Review: Sonar6

On September 20, 2010, in John Sumser, Reviews, by John Sumser

Review: Sonar6

Last week, we looked at some of the issues surrounding performance management. The novice’s error is to let the process of setting goals completely derail the work of attaining them. When performance management systems are installed badly, they become elusive silliness, completely divorced from organizational reality. Effectively implemented, they hold the promise of turbo charging the results they measure.

The industry has changed in astonishing ways since SuccessFactors began changing our conversation and focusing on Performance management. Where HR was once a pure navel gazing exercise in search of a seat at the table, the folks at SuccessFactors showed us all how powerful a conversation with the CFO could be. Focused on the delivery of their own results, SuccessFactors has been a significant part of the downturn based landscape rearrangement. In an environment where every body is expected to do more with less, performance management is exactly the right answer.

They made it fashionable to talk about business results as a primary focus of the HR department.

So far, 3,065 organizations have looked in a different place to find their performance management solution. Sonar6, an Australian based (though they have US offices) Software as a Service company is setting up an entirely different conversation about performance management. While SuccessFactors takes much of the media, the folks at Sonar6 are seriously perfecting the SaaS approach and maintaining focus.

There are two fundamental approaches to growing a technology business. You can discover ever bigger customers and sell them ever more complex and interesting things. This is the enterprise strategy. Almost all of the entrants in the Human Capital Technology space end up chasing the enterprise market. The idea here is that it’s easier to sell more (and more and more) to an existing customer than it is to find a new customer. The bigger the customer, the larger the take. In some really big shops, you sell endless volumes. There are those who consider on of the Fortune 50 to be an adequate market.

The other approach is to maintain your focus and keep hitting the same target over and over again with increasing precision and innovation. Where SuccessFactors is predictably headed towards broader offerings and larger customers, Sonar6 is sticking to its knitting. Trying to stay on the game and avoiding the distractions is harder than you might guess.

If you’re open for some entertainment, plug into the Sonar6 mailing list. (It’s a useful tutorial on performance management with enough humor to keep you awake.) These guys seem to be having too much fun. The company motto is “at last, performance reviews that don’t suck.” Their blog is a watershed of plain spoken insight on software, organizations and performance reviews. They publish a series of tongue in cheek (award winning) “color papers” like:

The best feature is the pricing. First off, you can find it on the website. These guys know that they’re in a SaaS business and that pricing is supposed to be transparent.

Sonar6 represents the next generation of software provider in HR. Smart, sassy, transparent, maniacally focused on their craft and customer satisfaction, irreverent (except when it comes to their craft) and really, really smart.

Take a look at their offering. You’ll find their emphasis on simplicity, effectiveness and being good enough to be disarming and refreshing.



 
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