allows managers to track projects, guide their team and give kudos to deserving staff for others to see within its online application.

The software employs various game mechanics, like badges, which can be custom-built to reflect a company’s own values. And employees can rack up “skills earned,” in a method reminiscent of building up a character in a virtual world or MMORPG, for example.

Rypple also recently launched a new mobile application that allows managers to give real-time feedback to staff, provide coaching, track goals and publicly recognize colleagues. Founded in 2008, Rypple counts Facebook, Gilt Groupe, and Spotify as users.

Salesforce says the acquisition represents the CRM giants entry into the ‘human capital management’ market for the social enterprise. Salesforce.com plans to re-launch Rypple as “Successforce” and create a new human capital management business unit. The new HCM business unit, including Successforce, will be led by John Wookey, salesforce.com’s executive vice president of advanced applications and a former SAP and Oracle alum.

Salesforce will also add Rypple to its existing products as well. For example, people will be able to thank colleagues, win badges and provide recognition from within Salesforce Chatter.

While human capital management is not necessarily a natural product extension of a CRM business, it’s not a surprising move for Salesforce, which has been aggressively pursuing a social enterprise strategy of late. Human capital management is a huge market for many of the large companies that Salesforce already counts as customers, so from a product and revenue standpoint, “Successforce” could be a hit.