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TribeHR has brought to market an HR application suite that uses social collaboration to empower workers and managers to perform tasks that might once have been done mostly by HR professionals, or not done at all. The software-as-a-service-based TribeHR application helps businesses with fewer than 500 employees with recruiting, applicant tracking, onboarding, performance and goal setting, and time and vacation management – but with a twist. By using social collaboration as a foundation for its functionality, TribeHR takes advantage of knowledge sharing, the most valuable approach our human capital management benchmark research found for engaging the workforce.

Recently the company announced a new release of its software that provides further social media integration to more easily get candidate information from LinkedIn and Facebook, lets users post feedback and kudos on Facebook, and captures feedback from that channel. It’s easy to register for a trial of the product, so I did. I found the product easy to engage with, and thanks to its collaborative approach, it’s easy for employees to share information and converse with each other. The application lets you easily see staff profiles across the team, which helps drive better understanding of team members.

The latest release introduces a simple approach to performance management that is part of the new approach to engaging workers. Managers can assign individual and team goals, track progress and post recognition when goals are reached either in a peer or public manner, and even publish recognition to Facebook. I also like the ease of having actions and goals defined in the system. Companies can share their list of corporate values, and review how employees support the values through their actions. This approach helps engage teams of people as human capital.

For recruiting, TribeHR can automate job postings to external websites, job boards and Facebook, and post applications back into TribeHR. It can use a LinkedIn profile for a job application. The software makes it simple for applicants to be reviewed and prioritized for interview and potential future hiring which save valuable business time of hiring managers. This level of integration with social media addresses factors our benchmark research found improve the quality of hire (79%) and address metrics like cultural fit (64%). Other key features include:

  • A corporate calendar that can be integrated with existing Outlook, Google or iCal calendars
  • The ability to track time off
  • Storage of corporate documents for easy access
  • Simple ways to develop and maintain personnel profile and support time tracking.

Many of these capabilities can replace personal productivity tools, such as Microsoft Office, that do not foster collaboration or common goals among a workforce.

TribeHR can also integrate easily with for sales force automation and FreshBooks for accounting. I hope to see it further integrate with Intuit QuickBooks, both of which are often used by small businesses. The company recently announced a reseller program to further extend access to its offering through a range of consulting firms.

TribeHR keeps it simple when it comes to pricing, with a low per-user per-month charge starting at $2 and going higher based on a company’s needs to engage across groups and teams. With its foundation of customers, the company can provide aggregated information in the form of metrics to give guidance on best practices; for instance, its recently announced pay raise index provides a benchmark to compare a company’s business practices to those of others of similar size. While I usually can find places for improvement in vendor offering, TribeHR provides a very robust offering for the price it charges. I expect we will see more of its offerings available on smartphones and tablets to further extend into the new reality of business computing.

Small businesses may lack an HR department, but they must have human capital management applications and processes that can operate with no or little administrative support. When it comes to helping organizations recruit, engage and retain talent, TribeHR provides a robust offering for an affordable price to help small businesses act smarter than the majority of big businesses. If your small business has not taken a look at TribeHR, don’t miss it.


Mark Smith

CEO & Chief Research Officer

During its annual industry analyst summit this week, human capital management software vendor SumTotal Systems introduced new heads of finance, marketing and sales, and talked about expanding operations in Europe and Asia-Pacific – all part of a business growth strategy that I am sure the company’s private equity owner is expecting. While I wrote about the company earlier this year, SumTotal now says it has signed up 85 new customers so far in 2012 for its human capital management suite, and its 3,500 customers include brand names such as McAfee, American Express, US Airways and EastWest Bank. Customers United Airlines, POET and McCain Foods made presentations at the summit that illustrated why SumTotal is a relevant and strategic HCM provider.

SumTotal Systems this month announced a new release coming in Q4 that introduces workforce planning, builds on its workforce analytics and provides flexibility in the integration of its entire HCM application suite with its newly expanded portal for employee and manager self-service. The new software provides better unification of employee data within SumTotal through master data management (MDM). The company is expanding its social recruitment capabilities through a partnership with Bullhornour benchmark in social recruiting found social recruiting is essential to getting access to new talent pools and gaining a competitive advantage in hiring practices. SumTotal will need to elevate the visibility of its recruiting application, as many potential customers do not know it has a solution that addresses the social media channels and job boards.

SumTotal Sytems says it aims to provide a best-in-class strategic HCM suite and is focused on value creation for its customers. It plans to advance its pace of innovation in mobile and social technologies. The company wanted to communicate the strategic importance of its mobile technology advancements, as it has begun to release applications from learning to workforce management on smartphones. SumTotal has ensured it is ready to expand on mobile technologies by using an architectural approach that supports HTML5 to ensure support across a variety of platforms, including Apple and Android. Even so, the company must provide free access to its mobile advancements so customers can try them without requiring approval from SumTotal. Our benchmark research in next generation workforce management found rapid growth for tablet usage, from the current deployment at 28 percent to 34 percent in the coming 12 to 18 months.

On the social collaboration front SumTotal builds on top of Microsoft SharePoint, extending it to support a range of SumTotal applications and services and letting customers integrate all of that with their environments. Our research found that collaboration is the top technology trend in 70 percent of organizations which has accelerated requests to vendors like SumTotal to advance these capabilities. One of its customers at the analyst summit, McCain, talked about publishing between SumTotal and a SAP portal and collaboration environments in a unified manner. I hope to see more examples of this type of integration in the future.

SumTotal said at the summit it is committed to providing the best workforce analytics capabilities. It now provides workforce planning in its HCM environment, providing a unified approach that encompasses everything from analytics to planning capabilities. It can deal with headcount, salary planning, determining the impact of compensation and merit planning. This is a significant advantage over other HCM providers that have only the ability to perform historical analysis. The appetite for workforce analytics is growing; our latest benchmark research shows 61 percent of organizations are looking to improve their analytics in the next year.

To ensure that organizations can get access to all of the critical workforce data, SumTotal has taken an open approach to the underlying data models. Customers can use its MDM and integration capabilities to get data from other cloud computing environments or on-premises applications or from ERP systems and other HR, talent management and workforce management environments. Our benchmark into information management found that 37 percent of organizations say integrating employee information and MDM is critical. The SumTotal HCM Hub Architecture has a SOA and enterprise service bus that can be used to interface to other environments. SumTotal is going to great lengths to have a properly designed architecture that will help it advance its innovation, be flexible for customers’ integration needs and release new applications in a timely manner.

Overall SumTotal Systems’ application suite does more than just meet the needs for core HR functions and talent and workforce management. It also advances into the mobile, social collaboration and social media technologies that have become critical components of every organization’s practices to hire, engage and retain members of the workforce. If you have not considered how you can move to a unified approach to your human capital needs, SumTotal is one of the few providers with a portfolio of applications that can meet your needs today and in the future.


Mark Smith

CEO & Chief Research Officer

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