SAP Successfactors a Better Fit for LinkedIn

You probably have read the news today about Microsoft buying LinkedIn. I think SAP Successfactors would have been a better fit.


In 2009 I was part of a team that negotiated and created a link between the SAP Community Network (SCN) and LinkedIn. That was before LinkedIn’s IPO and SAP Ventures had also invested in them.

We called it Community Bio. You were able to share your SCN reputation: status, points and latest contributions automatically on your LinkedIn profile.

We were a bit ahead of the time, integration is hard and LinkedIn asked SCN to sunset that app in 2011.

Only slowly hiring managers look at your community reputation for making hiring decisions. I know of one company that has a standing policy to hire any available SAP Mentor. Your GitHub reputation these days is used by hiring managers who are looking for good developers. This blog compares your LinkedIn profile with your GitHub reputation versus the good old resume.

The opportunity goes way beyond this reputation integration.

For example, one of the biggest problems larger corporations have is staffing their projects with the most qualified people. To solve that problem they spend a lot of money developing expert system where every employee has to go in and fill out what their qualifications are. These systems are notoriously incomplete and out of date and fail to live up to their promise. 

Most people keep their LinkedIn profile up to date and it is filled with a wealth of information that can augment a companies internal employee HCM system.

Think about the up-sell and differentiation potential for your HCM cloud solution if you own the access to LinkedIn profile data:

  • For an additional $10 per employee, we will integrate your employees’ LinkedIn profile information fully into your HCM system.
  • Buy our expert system that is built on top of your employees’ LinkedIn profile.
  • Benchmarking: Find out how your company compares to others in your industry regarding their employees’ education?
  • Industry Trends: Your competition has hired the following profile of people in the last 6 months.
  • LinkedIn profile data and activity will also be the rocket fuel for machine learning aka Artificial Intelligence to help you discover trends that you were not even thinking of.
  • Tricky ones:
    • These employees displayed an unusual activity updating their LinkedIn profile, you may want to find out why before they jump ship.
    • Updates of your competitors’ employees indicating an opportunity to hire good talent, or a product line in trouble.

These are the reasons why I think LinkedIn would have been a better match to a company that has a strong cloud HCM solution like Workday or SAP SuccessFactors.

Microsoft is so far not a large player in the crowded market yet. This may be the beachhead that fuels their growth.

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