The Dave Factor
Quite different from ERP The way Workday identifies information in its software is by using the very Web 2.0 concept of tagging, letting different parts of the organization can tag events as they see fit. Workday takes things a step further by building native BI and governance capabilities into the worktags, functionality that provides the tags with agility and control.Regardiing financials, Nittler said the Workday platform covers three areas finance needs: ERP transaction processing, BI and governance, and risk and control. But, according to Joshua Greenbaum, principal of Enterprise Applications Consulting, Workday is pitching potentially revolutionary ideas to a fairly conservative bunch. "At the end of the day, particularly when it comes to CFOs and controllers, cool technologyeven as significant as model-driven [technology]isnt whats going to sell," Greenbaum said. "It has to be reliable; the kind of thing you bet the company on. Fundamentally, you still have to talk about functionality, and it has to be very, very market-leading to be fundamentally different." The Dave factor Its no secret that Workday, as a relative startup with really only an HCM suite under its belt, has received the attention that it has because of its founder, Duffield, the touchy-feely leader of PeopleSoft who started an animal shelter after his retirement in 1999. Because of Duffields influence, Workday has been able to attract a fairly impressive talent pool: About 80 percent of the companys employees are former PeopleSofters. "Workday has two things going for it. One is that they [offer the] on-demand idea with ERP. The jurys still out on that; no ones made a real effort," said Paul Greenberg, president of IT research company The 56 Group. "The other thing that distinguishes them is they are PeopleSoft on demand. Thats not a small thing. Dave Duffields reputation has a lot to do with [Workdays] visibility." While the actual uptick for Workdays software has been slow, according to AMRs Richardson, the company has several high-profile customers displayed prominently on its Web site. Those include Salesforce.com, the standard-bearer for on-demand CRM software, and RightNow Technologies, another on-demand company that provides what it refers to as Customer Experience Management software. Those two customers were not available for comment to the press, according to Workdays public relations department. While Duffields reputation has carried the company thus far, it remains to be seen if it will be enough to propel the company into the ranks of true competitors with the likes of SAP, Oracle and MicrosoftERP giants that are each working on their own on-demand initiatives. "Workday is not a slam-dunk despite their stellar team," Greenbaum said. "With all due respect to Dave Duffield, his last great play was last century. Under Dave Duffield in 1999, PeopleSoft started to drift." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.
The idea, essentially, is that Workday builds its software around events, not processes, with workers as part of the system, according to Nittler. "We can connect workers to events and provide much better controls in the platform," he said.