Talent Management Software Spotlight: Saba Software

With 2,200 customers and 31 million users spanning 195 countries and 37 languages, Saba Software’s cloud-based talent management SaaS solution is a major player in the field. The word “Saba” means “knowing” in many languages, and the name indicates the company’s first area of focus on learning management systems when it was founded by Bobby Yazdani in 1997.


Saba established its cloud infrastructure in 2009 and has enhanced its offerings with several recent acquisitions, including Comartis and Pedagogue in 2011 to provide complete testing and assessment capability across enterprise learning and talent and HumanConcepts in 2012 to enhance workforce planning with workforce visualization capabilities. The Saba Software suite for talent management includes the following six modules:

  • Recruiting@Work enables a social, predictive and collaborative hiring process that helps find the best candidates – internal or external, passive or active.
  • Learning@Work provides capabilities and easy implementation to engage your learners, elevate their skills, and make your learning strategy successful.
  • Performance@Work gives your people the tools they need to understand how their performance plays a role in your organization’s success, going beyond automating goal setting and reviews to enable alignment between employees, managers and the company.
  • Succession@Work builds a talent pipeline, improving bench strength and increasing retention by ensuring you have the right people in place for tomorrow’s business challenges. It helps to uncover and address talent gaps and departure risks, and empower managers and employees to build personal development plans.
  • Planning@Work enables executives and HR to visualize and model different scenarios in order to make better decisions and more effectively manage organizational change of all types, including growth, rightsizing and reorganization.
  • Compensation@Work provides personalized comp recommendations to help you retain top talent.

To put Saba in perspective relative to some of the other talent management software solutions covered in Software Spotlight articles, it receives an average rating 3.4 out of 5. Although this puts it ahead of Oracle Taleo (3.0 out of 5), it trails significantly behind both Cornerstone OnDemand (3.9 out of 5) and Halogen’s TalentSpace (4.2 out of 5). On the G2 Crowd website, it has received 12 reviews, with 3 at the 5-star level, 7 at the 4-star level, 1 at the 3-star level and 2 at the 2-star level.

One of the important considerations when deciding on Saba is whether to go with the cloud version or to implement it on your company’s servers. It’s important to note that while cloud implementation will save you a lot of money in terms of IT resources, it comes with much less flexibility to customize. Thus, if your business is highly unique and “quirky,” this can be an important consideration. If you operate in a very standard kind of way, the cloud version should be just fine for you. It’s also worth noting that the more you customize, the more difficult becomes the updating process.

Whether customers provide positive or negative reviews, one thing they all highlight when commenting on Saba is the rather poor nature of its support services. Not only does the company want to charge for everything that isn’t provided by basic technical support staff (it seems to have a culture of haggling built into it), the support provided is not fast, which means lost time and lost money. As one reviewer frankly put it, “The support (strategic & technical) is terrible at best, quite unbelievable at worst.” Potential buyers, take note.

Those who give Saba a favorable review note that it really is robust in all the talent management functions an organization might need. They also highlight that the company is willing to listen to customers in order to improve its offering to meet as many needs as possible, although some have noted that its people often display an initial reluctance in admitting any design flaws.

In the final analysis, if customization and rapid support responses are a must-have for your company, Saba is probably not the best choice for you.

December 18, 2014   Updated :February 22, 2023   talent management, talent management software   

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