WORKDAY: The Enterprise Cloud of Choice for HR and Finance

Durgesh Prakash & Sagaya Christuraj
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Durgesh Prakash & Sagaya Christuraj
The 2012 saw one of the most hyped IPOs in the U.S. i.e., Facebook's IPO. While the media went gaga, reporting and speculating every aspect related to Facebook's big day, the ultimate result was rather disappointing as the company's shares went plummeting down. The same year saw strong shares like Zynga and Groupon take a hit as well. It was safe to assume that 2012 was not a very forgiving year for tech companies. But away from all this media frenzy, there was another company that was steadily moving towards going public. Workday debuted on NYSE in October, 2012 with an initial offer at $28 per share. The Human Capital Management and Financial Management Cloud software company raised approximately $628 million in the offering and was valued at a whopping $4 billion, making it one of the most successful tech IPOs of the year. Today the company's shares are at an all time high. Workday has also attracted a list of more than 230 prestigious companies across eight industries include manufacturing, healthcare, financial services, retail and hospitality, technology, education amongst others.
This feat only illustrates the fact that Workday as a company commands immense respect from the industry owing to two distinct factors; its impressive technology proposition of delivering human capital management, financial management, and analytics applications and the enviable founding team. Headed by Aneel Bhasri, Chairman and Co-CEO along with Dave Duffield, Co-CEO who are seasoned industry veterans, the duo identified a big gaping hole in the HRM industry and went on to device an all encompassing cloud based solution to solve it. But the story of how the company got to its current position is one that makes heads turn around very often.

Emerging From Shambles
The gentlemen who have found so much success with their revolutionary handiwork had more than their fair share of meanders. Until 2004, Aneel, and his billionaire partner Dave who also shares a similar position had a great run at PeopleSoft, which was a company that provided Human Resource Management Systems, Financial Management Solutions, Supply Chain Management, Customer Relationship Management, and Enterprise Performance solutions amongst others. But the software giant Oracle had plans to spoil their party. It required an antidote, from the two gentlemen and their crew even to attempt to free itself from what was going to be a hostile acquisition from the tech giant in 2004. After a titanic struggle from the two valiant men, a bid of $10.3 billion from Oracle acquired PeopleSoft and resulted in cutting off 6,000 of its employees out of the total 11,000. Adding salt to the wound was the fact that the rest of the board members had surrendered. This left a dejected Aneel and Dave licking their wounds.
But just when the whole world thought the story was over and that both Dave and Aneel had been sent packing for good, the men surprised the cynics by resurfacing in 2005, and they resurfaced with a bang. Using their own money, a reported ten million dollars, out of the $600 million Dave received from the buyouts, and additional funding from Greylock and Aneel himself, they began their new venture, Workday.

The Mantra for Customer Attraction and Retention
Most often Enterprise applications being used today are not built for today's dynamic business environment as they rely on a static and aging data model that was developed more than ten years ago. They are rigid, inflexible, and built with yesterday's technology. Enterprises are looking for a solution that can provide on-demand, hosted enterprise applications with native components that deal with governance, compliance, legislative and reporting tasks to these firms. Also in an enterprise people and money spend a lot of time together as people drive financial performance, and financial goals drive people performance. The tech duo realized that there was no reason why enterprise would you run separate systems for HR and Finance since the two functions were counterintuitive. Aneel and Dave understood that enterprises required a solution that unified all these applications into one seamless system.
Workday through its Human Capital Management (HCM), financial management, payroll and worker spend management is raising the bar on employee life-cycle productivity by reducing the IT costs through its radical SaaS model.

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