Workday steps up its mobile game, bets on HTML5

The biggest bet for Workday 16 revolves around HTML5 and plans to update its mobile presence.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Workday on Thursday launched its Workday 16 update, which makes a big bet on HTML5 for its mobile delivery.

Overall, Workday 16 boasts 127 new features and enhancements and upgrades the user interface. Workday has rolled out Workday 16 to two-thirds of its 280 strong customer base with the final updates this weekend.

The biggest bet for Workday revolves around HTML5. The company added a touch optimized interface at its m.myworkday.com site so it can hit BlackBerry, Symbian, Android and Windows Phone devices.

As for iOS, Workday is keeping its iPhone (right) and iPad apps. Workday for iPhone includes hierarchy navigation tool Organizational Swirl, feeds, time off balances, requests and approvals and analytics. The iPad version of Workday's app delivers real-time feedback.

Workday CTO Stan Swete said that HTML5 allows the company to update its mobile applications as it does its desktop version with three refreshes a year. Smartphones that don't get HTML5 will get Workday's older mobile version. "HTML5 allows us to go cross browser in mobile," said Swete.

The move to HTML5 is primarily focused on mobile apps. On the desktop, Workday uses Adobe's Flash primarily because it's richer. Swete said Workday is taking a "develop and see" approach its desktop adoption of HTML5. "We will increase our development on HTML5," said Swete.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison recently called out Workday for its infrastructure. First, Ellison panned Workday's decision to use its own database technology (not surprising). He also knocked Workday's use of Flash.

He said:

The fact that Workday builds its own database is, I think, one of the two fundamental mistakes that they made. The other fundamental mistake is their UI is all Flash. It’s all Flash UI. Adobe Flash, which is not supported on the iPad and is not supported on the iPhone, and they have begun the process to rewrite completely their UI. They said they built some special stuff for iPad, iPhone, but eventually they’re going to have to move away from Flash to HTML5, I believe. Otherwise they’re going to have to maintain two separate UIs, one for iPads and iPhones and the other for Android and personal computers, which makes no sense.

Workday 16, however, also about the company's core financial and HR tools. Workday 16 includes supplier contract management and tools to highlight existing relationships. New asset management tools will allow assets to be tracked throughout the lifecycle for accounting purposes.

On the human capital management front, Workday added a new on boarding process to automate paperwork and send updates to HR pros. Workday 16 also revamped its compensation management tool.

Workday also touted a new customer win with CEC Entertainment, a family dining chain known for its Chuck E. Cheese restaurants. CEC will use Workday's financial and HR tools for its 17,000 employees. Swete said Workday financials are gaining traction in larger accounts.

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