Being that Workday is announcing their Fall 2008 update today, I figured it was a s good a time as any to get this site back up and running again. As probably the most hyped vendor in the HR space this year, they have still had impressive growth with 67 current total clients and 35 live clients. They only have 4 clients on financials, but given how difficult it is for companies to move financials in the current strict regulatory environment, the rapid expansion in HR and less rapid sales for financials is not a surprise. The large majority of these are on core HR and benefits, but there are a couple on payroll as well. They also have a couple on Workday payroll, even with vendors such as ADP as partners.
The last year saw some surprises in the market. The signing of Flextronics (a 200k employee global company) in San Jose was a steal from the grasp of SAP, and a much larger deal than anyone realized Workday was going for at the time. While perhaps Workday would not mind more of the Fortune 500 in their list of clients, singing these contracts is quite costly, and few and far between. Workday has still expressed that their core sweet spot will be between 5-25k employees from a marketing perspective, and I’ll wait to see how Flex goes before pronouncing that their large employer, global capabilities are really executable. Please don’t call me cynical – after all, neither SAP or Oracle have really pulled off the global HR application yet either. I’ve written before about Worday’s revisioning of the organization structure and its support of the matrix organization. I’ll look to this revisioning of organization to help facilitate the potential of a single global database for an employer.
So what’s in the new release? Well, overall, it’s a further expansion of their overall plan which rests its foundation on SaaS delivery and Web 2.0 architecture. Their value proposition (in addition to their delivery platform) still is that their approach to HCM is more business centric than their competitors. The first major component is a build-in BI (business intelligence) tool based on their belief that their HCM application should be a storage point for all employee data. While they resist any implication that their HCM could be used as a fully deployed data warehouse, I assume that they have semi-engineered the table structures to accommodate multi-dimensional reporting without having to use a separate data warehouse application. Regardless of how they have done it, it seems that integrated BI is made quite a bit easier with SaaS deployments, and this seems to follow in the footsteps of what many talent management vendors are also putting together.
The second piece is the worker spend functionality. The ability to report on employee costs outside of total compensation which is not dependent on the availability of a financials implementation. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know enough about this module, but I’m envisioning some sort of manager self service combined with shopping cart functionality that has costs rolling through based on the dynamic org structures. I’ll believe it when I see it, but it sounds cool.
The excitement that Workday has generated over the last 2 years has been extraordinary, and not having to carry the baggage of legacy coding is certainly an advantage. So far, quality seems to be good, and their ability to innovate in the development process is better than average. I’ll continue to keep my eye on them in 2009.
For the time being, I’m going to continue my siesta, so have a great holiday season and I’ll look forward to writing in 2009.