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By eweek  |  Posted 2007-11-21 Print this article Print

What about conversations around service-level agreements? Does that come up with customers, and what are you offering in your contract? Bhusri: It does come up, and we do have an SLA. Right now, were at five nines [99.999 percent guaranteed uptime]. Weve only had one problem, and that was one outage for about an hour. It wasnt our issue; it was the data center issue. And that was very early on when we only had one data center. Now we have three. There was a power failure, and we had to get it up and running, but basically we havent had any issues in a year. …
People put an enormous amount of trust in us. We have to earn that trust and make sure we never give them reasons to not trust us. That is the basis of software on demand—that you absolutely trust your providers to do the right thing, and if you ever break that trust, for some companies it could be the end of the company.
What is your strategy in terms of beating Oracle and SAP, and do you think those are the guys to beat? Duffield: Yes, they are. The kinds of customers were striving for—big companies—theyre the very ones Oracle is courting. Its the thing that [motivates] us with on demand. We have this great graph of how were going up-market and SAP is going down-market and eventually coming back up with its on-demand solution. So, with Chiquita looking for an on-demand solution, theres not much to choose from out there, other than us and some smaller companies. And it will be that way in accounting as well. So thats a big differentiator. The other is the fact we have a reputation for delivering what we promise and trying hard to do the right thing, making [customers] jobs easier through software products. Do you plan to personally finance Workday until you make a profit, or will you look outward for financing? Duffield: We havent done any serious thinking, but going public is a rite of passage. It gives another dimension to your company, a very positive one. Its a good thing—not for me, necessarily, but for the employees and early customers. Thats one of the first questions they ask: When can I buy some Workday stock? That happened at PeopleSoft, and a lot of people made some good money. What is the time frame for an IPO? Bhusri: I would say 2010 would be the first time we start thinking about it. We have a lot of growth and a lot of things to do before going public, and a lot of those things have to happen before we even have a chance. Duffield: We wont go public because we need money. Well go public because its a good thing from the perspective of larger customers. Its the financing [questions that they ask]: Are you going to be here? Its nice to not have to worry about that—where they can look at the balance sheet and feel pretty good. Youve both been in the industry for such a long time. What is the biggest shift youve seen? Is it software as a service? Duffield: Its changing all the time. There are certain points where various technologies combine to offer a new … I hate to use the "paradigm" word, but its not just one technology—its a bunch. It happened with client/server. We were successful [at PeopleSoft] because we were at that transition point where Windows was just coming out, SQL was just becoming popular standard, PCs were proliferating. You put them all together, and youve got a dramatic new technology. Those things are happening today with Web services, object orientation, in-memory databases, the enormous growth in size in the small computer. You put all those together and you have something dramatic. Its just not one thing. Its what I really look forward to—being able to dramatically change things. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.


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