Breaking Down SAP’s SwoopTalent Acquisition
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by Craig Powers, HCM and GRC Analyst, SAPinsider
SAP recently announced its acquisition of SwoopTalent or, more specifically, the intellectual property and staff at SwoopTalent. This is of particular note because while SwoopTalent’s machine learning algorithms have been delivered as a talent acquisition product, SAP plans to shift its use to bolster machine learning across its product suite, beginning with reskilling and upskilling in SAP SuccessFactors.
Leadership at SAP SuccessFactors didn’t necessarily look at SwoopTalent’s go-to-market strategy but instead looked at the supporting tech and talent within the company. The plan is to use those underlying algorithms to create smarter recommendations within SAP SuccessFactors offerings.
“Concretely, what we are buying are really powerful trained models that we can then take and apply to our Opportunity Marketplace in an interesting way,” said Meg Bear, SAP SuccessFactors chief product officer, in a call with analysts.
How SAP SuccessFactors Wants to Use SwoopTalent’s Capabilities
Learning is the most imminent potential use case for SwoopTalent, as SAP SuccessFactors looks to apply SwoopTalent’s Talent Profile machine learning capabilities to skills gap matching. The intention is to help identify what learning courses they need to be offered and recommend mentors, assignments, or projects through data related to an employee. But, of course, the ideal is also to use algorithms to provide a deeper analysis of learning and coursework—by bringing in other information to feed the model, such as how the employee is performing in the area they were trained. Potentially, in SAP’s view, this can go beyond the typical star rating of a course.
So, the goal is to provide a learning recommendation for an employee, track what actions people take based on those recommendations, and then learn from that information. This data would potentially come from many different apps, such as Microsoft tools like Sharepoint and Teams and other collaborative tools like Slack.
Ultimately, SAP SuccessFactors is tying the SwoopTalent capabilities into their upcoming Opportunity Marketplace offering, which is currently in beta with an early adoption program set to begin in November. Opportunity Marketplace is expected to be a single interface that combines an employee’s information related to learning, mentoring, assignments, roles, and more. The product’s goal will be to recommend opportunities to individuals based on their skills, experience, and career trajectory—and those recommendations are where SwoopTalent comes into play.
Finally, SAP SuccessFactors hopes that adding its own dataset to SwoopTalent’s model will enhance the quality of its recommendations.
What This Means for SAPinsiders
SAP SuccessFactors is going all-in on the Learning and Career Development. With many companies changing business models over the past 18 months due to pandemic disruption and having to reassign employees to other areas of the organization, there has been a need to upskill and reskill workers. With the SwoopTalent acquisition and the upcoming Opportunity Marketplace tool, it appears SAP SuccessFactors is trying to capture that market.
One other piece of this is that SAP SuccessFactors is looking in the future to incorporate more machine learning-powered recommendations across its suite with the SwoopTalent capabilities, so SAPinsiders may expect to see more of that from SAP’s cloud HR offering.
This likely won’t immediately impact SAP SuccessFactors customers; it will take some time for the SwoopTalent algorithms to be repurposed. In the meantime, SAPinsiders should consider examining their needs in upskilling and reskilling employees to see if machine learning can provide value.
Expect to hear more from SAP SuccessFactors about the SwoopTalent acquisition at the upcoming Oct. 13 virtual SuccessConnect event.