Blogging from Workday Rising: A cloud strategy to go with that blank sheet of paper

October 25, 2011 Appirio

By Shannon Daly

We talk a lot about Workday as a partner, and the impact that Workday is having as a cloud service provider. But this week, at the annual Workday Rising conference, we’re attending as both a partner and a Workday customer.

Being a customer, you tend to ask different questions and pay attention to the keynote and news in a different way. Yes, we were excited about the new funding that Workday received as they go down the path of becoming a public company. Yes, we were thrilled to see lots of new advances in Workday 15 for both HCM and financials (we use both). To elaborate, things like the new integration with Salesforce Chatter, enhanced talent management, more powerful financial reporting and improvements in performance and scalability are exceptionally exciting.

While all these technology advances are great, the question they prompt for us is how can we apply these things in a way that betters our own HR and financial processes versus just doing the same old things more efficiently. After listening to this morning’s keynote, it was clear that the question for all attendees should not be “Can Workday technology execute existing HR processes?”, it is “How should we change our policies before implementing the technology?”

If you’re treating a new system with the same processes as your old one, what can you realistically expect the business benefit to be?

Workday tends to be ahead of existing HR processes in many ways – including some of our own. And that isn’t always a bad thing. We’re finding a number of people here talking about how it’s given them a chance to re-think and re-implement HR processes because their existing processes were too complex and convoluted to be effective.

As Aneel Bhusri put it during this morning’s keynote, “change starts with a blank sheet of paper.” He was talking primarily about the systems of the past, but that sentiment applies to so much more. If that blank sheet of paper is filled up with outdated, ineffective policies and processes, the technology implementation won’t do more than automate a bad process. For real change in the HR world, we need to evolve from our  legacy experiences and start with a blank sheet of paper. Workday didn’t set out to recreate the same old PeopleSoft system in the cloud, they took what they had learned over a few decades and started fresh. We should do the same with our processes.

Some select shots from the Workday Rising day one keynote:

David Duffield @ Workday Rising keynote

Beware the Fake Cloud!

Workday’s evolving partner ecosystem

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