Workday launches Workday 21, aims to step up user experience

Summary:The human capital management and financial software provider's Workday 21 update is the first with a single code line for development and production environments,

Workday has launched Workday 21, its latest update that revolves around HTML5 over Flash as a design tool, and one code base aimed at minimizing customer disruption with upgrades.

The human capital management and financial software provider's Workday 21 update is the first with a single code line for development and production environments. In a nutshell, customers will get a preview of upcoming features with an option to deploy them before Workday pushes its new twice a year update schedule in April and August. Should a customer not choose to put new features live early Workday will push the upgrade on its release schedule.

Joe Korngiebel, vice president of user experience at Workday, said the main goal of Workday 21 was to create something simple that would carry over to every screen. As for functionality, Workday 21 adds 240 new human resources and finance features. Among the most notable additions:

  • Workday's financial report writer has been merged with its standard report and works across all platforms.
  • Formatting is better with Excel.
  • HR received a bevy of compliance updates.
  • Appreciation and depreciation of assets are easier to group together.
  • Mobile performance reviews are available on the iPad and iPhone.

But the key idea around Workday 21 is that it tries to take visual cues from consumer apps, incorporate more white space and consolidate views.





Among the key points:

  • Workday is completely off of an Adobe Flash stack to one that revolves around HTML5, which has now progressed to the point where it can replace Flash. "Flash gave us consistency across any browser and was an equalizer," said Korngiebel, referring to why Workday didn't move to HTML5 sooner. "In the early days, HTML5 was hard to render well on older browsers." Now HTML5 works even on some older browsers that may be inside companies.
  • The company is actively hiring young designers and 25 percent of the workforce on development is under 25. "There shouldn't be a line between Amazon, LinkedIn and a work app," said Korngiebel.
  • Workday is trying to create one experience across end users, who will likely be using mobile device, tablets, which are preferred by managers, and back office workers on desktops.
  • Native apps are still necessary. Despite the gains of responsive designs and HTML5, Korngiebel noted that "a native app will still give you a better experience." HTML5 may be two or three years out from replicating the animation, menu and navigation tricks in iOS and Android apps.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Cloud


Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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