IBM Inks Dev and Test Cloud Deal With Workday

IBM announced a new cloud deal with Workday to serve as the foundation for Workday's development and test environment.

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IBM is continuing with its strategy to build out its cloud ecosystem by striking deals with industry leading partners such as Workday.

Big Blue on Aug. 15 announced a multi-year partnership with human capital management (HCM) software provider Workday to serve as the foundation of Workday's development and test environment. Moving its development and test environment to the IBM Cloud will give Workday greater flexibility and enable the company to scale its operations. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"IBM and Workday are both delivering transformative applications and services in the cloud," Aneel Bhusri, co-founder and CEO of Workday, said in a statement. "Workday will use IBM Cloud to continue accelerating Workday's internal development and testing efforts to support our ongoing global expansion."

This new agreement is an expansion of an existing partnership between IBM and Workday. Last year, IBM acquired Meteorix, a Workday services partner. That group is now known as Workday Consulting Services.

IBM has nearly 50 cloud data centers in 17 countries on six continents. The company provides a wide range of cloud services, including its advanced analytics offerings, Watson cognitive computing services, Blockchain services and internet of things services. IBM also provides access to its Bluemix platform-as-a-service cloud development environment.

"Leading enterprises like Workday continue to turn to IBM Cloud for its global reach, flexibility and resiliency," Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president of IBM Cloud, said in a statement. "Through a preferred cloud partnership with IBM, Workday can accelerate its innovation efforts to better serve clients around the world."

Bhusri said Workday intends to expand its use of IBM Cloud over time beyond development and testing.

"In a way, the new agreement with Workday is just the sort of partnership that IBM Cloud likes to highlight," Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, told eWEEK. "For one thing, the services start fairly small—supporting development and testing—but [that] suggests that Workday will expand the cloud services it consumes over time. The companies will have seven years to find new ways to work together that benefit both, meaning that the relationship has the time to deepen and evolve."

Meanwhile, on Workday's side, IBM doesn't have any competing ERP solutions of its own and doesn't appear to have any other cloud customers that offer solutions similar to Workday's, King said.

"Given last year's acquisition of Meteorix, it doesn't seem an overstatement to suggest that Workday will find IBM Cloud a highly supportive and comfortable fit for supporting its SaaS development and business offerings," he noted.

In its latest Magic Quadrant ranking from June of this year, Gartner listed Workday as the leader in the HCM market.

"Workday continues to differentiate itself from its enterprise competitors by deploying all of its HCM functionality on a natively developed application with a single security model and user experience," Gartner said in its report.

In addition, "customer satisfaction scores for Workday's overarching product and service criteria—as well as core HR and most TM [talent management] functionality delivered by Workday HCM—are well above average," the Gartner report said.

IBM this year alone has struck cloud deals with partners such as SAP, VMware, SugarCRM, AT&T, CSC, Cisco and others to advance its cloud ecosystem.

IBM expanded partnerships with VMware and SugarCRM and entered into a new partnership with Acxiom around the IBM Cloud. IBM and VMware also announced an expansion of the partnership they initially launched at IBM InterConnect 2016 in February.

The relationship between IBM and VMware enables the companies' enterprise customers to easily extend their existing workloads from on-premise software-defined data centers to the cloud, Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMware, said in a video about the expanded partnership. The expansion comes as the companies are now enabling VMware Horizon Air customers to take advantage of cloud-hosted desktop and application services via the IBM Cloud. Gelsinger said the two companies will offer the VMware Horizon Air Portfolio to enterprises globally in the cloud.

"We've announced a digital workspace cloud service that will help customers and partners transform the way they deliver Windows apps and virtual desktops in the cloud, allowing employees to embrace the business mobility evolution anywhere, anyplace, anytime," he said.