Workday Flexes Cloud App Muscles
While Workday clearly made a name for itself delivering software for managing human resources (HR) departments as a service, the company made it clear that was just an initial beachhead. To that end, Workday branched out into financial applications, a move that was met with some skepticism given the relative strengths of vendors such as SAP and Oracle in the category.
At the Workday Rising 2015 conference this week Workday not only bolstered its HR software-as-a-service (SaaS) portfolio, it also announced that over 150 organizations have committed to using the company’s financial software with 80 of them already live.
Leighanne Levensaler, senior vice president of products at Workday, said the major driver of that financial software adoption has been the fact that Workday SaaS applications all share access to the same customer records. That capability enables a level of collaboration between HR and finance departments that previously would have required major investments in application integration software. Rather than making investments in complicated integration projects, Levensaler said Workday has been enjoying some success in convincing organizations that use its HR software to replace their financial applications.
Line of business (LoB) executives have made it clear they want not only an application environment that is less expensive to maintain, but also more agile. Much of the agility those executives are demanding actually manifests itself in the form of SaaS applications that not only share a common set of application programming interfaces (APIs), but are the same underlying records. The end result is an ability to dynamically create views of data that more closely mirror the way any given organization prefers to actually work.
Workday is not the only SaaS application provider pursuing that particular strategy. Salesforce is working with a number of software partners that have tapped into the customer relationship management (CRM) software it provides as a service. But as Levensaler notes, that approach still requires organizations to negotiate with multiple application vendors.
Of course, for all the focus on financial software HR remains the primary focus of Workday. At Workday Rising this week Workday also unfurled Workday Learning, which among other things will make recommendations to HR professionals concerning where there are significant existing and potential gaps in the workforce. In addition, Adobe Systems and Workday announced an alliance under which e-signature software from Adobe can be applied the Workday HR documents.
All told, Workday is managing to become a force to be reckoned with in the cloud. But like most other cloud applications, Workday software still needs to work with other applications, which is why it supports REST application programming interfaces and has its own enterprise service bus (ESB) platform. At the moment, however, most of the integration opportunity enabled by Workday remains largely limited to application configuration. But that doesn’t mean enterprising service providers are not already programmatically fitting Workday into a pantheon of cloud integration opportunities that now exist all across the cloud.