A few weeks ago, I wrote it is “Halftime in Enterprise Technology”
Workday invited a group of analysts and bloggers to their annual Technology Summit, this year in conjunction with their user event, Rising.
To me, the opportunity to mingle with all the development folks I describe below, the 200+ prospects in attendance, and several existing customer executives was a chance to wander the Workday locker room and talk to the players and not just listen to coach rah-rah speeches.
Two common themes from most of the product presentations were how far thinking they were, and also how humble the presenters given many are newly minted multi-millionaires with Workday’s recent IPO
- Mark Nittler gave an overview of the financial modules and talked in terms like “organic multi-dimensionality” where the system evolves to countless tags from traditional coding blocks. He talked about “fabric of control” with a system architected after Sarbannes Oxley and other compliance legislation was enacted. He mentioned events processing (there was another session on the Business Process Framework), collaboration (like field level notes which can be shared across workgroups) , talent driven features (like fully burdened costing). Not your parent’s accounting system by a long shot.
- Joe Korngiebel talked about the intensity mobile development has brought to Workday. The countless devices they need to plan for (and sometimes guess wrong as with the HP TouchPad last year), the discipline the limited mobile real estate forces on an enterprise application, the impatience the mobile user pressures an enterprise app with. Workday was already agile - they have gone through 6 UI evolutions since inception. Mobility increases that speed, and Joe showed off a MS Surface based customized interface in conjunction with Microsoft’s own launch plans
- Jim Holincheck presented an overview of how customers can plan, streamline, overlay their own IT and non-IT projects on Workday’s 3 release a year cycle. That’s saying something given their customers and prospects are coming from a world where upgrades are a dirty word to be reluctantly attempted only every 4-5 years. His team is also building detailed implementation metrics so customers can benchmark themselves and their systems integrators against the 350+ customer pioneer projects.
- Dan Beck presented Workday’s vision of Big Data – business analysts, not data scientists, triangulating data from multiple internal and external sources. He presented a nice demo from one of the “design partners” – AIG’s performance measurement app which brings together Workday employee data, Salesforce.com’s sales data, and claims information from AIG’s internal data.
- Amy Wilson presented a vision of next-gen recruiting that Workday is building – not just applicant tracking, but candidate identification, nurturing to onboarding.
- David Clarke, who joined Workday as part of its Cape Clear acquisition, provided a cameo of the academic and other research the development team is embedding in the Workday architectural backbone. He talked about Merkle tree algorithms, Pixel Perfect Printing, and the Basho Riak key/value store. His session was at the end. I wish he had talked for another 30 minutes about the “art of the possible” Workday is focused on.
My friend Brian Sommer, riffing on my halftime blog, thinks it is Game Over. After spending time at Rising, I am tempted to agree. I am definitely convinced the Workday team is all fired up for the second half. And the bench strength I saw will give them fresh legs and a formidable momentum to carry forward