Workday Technology Briefing - part 1

Workday is opening up to a tough crowd of industry analysts. Here are the morning's highlights from this briefing.
Written by Brian Sommer, Contributor

20 industry analysts/pundits were invited today to a special technology briefing by Workday. Herewith are my highlights from the morning half of this event:

- The Workday target customer is clearly the SAP and Oracle install base. Workday is targeting large enterprises with its SaaS, multi-tenant products. Aneel Bhusri, the Co-CEO of Workday, intimated that the gloves will be coming off as early as next month. Specifically, Workday sees the ‘cloud’ messages of many ERP vendors to be confusing to the marketplace. Frankly, I’d agree that there’s a lot of confusion out there so much so that I coined a term months ago in a blog: SaaS-querade.

- Workday will not be delivering a PaaS (platform-as-a-Service) that customers or integrators will be able to use to develop complementary applications. Workday appears to be quite comfortable as an applications vendor and not a platform provider. Note that Workday has a close relationship with Salesforce.com (specifically with its CRM cloud app) and its founder Marc Benioff. It appears that Workday will not develop its own CRM solution.

- Workday will not be going into the manufacturing applications software space for the foreseeable future. Aneel indicated that this was a challenge when he was at PeopleSoft and wouldn’t rush to repeat this at Workday.

- Workday is contractually obligated to bring an additional cloud center up by the first of the year. They currently have one center today and a recovery center.

- Workday will likely enter Australia later in 2010. The next expansion wave will likely occur in Japan, Korea, Germany, France, Scandinavia and India. The key to opening new markets will the presence of large numbers of Multi-National Companies (MNCs) within a geography.

- The company has just closed its first higher-education client.

- Workday execs indicated the firm has seen a new level of interest from systems integrators. Three of the world’s largest integrators have recently seen their proposals to implement on-premise ERP solutions fail to win with clients. Clients want new methods, new approaches, lower cost implementations, etc. SaaS solutions will require systems integrators to re-invent themselves in the age of the cloud and multi-tenancy. Two of the three referenced integrators have apparently seen the light and are discussing new relationships with Workday.

- Workday has come close to developing a couple of SaaS BPO deals with third parties.

More later.

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