Mark Smith's Analyst Perspectives

Workday 16 Brings Simplicity and Mobility to Human Capital Management

Posted by Mark Smith on May 4, 2012 10:22:06 AM

Competition in the human capital management market rages on, with application suppliers racing to provide sophisticated applications that operate in the cloud. Cloud computing is a key factor in advancing human capital management, included in our research agenda for this area, along with analytics, collaboration, mobility and social media.

Workday recently unveiled version 16 of its suite of applications for financial managementhuman capital management and other areas, including payroll, project management and spend management. Key advancements in the software include Workday for Mobile, which brings a new look and feel, native support of the Apple iPhone and iPad and a new HTML5 version that can work on Apple and Android-based mobile platforms. Unlike most application providers, which have picked either native or Web-based versions, Workday decided to support both approaches. The Web-based version works on the RIM and Microsoft mobile platforms as well, even though they have smaller and declining market shares. Workday 16 supports many of the capabilities you would expect to find in a workforce management product, including time and attendance and also organizational chart capabilities. On tablets it creates a series of application workflows called work feeds for areas including performance management and collaboration using analytics and metrics to help managers assess the performance of their teams. These work feeds are supported by a visual workflow designer that can help users adapt the applications to their organization’s business processes. The well-designed applications feature usability and simplicity, and are well worth the time to evaluate.

In human capital management, Workday provides improvements to the onboarding process and support for automating the population of I-9 and benefits forms. It also has made the employee and manager work environments simpler to engage with on a daily basis. For compensation, it can allocate a pool of funds to be used in merit increases as part of the performance appraisal and recommendation processes. Compensation management is an area that Workday will need to continue to improve upon, as is support for modeling and planning across all types of workers in an organization and our benchmark on total compensation management finds an expanding set of needs. The software’s payroll capabilities can support more than 100,000 workers, a level of processing that enables Workday to provide very large employers with its processing capabilities.

Workday had been partnering with Taleo to accelerate its investments in recruiting and bringing both internal and social media sources to bear on optimizing the talent pool. Our recent social recruiting benchmark research shows that HR is expanding its reach to social sources like LinkedIn and Facebook. Recruiting talent is half of retaining talent, and both of these are key business priorities. Workday will need to explore other partnerships to provide a more complete solution in the short term while it determines a longer term strategic approach.

Workday faces heightened competition from other human capital management application providers who provide core HRMS, talent management and workforce management like Sum Total Systems along with Oracle and SAP, which have made large, expensive acquisitions to address gaps in their human capital management application suites. Oracle recently acquired Taleo. While Oracle continues to have its executives make snide comments about Workday that are easily refuted, Oracle has its own challenges in the adoption rate and readiness of its public cloud offering, as I have written (see “Workday Rising while Oracle Sleeps in the Clouds”). SAP, also feeling pressure to advance in cloud computing, acquired SuccessFactors and is integrating those product offerings with its own existing cloud and on-premises applications.

Workday is now a force to be reckoned with in human capital management. Its continuous quarterly releases of new capabilities have enabled it to quickly improve its application suite. The company could grow even faster if it would make its mobile demonstrations freely available so anyone can appreciate the capabilities that I have seen through its demonstrations. If you wonder what the next generation of human capital management is shaping up to be, look at what Workday 16 is delivering today.


Mark Smith – CEO & Chief Research Officer

Topics: SAP, Social Media, Sustainability, Human Capital Management, LMS, Performance, Recruiting, Research, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Mobility, Oracle, Business Performance Management (BPM), Compensation, Financial Performance Management (FPM), HR, HRMS, Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Talent Management, Workday, Workforce Analytics, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Mark Smith

Written by Mark Smith

Mark is responsible for the overall direction of Ventana Research and drives the global research agenda covering both business and technology areas. He defined the blueprint for Information Management and Performance Management as the linking together of people, processes, information and technology across organizations to drive effective results. Mark is an expert in technology for business from Performance Management, Business Intelligence, Analytics to Information Management across finance, operations and IT. Mark has held CMO, product development and research roles at companies such as SAP, META Group, Oracle and IRI Software. He has experience across major industries including banking, consumer products, food and beverage, insurance, manufacturing, pharmaceutical and retail and consumer services.