PeopleSoft founder Dave Duffield is being coy about his new startup, Workday, but some details are starting to leak out. Jeff Nolan, a VC with SAP Ventures, shares some tidbits about the company, which is now slated to launch in April. Here's the WorkDay description from its Web site:
We've taken a revolutionary approach to technology that includes open source, object-oriented techniques, XML, and web services. This next generation approach will result in applications that are highly adaptable, easy to use, and less expensive to deploy and manage. Our focus is to tackle the traditional ERP markets, in a non-traditional way.
Besides the usual buzzwords, notice the inflated terms "revolutionary," "next-generation," and "non-traditional" in the description. That may be how it looks from the view at Workday's Walnut Creek, CA headquarters, but I doubt that the former PeopleSoft nucleus is going to bring about a revolution in enterprise software by doing something "non-traditional." It's already being done by emerging players and smaller startups--such as salesforce.com, NetSuite, Taleo, RightNow, WebEx, SugarCRM, Zimbra and others with Internet service-based approaches to enterprise applications. Their foundations are technologies and concepts such as Web services, XML, Java, multitenancy, standards-based, extensible APIs, AJAX, mashups, multi-platform support, multiple device support, hosted or on premises deployment, easy adminisration, and a fluid user experience. It's not just the technology that is changing, but more importantly the business and development models are changing with subscriptions-based services and open source.
As an indication of specific products, the executive team, which is loaded with several former PeopleSoft execs, includes Karen Beaman, who as vice president and chief HCM (Human Capital Management) strategist will be responsible for the overall strategy for Workday's "new global HCM applications." PeopleSoft got its start with HCM applications. Job listings include HCM product managers and business intelligence tools developers. HCM could be followed by financial applications and supply chain management.