At its March 15, 2012, Cloudforce conference in San Francisco Salesforce.com announced two new product offerings: Salesforce Rypple and Site.com. The Rypple platform is an attempt at making performance management social — setting goals and providing feedback, all within a company’s own social network, while Salesforce Site.com is designed for marketers to quickly update their social media pages websites with fresh content that delivers a consistent brand image.

The newly branded Rypple platform, which comes just three months after Salesforce acquired Rypple, is being advertised as “social performance management,” and flares up the smoking rivalry between Oracle, SAP and Salesforce as each vendor adds human resources management to their portfolios.  SAP and Oracle also both recently purchased cloud-based HR software vendors -- SAP snapped up SuccessFactors, while Oracle acquired Taleo. Also, last October Oracle acquired RightNow, a customer service SaaS specialist.

Performance management is not fraught with the same level of regulation as other, more complex human resources applications, and many have seen it as a reasonable entry point for Salesforce into the realm of HR.

“With Salesforce Rypple and Salesforce Site.com, we’re excited that companies will now be able to extend their social enterprise to reach every employee and every customer,” Benioff said in a prepared statement.

Interestingly, while I was tuned in to the Cloudforce webcast, CEO Mark Benioff asked two different CIOs about how well Salesforce apps coordinate with SAP. Although the two are rivals Benioff seems to know Salesforce can’t entirely dislodge SAP’s market position -- so why not trumpet how well Salesforce works with it?

And by the way, the phrase “social enterprise” was used constantly during the Cloudforce webcast. Salesforce is clearly trying to leverage its business applications with the popularity of the social media phenomenon. And I have to say, I am intrigued by the potential that cloud-driven social media has in a business context. Rest assured that this Talkin’ Cloud blogger plans to keep our channel partners informed.