Workday Rising 2011: Workday Rings On-premise ERP’s Bell

October 26, 2011 Appirio

By Balakrishna Narasimhan

With Workday’s latest round of funding and their $2B+ valuation, not to mention their 200+ large enterprise customers, there’s no question that they are one of the pillars of enterprise cloud computing, along with Salesforce, Google and Amazon Web Services. So, we wanted to take a bit of time to reflect on what Workday’s announcements at Rising mean for CIOs.

Workday’s announcements fell into four broad themes:

1. Workday is the center of a new ISV ecosystem: Workday announced new partnerships with Salesforce (for extensions using and social collaboration using Chatter), with Zuora (for integrated subscription billing), with Cornerstone (for integrated learning), and Tidemark (for enterprise performance management). Workday’s partnerships make it clear that while their focus is on core HR and financial management, they want to build out a full featured offering that goes far beyond traditional systems. With today’s cloud platforms, user-centric integrations that bring together relevant information from across SaaS applications can create a far more cohesive user experience than traditional “integrated” apps or suites. In essence, Workday and their ecosystem of cloud ISVs will be able to create a next-gen ERP suite that’s both richer and more usable than traditional application suites.

2. Workday is social and mobile: Workday 15 is integrated with Salesforce Chatter for alerts, transactions, approvals and more, something they announced just a few months ago at Dreamforce. This means that the HR processes that have historically been structured and locked down can become social while still being secure. Workday also showed off their great iPad application which makes it easy for executives to use Workday. With social and mobile integrated as part of core business processes, Workday is showing the way to a new type of ERP system that executives actually rely on for insight as opposed to a pure system of record for book-keeping or administration.

3. Workday is becoming a transaction engine: Workday has changed their core OMS (object management services) to take advantage of grid processing for transaction intensive processes such as payroll. In addition, they’re making elastic compute power available to run customer developed integrations in their Workday Studio integration cloud. This transformation of the core of their platform provides a great clue about where they’re headed. This is not just about being able to handle large payroll transactions but about being able to report on large volumes of financial and HR data at high speeds.

4. Workday is more than ready for the enterprise: Serving more than 238 enterprise customers and 2m employees at 95%+ satisfaction rates, there’s no question that Workday’s solution is enterprise ready. But with today’s announcement that they’ll be able to run 100,000 worker payrolls, they’re announcing that they’re gunning for the world’s largest companies.

What this means for CIOs is that there’s now little holding you back from bringing the innovation and agility of the cloud to the core of your businesses. Traditional ERP was built on yesterday’s technology platforms, designed for yesterday’s devices and optimized for yesterday’s widget-centric business processes. Workday is showing the way to a new type of ERP that’s optimized for your employees. Companies that adopt Workday’s applications can not only reduce costs and increase agility but will have far greater insight into their most critical asset, their people. We’re amazed at what Workday’s done in the past five years and can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next five!

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