At Saba’s recent global customer conference executives discussed the company’s latest product enhancements, progress made during the past year and plans for the future. Saba provides a talent management suite that includes all capabilities except compensation management and is a leading vendor of corporate learning management systems. The majority of its 2,200 customers and 31 million users in 195 countries use the learning system, Learning@Work.
In conjunction with the customer conference, Saba announced the spring release of its talent management suite, Saba Cloud. It has added predictive analytics to help with candidate selection, improved the Web conferencing application with peer-to-peer high-definition video and added mobile goals management to the performance management application. Our benchmark research shows that organizations are seeking improvements in these areas. For example, in our research on human capital analytics the three areas in which the most companies seek improvement are collaboration, big data and cloud computing. Among its investments in these areas, Saba has improved collaboration in Web conferencing, in big data with new predictive capabilities and more generally for cloud computing with their release of Saba Cloud.
Presenters also demonstrated a recently released recruiting system, Recruiting@Work. This component is a necessary part of a complete talent management suite and should be welcome to Saba’s existing customers. Combining the recruiting product with the learning management system could accelerate onboarding and training of new employees and reduce their time to productivity, which is a compelling value proposition for the software. The heart of Recruiting@Work is applicant tracking, but Saba is using technology partnerships in its Saba Marketplace to add functionality in key areas such as talent sourcing, provided by Simply Hired and TalentBin. The recruiting product also has embedded mobile and social capabilities that could help it compete in the market. Recruiting@Work is one of several such products introduced in the past year; I recently analyzed growth in the recruiting market.
At the conference Saba executives emphasized the in-line predictive capability of Saba Cloud, called The Intelligent Mentor (TIM). Currently it is included in the new recruiting product and the succession planning and learning management systems. TIM enables managers and administrators to take actions based on the information it gleans from the applications. Our human capital analytics research finds that taking action based on outcomes is the most important capability for analytics systems.
Presenters offered an example of this functionality within the learning management system, where TIM provides a recommendation engine for choosing courses based on information about the user such as courses signed up for and taken or topics expressed interest in. This is useful for the end user, who can find useful learning content, and for administrators, who can upload course libraries without having to index the courses in the system, which can be a time-consuming process. This predictive capability enables the learning management application to track users’ behavior and information and eventually make recommendations based on their profiles.
Also at the conference Saba announced plans for releasing two new modules: compensation management, to round out the talent management suite, and a benchmarking capability that helps customers compare themselves to their peers in a variety of areas of human capital management. This will be the second compensation management application for Saba; several years ago it released one that it eventually discontinued. I will track these products as they are released.
Overall, Saba is broadening the functionality of its suite, adding predictive capabilities, enhancing collaborative and mobile capabilities and more generally moving the applications to the cloud. These steps should help it remain competitive in the human capital management market. However, Saba faces challenges with its financial management from years past and resulting management changes. As a result of these setbacks, Saba has had challenges in its growth while having the products and services readily available. It is competing in a crowded market and to be successful Saba needs to grow with more new customers and continued retention and cross-sales of new products to existing customers. Despite these business and financial challenges we recommend to organizations looking to update their talent management systems especially with a focus in learning and collaboration examine Saba’s latest products.
VP and Research Director