’s Rypple buy shows the appeal of HR apps

Marc Benioff, CEO of, at Net:Work’s (s CRM) planned purchase of Rypple, announced on Thursday, shows the importance of human capital management in the new cloud-savvy enterprise. The game plan calls for a new HCM business unit and the re-labeling of Rypple’s offerings under the “Successforce” brand.

The value of companies in the HCM (aka human resources management) space is clearly on the rise. Two weeks ago, SAP (s sap) bulked up its own HCM stable with the acquisition of SuccessFactors for a whopping $3.4 billion in cash.

John Wookey, a respected industry veteran, will lead the new business unit. Wookey led Oracle’s (s ORCL) tricky effort to stitch together its applications strategy after Oracle acquired PeopleSoft, Siebel Systems and other enterprise software companies. After Oracle, Wookey joined SAP where he directed the ERP giant’s SaaS push. Wookey joined  in November, six months after leaving SAP.

Rypple’s Software-as-a-Service offering aims to help teams work better together and help management better recruit and train employees, help  them set goals and recognize their contributions. CEO Marc Benioff has not been coy about his desire to fill in any and all gaps in’s business services offerings. The company, which started out offering CRM and sales force automation capabilities, has expanded into  a range of business applications — both  homegrown and acquired. It has also added a full-fledged platform as a service with its Heroku acquisition.

His goal is to be no less than the SaaS-based equivalent of Microsoft (s MSFT), which was the gold standard of office productivity applications and tools in the pre-cloud era.