Workday Sweet Spot & Alternative Solutions
Though initially targeted at organizations with 1K-5K workers, Workday's current focus is on enterprises with 1,000+ employees. Needless to say, this greatly expands the possibilities for current customers and gives some clue in why the range of Workday's current customers extends from mid-size companies with 200+ employees to global corporations with 200,000 or more employees. While Workday customer size varies greatly, the bulk of customers come from the verticals of Financial Services, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Services, and Technology.
Workday marquis customers include Facebook, Salesforce.com, Kimberly Clark, Flextronics-the largest (200K employees) single deployment of a global HR system of record delivered via SaaS, Time Warner, Thomson Reuters and Chiquita.
Short list Workday when:
- You are a large multinational enterprise facing a major upgrade and looking for a viable SaaS or cloud alternative to your ERP-based HRMS.
- You are an enterprise that has yet to implement a wide-scale ERP system, and do not require traditional ERP suites such as supply chain management or manufacturing.
- You are a midsize organization that is looking for an HRMS as well as specific additional capabilities outside of Human Capital Management (HCM)—especially financials and spend management.
- You are a global company that is comfortable with the adoption of new cloud technologies, and see the flexibility and "on-the-fly" re-organization capabilities of Workday's SaaS offerings as a serious need rather than just an added benefit.
HRMS buyers may be best advised to consider alternative products when:
- Seeking ownership and/or control of the application software through an on-premise deployment.
- System flexibility and end-user leverage is not a priority.
- Your workforce is largely contingent and contract management/compliance is of greater importance.
- You require a broad ERP software suite and seek a (vendor managed) fully-integrated solution and single-vendor relationship.
In large part because of the market that Workday caters to, the company's main ERP competitors are SAP, Oracle and Infor. Within the HCM software space, however, Workday also competes against all of the larger HRIS/ HRMS solutions, such as Ceridian and Ultimate Software, and now with the latest acquisition from SAP, SuccessFactors.
HCM functionality wise…
- Within the Talent Management software space, Workday's primary competitor is SuccessFactors. Likewise, within the Performance Management software space, SuccessFactors has the most complete SaaS products on the market to date.
- Within the Learning Management software space, Saba is best positioned as the primary competitor to Workday. Saba also performs well in the Social Platform space; however, Workday's integration partnership with Salesforce's Chatter and Force.com is a step in the right direction.
- Within the Talent Acquisition (Recruitment) software space, Taleo is Workday's primary competition.
Workday also faces stiff competition from equally agile Unit4's Agresso offering thanks to Agresso's avoidance of similar relational database issues. Further, Agresso is well-established within the higher education and public sector verticals, of which Workday has already outlined strategies to pursue.
Few pundits disagree that Workday's technology is a competitive differentiator that separates the company from on-premise ERP systems and most if not all SaaS solutions. In fact, Gartner is cited as saying "[Workday's technology] enables [the company] to develop quickly, while maintaining high quality, and provides significant reuse within the application (for example, faceted search, mobile, integration tools and embedded analytics)". Indeed, Workday has brought a set of solutions to the Human Capital Management (HCM) market that are as impressive as they are innovative. And though the company has only been in operations for a short period of time (and is younger than Facebook!), the flexibility and functionality that has been shown thus far appears to be well on its way to directly competing with the largest ERP software companies in the business. Indeed, thanks to the architecture that has been built, the solution can compete far outside of the HRMS arena, and has already gotten a solid footing on the administrative side of the ERP market.
However, as Workday grows, perhaps it faces no bigger challenge than making organizations realize that their existing legacy software should be "ripped and replaced". Countless organizations that run outdated business software have gotten used to having software that is sub-par but still works, and it will take a healthy amount of convincing to change that. As such, Workday has to stay on message about how the architecture sets up organizational success; how embedded analytics increase organizational agility; and how Software-as-a-Service is rapidly becoming an industry best practice rather than the flash-in-the-pan many once thought it to be.