Revving the UI More Frequently
Workday has also brought in former employees of Adobe Systems, Intuit and eBay as UI experts. Duffield praised Bhusri for emphasizing the need for a very consumer-like interface that allows Workday to develop functions for line-of-business managers and employee self-service as well as for power users.Not only does the architecture underlying Workday apps allow the company to plan for mobile deployments and integrate with social networks, it allows integration with third-party providers like benefits networks. That is one reason that Workday decided to acquire Cape Clear in February 2008. Cape Clear provides Workday with an enterprise service bus that allows the application to integrate with legacy on-premises systems such as systems by SAP. Bhusri said Workday acquired Cape Clear rather than simply maintaining a strategic alliance because the acquisition gives Workday access to people with a particular skill set. "We got 30 people that are pioneers in integration," he said. The advantage to customers is pretty straightforward. Dana Gardner wrote in his blog: "In effect, Workday is expanding its role to not only provide business applications, but to assume the functions of integrating those applications with a client's existing and future environments." This is a sea change from the days when vendors of on-premises products dumped software on their customers, blamed consultants when integrations didn't work as planned and demanded their yearly maintenance checks. As Duffield told me, "That world was synonymous with finger-pointing. Here it's pretty clear" where the finger should be pointing if anything goes wrong.
Duffield said that while application logic only changes every 10 to 15 years, UI logic changes much more often, on a 3 to 5 year cycle. He said the current interface is based on Adobe Flex and Air, but said if Silverlight continues to gain traction in the market, Workday will release a new UI based on that technology.