Workday Continues To Pioneer SaaS Success In The Enterprise

Founded by Dave Duffield and Aneel Bhusri in March 2005, Workday has grown the company to over 135 customers with 80+ companies in production, 17 enterprise payroll companies, and over 400 employees in 50 countries worldwide.  Key industries include services, technology, financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, and others.  Unlike other ERP pure play True SaaS vendors (e.g. NetSuite, Intacct, and Ultimate Software), Workday uniquely serves the mid-size to very large enterprise clients.  Large production clients range from 26,000 employees at Chiquita to 200,000 employees at Flextronics.  Workday’s roots began with HR but Release 10 bolsters key financial and spend management capabilities, highlighting aspirations to be the SaaS option for Oracle, PeopleSoft, and SAP ERP replacements over the next 3 to 5 years.

Design Points Reflect The Principles Of Social Enterprise Apps

With the business user in mind, Workday incorporates 8 of the 10 essential elements for social enterprise apps.  These include (see Figure 1):

  1. Role-based design. Software designed around how users perform work including applicable security models.
  2. Consistent experience across channels & deployment options. Software that is agnostic to where or how that software is deployed and accessed.
  3. Contextual & relevant delivery of information. Software which understands what information to provide users at a point in time
  4. Configurable & adaptive. Software that can be modified to meet changing conditions.
  5. Outcome-focused & results-oriented. Software that tracks key metrics across an end to end process.
  6. Proactive, predictive, & actionable. Software that anticipates requests and supports decision making.
  7. Engaging for all stakeholders. Software that opens up the system to new types of users, collaborators, networks, and communities.
  8. Secure & safe. Software that meets security and disaster recovery thresholds.

Figure 1.  Workday’s Design Incorporates 8 Of The 10 Elements of Social Enterprise Apps

Software Insiders Point of View Photo Stream (click image for details)

(Source: Workday)

Release 10 Features Move Users Closer To An ERP Suite

  • HCM adds Succession Planning and expands geographic reach. HR managers gain new functionality with succession planning by candidate names and positions.  Succession profiles track potential, achievable levels, and retention risk.  Improved enhancements touch absence, benefits, compensation, performance management, and staffing.  Cuba and Guernsey are added as 2 new countries.   Global personal data already supports 297 countries and all UN member nations.   Employee contracts now support Chinese and EMEA requirements.
  • Financials expands horizontal capabilities. Key updates include improved customer contracts, scheduled billing, revenue recognition, and milestone recognition.  New financial reporting features allow cost center and regional managers to run reports.  Users receive new project billing, basic VAT, sales tax, and customer statement capability.
  • Payroll augments existing capability.  New features include new off cycle calculations, worker history enhancements, gross-up, and off cycle billing.  Payroll remains focused on primary processing.  Multiple job processing is not available yet but planned for future releases.
  • Spend management adds a supplier invoice workbench. Additional enhancements span procure to pay, contingent worker procurement, resource tracking, and purchase order review.
  • User experience focuses on role based designs. Worker and talent profiles receive new looks that build off of the design elements in the “All About Me” and “My Team” pages in Release 9.   Multi-currency display for compensation now displays local and preferred currencies.
  • Analytics and reporting simplify data creation and consumption. Simple enhancements such as default values for report inputs, report tags for categorizing and search, and data creation from any source accessible by the user improve the ability to turn data into information.  Export now supports CSV, XML, and GData formats.
  • Ecosystem integration expands to new partners. New linkages include MrTed TalentLink, 15 new providers to the Workday Benefits Network (WBN), and improved integration security in the Enterprise Interface Builder

The Bottom Line – Consider Workday In Shortlists For HCM Upgrade/Replacement And Two Tier ERP

With the bulk of most HCM solutions deployed prior to Y2K, many organizations now actively consider upgrade/replacement strategies.   Most users expect upgrades to result in expensive replacement scenarios.  Hence, organizations must determine whether or not to continue with incumbent vendors or pursue a two-tier ERP apps strategies using SaaS deployment.  For mid-sized to large enterprises, Workday provides a unique option to take a phased approach with HCM and grow into the full suite as the product matures.

Your POV

Are you considering an ERP replacement? Will Workday 10′s new features compel you to migrate from your existing apps?  If you are a Workday customer, how’s your experience been with the SaaS vendor?  Add your comments to the discussion or send on to rwang0 at gmail dot com or r at softwaresinsider dot org and we’ll keep your anonymity. Please let us know if you need help with your apps strategies.  Here’s how we can help:

  • SaaS/Cloud strategies
  • Crafting your next gen apps strategy
  • Short listing and vendor selection
  • Contract negotiations support
  • Market evaluation

Related resources and links

20100316 The Enterprise System Spectator – Frank Scavo “Workday pushing high-end SaaS for the enterprise”

20100324 InformationWeek – Doug Henschen “Workday 10 boosts HR capabilities”

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