Salesforce Challenges Oracle With New Human-Resource Software Inc. introduced new software for human-resources management, stepping up a challenge to Oracle Corp. and SAP AG in the market for applications that help businesses run their operations.

The new product, called Rypple, will work in conjunction with Salesforce’s customer relationship management software and the Chatter social network for companies, Salesforce said today at its Cloudforce conference in San Francisco. Managers will be able to recognize employees who do standout work using Rypple features from within those applications, the company said.

Salesforce, the largest maker of online customer-management software, specializes in programs delivered in installments over the Internet, in contrast with the kinds of upfront purchases that have been a mainstay for Oracle and SAP. Rypple, acquired in December from a company with the same name, will serve as an alternative to the applications SAP picked up through the $3.4 billion acquisition of SuccessFactors Inc. and those Oracle gained in 2005 when it bought PeopleSoft Inc.

“We need to bring the solutions into the workflow people use in everyday life,” John Wookey, who formerly worked at Oracle and SAP and was hired by Salesforce in November, said in an interview. Salesforce also released software called to help marketing departments build Web campaigns.

Business Gets Social

“I came on board with a simple mission -- to bring social media to the way companies operate,” Wookey said. “Part of this is generational shifts that are happening in the workplace.”

Wookey spent a dozen years at Oracle and led development of the company’s new Fusion applications, which compete with Salesforce’s software. He then worked at SAP from 2008 until last year.

Salesforce espouses an approach called “software as a service” that lets customers rent business applications instead of installing them on their own servers. That means companies that want to arm employees with new software don’t have to worry about buying the underlying hardware, databases and application-connecting middleware. Nor do they have to hire a phalanx of consultants to make programs work together.

Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff, speaking at today’s Cloudforce conference, said the San Francisco-based company would release additional HR products next year.

“It’s a big investment area for us,” he said.

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