In a nod to the growing need for businesses to deploy applications that go wherever their work forces go, Workday will roll out a version of its human capital management software for PDAs and other mobile devices sometime in 2009.
During a visit to Workday's offices in Walnut Creek, Calif., Aneel Bhusri, the president of the company, told me that the most likely feature sets to be included in mobile deployments would be expense reports and hiring and termination of employees.
Workday will be able to accomplish this thanks to its underlying Web-services-based architecture, which separates application logic from user interface, and provides yet another example of the benefits of on-demand software over on-premises systems.
Bhusri and Workday co-founder Dave Duffield, the founder and former CEO of PeopleSoft, also told me that they are actively working on plans to integrate social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn in certain pages of the HCM application.
Bhusri said customers see potential value in these tools, but he doesn't think Workday should build them. "The best thing we can do is integrate with them," he told me.
"Trying to replicate that in a system is a bad idea," Bhusri added.
But what about a company like IBM, which is re-creating those tools for use behind the firewall?
"IBM will fail," Bhusri said.
Why? Because social networks are something people adopt on their own, not because of management fiat, both Duffield and Bhusri explained.