Salesforce.com, Workday forge Chatter alliance: Win-win for both

Workday will be introducing Salesforce.com's Chatter to a bevy of large enterprises.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Salesforce.com and Workday have forged a partnership that is likely to give Chatter a leg up with joint customers and extend the social enterprise tool into larger companies.

Workday co-CEO Aneel Bhusri detailed the alliance with Salesforce.com in an interview. Salesforce.com was one of Workday's earliest customers and Bhusri and Marc Benioff frequently swap notes. Workday is to on-demand HR software what Salesforce.com is to CRM.

The deal, which is more strategic than it appears on the surface, breaks down like this.

  • Workday will port its data and security profiles into Chatter.
  • Chatter will be integrated with Workday's HR apps.
  • Salesforce.com's Force.com platform will be used by Workday so customers can develop custom apps.

Now on the surface, this Workday-Salesforce.com partnership looks run-of-the-mill, but there are some key perks here worth noting.

For starters, Workday caters to large companies with more than 1,500 employees. Workday's largest deployment covers 200,000 employees. The 220 large enterprises that use Workday aren't all joint Salesforce.com customers. In many respects, Workday will be introducing Chatter to a bevy of large enterprises. That entry could lead to other deals for CRM and Salesforce.com's other services.

Keep in mind that Salesforce.com has been targeting larger companies. With Workday's data---HR is essentially a company's social graph---Chatter will have more enterprise heft. While integration with the likes of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are nice real HR data is much better.

Toss in the security policies from Workday and a CFO and a CEO could collaborate on a reorganization plan or key business deal via Chatter. These secure conversations make Chatter more relevant to companies. Let's face it, reorgs aren't something to be blasted around on Chatter.

On the Workday side of the ledger, Bhusri will be able to check social networking and collaboration off his list without spending resources on it. "We want to build a great applications company, but we don't have to build social tools for just the sake of social," said Bhusri. "We just have to interoperate with best-of-breed collaboration." To Bhusri, Chatter, Jive and Yammmer are front of the collaboration class.

As for Force.com, Bhusri said customers will be able to use Salesforce.com's platform to cover various HR idiosyncrasies that Workday doesn't cover. Workday will provide its business objects on Force.com.


Editorial standards