Saba's pedagogic Talent Suite empowers HR to move beyond transactions

While many of Saba Software's features aren't unique in the talent management market, its educational resources are, according to Laurie Ruettimann.

Human resources departments around the world have two main directives: pay people and make sure nobody gets sued.

If you get those two things right, you can justify other innovative human capital management (HCM) technology that extends beyond measuring and documenting transactional data and extends throughout the entire employee lifecycle.

Saba Software (Saba) is an HR technology company based in Redwood, California Historically, Saba focused almost entirely on learning management software (LMS) that measured compliance and met the basic requirements of traditional HCM technology. This began to change in 2011 with acquisitions of smaller technology companies and a push from the marketplace to catch up with the growing trend toward integrated talent management software suites.

Saba now offers a diverse product suite, called Saba Talent Cloud, which consists of learning and performance management modules, recruiting and talent mobility tools and succession planning software.

These products come together to form a comprehensive talent management platform that helps HR leaders manage the attraction, development, engagement, retention and deployment of highly-valued employees.

Like many of its competitors, Saba is built on software as a service delivery model. There is no need to install this program on your own computers. Saba licenses its products to HR departments and is accessed through a web portal, which makes the software readily available to small, midsize and large companies alike. This methodology is common within the modern day HR department and is consistent with Saba's competing vendors, such as SumTotal, Peoplefluent and even SAP SuccessFactors.

While Saba embeds technologies such as the social intranet, mobile access and gamification capabilities within its platform to help HR professionals weigh the current performance against the future potential of the workforce, these are not differentiators either. Companies such as Achievers and Globoforce have been providing these sorts of capabilities for years.

Saba pricing

Saba offers two main packages of its suite. The Engage Package, which includes learning, performance and collaboration is priced at $25/user/year. The more comprehensive Talent Package, which tacks recruiting and succession onto the three Engage modules, runs a company $30/user/year.

However, many factors go into software costs, and these prices should not necessarily be considered accurate for every scenario. Interested parties should request a quote through the Saba website.

-- Emma Snider

What is unique is Saba's pedagogic approach to HR. HCM professionals are expected to be more than just transactional stewards of useless data. HR is expected to be mobile, social and agile. In order to meet the growing demands of today's progressive CEOs and CFOs, Saba demonstrates a commitment to educating HR professionals through an extensive online content library, videos and iterative software that moves HR away from compliance and toward relationships and conversations.

In the spring 2014 release, Saba doubled down on the importance of relationships by launching an HD video feature that flows through all of its modules. With this capability, HR professionals and managers are now able to interview top candidates remotely. Supervisors can coach and give feedback in a virtual manner. Internal and external consultants can proctor exams and certifications without being in the room with employees and still meet specific accreditation standards. And employees can use video as part of their internal messaging software platform, too.

When I attended the Saba @Work Summit 2014 user meeting in April, I learned that more than 900 new features have been added to Saba Cloud in the past year. Software upgrades and new features are commonplace in the HR technology community; however, it is not enough to push out capabilities and products. Software companies must demonstrate the relevance of those changes through user data and case studies. After hearing stories from companies such as Yum! Brands and American Airlines, I was truly impressed with the authenticity of the testimonials from Saba's largest customers.

Saba is best implemented in a human resources department that meets and exceeds the expectations of the board, executive leaders and employees. If you cannot get the basics right -- such as compliance and payroll -- you will not begin to understand the power of Saba Cloud's upgrades such as mobile goal management and custom badges. Saba aims to empower both managers and HR leaders to stay connected in real-time to employees through corporate mobile devices. When great work happens, HR must be ready to seize the day and tap into the gamification zeitgeist by publically recognizing an employee with a badge.

Saba has over 2,200 Customers in 195 countries and the software is run in over 37 different languages. Customer support and seamless account management support will make or break this product; however, in my estimation, Saba is on the right track in delivering a cloud-based talent management platform that is flexible for companies of all sizes.

About the author:
Laurie Ruettimann is an influential speaker, writer and social media expert focused on HR, careers and the human capital management industry. She created Punk Rock HR, which was recognized by
Forbes as one of the Top 100 blogs for women. Laurie is listed as one of the Top 5 career advisors by CareerBuilder and CNN. You can find her on the web at laurieruettimann.com and on Twitter @lruettimann.

This was first published in June 2014

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