Howard Street in San Francisco on Tuesday morning looked different. The tarmac was visible and cars were actually using it. Outside Moscone Center, a local folk rock band, Blind Willies was playing. Excellent, but nowhere near the brand recognition of say, Aerosmtih or Will.i.am. Inside Moscone, the rooms had plenty of empty seats.
Welcome to Workday Rising. It was tough to miss how low-key this event was compared to Dreamforce and Oracle OpenWorld over the last few weeks.
The energy was all in the customer interaction.
An executive from Equifax gushed about the bi-annual upgrade process - how painless it is and just as importantly the comfort he got from the fact that his peers were testing the same release at the same time, and how he could benefit from the wisdom of that crowd. He echoed a phrase co-founder Dave Duffield likes to use - “The Power of One” as in having a consistent release across the customer base
An executive from HP described their HCM project which touches over 300,000 employees across the world. He described delivering that in just 14 months as the equivalent of “winning the Super Bowl”. He said he is now looking to a similar victory on a just-as-complex project as HP moves to split itself in two.
Stan Swete, CTO told analysts a few weeks ago “Customers don’t want to be bothered with the details of the infrastructure used to support their operations, but they do want the assurance that their vendor will be able to evolve and not get stuck on outdated technologies.” At Rising, Aneel Bhusri reported 99.95% uptime – deliver that and most customers will not want to be bothered with details of the infrastructure.
A customer described their relationship with Workday as “vivacious”. Have you ever heard someone describe their enterprise software vendor that way? It shows in the 97% favorable customer rating Bhusri shared with the audience.
Chapter 1 of my book on the SAP economy begins on February 23, 2008. It says “When the history of technology is written, it will, however, honor the 54th day in 2008 for a meeting which would change the trajectory of enterprise computing.”. My book will be out in a month and you can see what I mean but let me just say it has something to do with a large, early Workday customer. As I walked out of Moscone this week, I was thinking of a comment Dan Beck made in a one-on-one. He leads the Data Science team and presented on a series of Insight Apps (like on Retention Risk and Collection Scorecards) in the morning. He said a customer approached him afterwards and told him what he saw got him as excited as their early experience with cloud computing at Workday.
I am fairly confident that will be more fodder for another book in a few years. Low-key conferences are just fine.