The Profile Wars (Part 1): What’s In Your Wallet?

During the March 2012 CloudForce event in San Francisco, announced its newly integrated services from Salesforce Rypple, delivering social goal, performance and feedback capabilities integrated with Salesforce Chatter and CRM just six weeks after completing the acquisition of Rypple.

personal identityIn the many write-ups on the announcement, I saw a heavy focus on the functional capabilities enabled by this new offering. Integrated into Salesforce, users can give “Thanks” (recognition, badges) to other users from within the applications (i.e., while reviewing customer service on an account, or from an account page or from sales leads). Custom badges can be awarded and viewed across the organization to recognize special achievement or praise, breaking down departmental silos and fostering employee engagement and alignment. And all of this activity is captured and visible within the Salesforce Chatter activity stream.

This is useful – and cool – stuff, don’t get me wrong.

But what I’m more excited about is what this means for the person profile: How the profile is now extended with formal and social data giving them a more complete view of the individual. has joined the growing pack of players vying for control of the person profile.

The Profile Wars are on.

I wrote on the profile implications of this  acquisition back in December when Salesforce first announced their intentions for Rypple:

Even more important is the anticipated advances of the person model. The goals, feedback, badges and other elements of social performance suite driven by the Rypple solutions become additional attributes of the employee profile. The acquisition will drive these additional attributes into the person profile, which in turn will drive additional value to other Salesforce applications….The opportunity for Salesforce to grow and leverage this extensive profile beyond the enterprise relationship should appear as something more than a blip on LinkedIn’s radar screen.

In that post, I gave a “heads up” to LinkedIn, because LinkedIn’s strategy to own the portable professional profile will now be met with new competition from Salesforce as they they grow their efforts in this area. LinkedIn today delivers an employee profile that rivals that of many HRIS systems in regard to understanding employee related data. Beyond capturing education data, awards, certificates and other data, the LinkedIn profile also captures the professional network of the individual, including references and feedback from that network.

Salesforce’s Mark Benioff has repeatedly stated his intention to own the “social profile’ of his users, but with their announcement to move into the Human Capital Management (HCM ) arena, it’s clear their reach – and the potential value-add – will be much broader. For Salesforce, this isn’t about just owning the “social profile” of the individual – it’s about owning the comprehensive profile (social, formal, explicit, implicit). As Salesforce builds out its HCM offering and in turn captures additional profile elements (including but certainly not limited to data such as job title, goal and  performance review data, compensation, skills and competencies), Salesforce’s emerging people profile will provide a much richer view into the talent of an organization.

Aspirations or Reality?

Many aspire to deliver this enriched profile, but few are actually delivering it today. In Part 2 of this post, I’ll highlight those that are making progress in this area, as well as well as explore the emerging “Holy Grail” of the profile: portability.

What do you think?

Does have a leg up on the competition with regard to creating and owning the employee profile?  Do you believe the profile can be ‘owned’ by a single platform vendor or will it ultimately be ‘derived’ through the convergence of many applications in the cloud?

Up Next:  The Profile Wars (Part 2):  Who’s Delivering the Portable, Social, Professional Profile?

Related links:

Salesforce Launches Rypple Integration, Services ( Rypple Beats SAP, Oracle HR Suites (

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