Last week, I listed the ‘enterprise cloud’ as one of the five things to watch in 2012.

My rationale was straightforward; while the cloud has been a hot topic in the consumer space for the past several years, there’s increasing activity in the enterprise space as major software vendors like Oracle and SAP move to ensure that they don’t get left behind., one of the first big players in the enterprise cloud space, didn’t wait for the new year to make a new move of its own. Yesterday, it announced that it was acquiring human capital management SaaS Rypple for an undisclosed sum.

Rypple, founded in 2008, offers employers the ability to “[replace] the traditional performance review with an easy, social and
collaborative approach.” Its cloud-based tools enable customers to set social goals for employees, coach them, then provide feedback and recognition.

The company offers a free basic plan and employers wanting more pay a monthly fee for each user. The likes of Facebook, Rackspace and Spotify are already signed up.

Post-acquisition, will rename Ryyple to Successforce, which, perhaps coincidentally, sounds a lot like the name of the cloud company SAP just purchased for more than $3bn, SuccessFactors.

According to CEO Marc Benioff thinks his company and Ryyple share a vision for extending the social enterprise to transform the way people work.

The next generation of HCM is not just about a cloud delivery model, it’s about
a fundamentally better way to recruit, manage and empower employees in a social

Therein lies a key point for the enterprise cloud; increasingly the success of companies operating cloud-based enterprise services will be tied to the quality and innovation found in those services. Simply taking existing enterprise software and building a cloud version of it will, in and of itself, not guarantee success.