Workday CTO: Cloud integration the Holy Grail, a current hurdle for skeptics

Workday CTO: Cloud integration the Holy Grail, a current hurdle for skeptics

Summary: Workday CTO Stan Swete said that chief information officers remain wary about the integration of on-demand software with their legacy applications, but as more cloud services are launched the worries should fade away.Swete, speaking at the Goldman Sachs Techtonics conference this week, was on a panel with Adobe's Omniture, Telio and others talking cloud computing.

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TOPICS: CXO, Cloud, Oracle
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Workday CTO Stan Swete said that chief information officers remain wary about the integration of on-demand software with their legacy applications, but as more cloud services are launched the worries should fade away.

Swete, speaking at the Goldman Sachs Techtonics conference this week, was on a panel with Adobe's Omniture, Telio and others talking cloud computing. Workday makes on-demand human resources, spend management and financial software.

According to Swete, the biggest issues to hurdle for CIOs are the following:

  • Security: That's a worry for CIOs, but they are getting over security worries as long as you meet their checklist.
  • Configurability: Customization matters to CIOs given their enterprise apps are all custom.
  • Control: Can a customer tweak governance and other items on the fly.
  • And integration, a hurdle Swete said Workday discusses "in all of our conversations."

That integration point is worth breaking out given there are going to be more hybrid SaaS and on-premise approaches. Here's what Swete said:

You're in the cloud. Doesn't that make you more of a black box that's harder for me to talk to? We sell -- and Workday has taken the path of replacing core solutions that are typically integrated to lots of other solutions, both in the cloud and on-premise for our customers. And we have to be able to have a good story about how we can provide integration infrastructure above and beyond our applications.

But that is a real challenge. It's not obvious to most customers that it is possible to integrate well with cloud-based solutions. We believe it is possible. We actually think one of the great futures for a cloud is when you get more solutions that are in the cloud. I think the cloud integration will be an even increased benefit as opposed to a challenge.

But, right now, integration is definitely a hurdle that we discuss in all of our conversations. And we have to talk a lot about commitment to an infrastructure and tooling that lets them get integration achieved to our cloud-based solutions.

Now this integration worry may not apply to all SaaS players, but Workday targets companies with more than 1,000 employees. These companies---especially with more than 5,000 employees---have forked over millions on ERP and financial upgrades and don't want to do the same for HR apps.

In other words, integration matters for these customers. Given that fact, it's no secret that everyone from Oracle to SAP and Infor are talking about cloud extensions and easier integration with their on-premise apps.

Topics: CXO, Cloud, Oracle

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  • I really dislike the verbiarge ...

    I'm beginning to become pretty PO'd over the word "Cloud". It's nothing but a marketing ploy to define a server cluster with a new feature though it's still very simllar to a smiple server farm with a new front end. "Cloud" makes it feel new, unique, and something they can call "better". It's no more secure than a backup server farm ($$), slow as your internet connection dictates ($$), a maintenance nightmare the user is completely unaware of yet, or at least I think am, and many other so far hidden costs and problems. <br> The biggest difference I can see between the cloud use and a backup use is you don't have to monitor backup use & the time can be used for other things, but for the "cloud", you're wating for EVERY keystroke to be ack'd or nack'd in a sense. You would easily end up being 20 pages into a largish document when all of a sudden you discover the "cloud" only contains 15 of those pages so far! What do you do then, if the data isn't kep on your local machine? What if something in the back end of the cloud isn't working at all. On your local machine, you'd know that. WILL you know that on a cloud? How? When?<br><br>Everyone jumps on the very important upper level possiblities, but no one I've seen yet has addressed the actual operation vs the user doing say a receipts receivable report from cloud-stored DBs and the like. I saw ONE chart representation of the operations but it was so vague that it was nothing to do wth how security/problems at either end are handled. And yet we have a bunch of people beginning to use the "clouds". I am "scared" for them, if the word fits anywhere at all. They've apparently bought the hype, but do they know what they are actually paying for beyond the higher level purposes of the "cloud" and all if its undefined possibilties? <br><br>And finally, I just have to add that, anyone who promises 100% security is another one to be "scared of"! Anyone promising 100% security is lying, ignorant, or has the wrong people beneath him. What do you want to bet it won't be long before there are a bunch of new "security" insurances sold just to protect against a "cloud" loss? I've never seen anything to assure me that clouns were NOT single-sourced, either. Can you move account/s on X to Y like you would transfer a web site? I very, very seriously doubt it. <br><br>I freely admit that I am no expert on any of this. My information comes from reading articles, mostly here, white papers and submissios to attempt to join a "cloud". Even after delivering your first-born child to them, they still make sure they part with nothing concerning most of the above issues, hiding behind "propriatary" and "confidential" in two cases, black-holng in another, and a three-week delay at another, in order to check my credit ratings. When I said I thought that was a good idea, I should check their credit rating too, the phone conversation came to an abrupt end and the e-mail inquiry was responded to vague and silly verbosity designed to be a challenge to read which in effect mentioned my credit rating in an "other sundries such as" comment. Oh; did I mention one wanted a valid birth certificate? I forget which one right now. <br> Maybe it was just the roll of the dice for the kinds of greetings I received as described above, but I think not. If/when I'm shown to be wrong I'll freely admit it and change my tune here and other places. I will not say who owned these "clouds" because if/when I'm proven wrong, I want to see if any are the ones I've researched so far. <br> Sorry for the verbosity that happened here; I have to keep myslef in check to keep from writing a book on this particular subject. <br> Why am I interested? The initial hype was good marketing and some number of followers seemed to agree with the hype, but as I started to research, it became worse each time for large corps and mom&pops both.
    anonymous
  • RE: Workday CTO: Cloud integration the Holy Grail, a current hurdle for skeptics

    Good points by Stan. In a recent of survey of the 150 enterprises that are already using Cloud Apps, we found that integration to on-premise applications and to other cloud applications comes up as a key priority for improving cloud applications (more here http://thecloud.appirio.com/StateofthePublicCloudWhitepaper1.html). Having worked with lots of companies to address this very issue, we believe that cloud integration is a much more solvable problem since cloud application APIs are stable and supported in perpetuity. So unlike in the on-premise world, once you build an integration between two cloud applications, it should work forever. This opens the door to packaged and much deeper integrations. The problem in the industry right now is just that it's very early and the tools and standards are just being developed. But, I for am convinced that we'll end up in a much better spot than the on-premise integration nightmares many find themselves saddled with.
    BNara
  • RE: Workday CTO: Cloud integration the Holy Grail, a current hurdle for skeptics

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