Workday customers say one of the biggest advantages of updates (over upgrades) is the continuous innovations in features and functionality—approximately 100 significant new features with each update and hundreds of minor enhancements—that can be adopted (or not) based on their own timetables. What's more, Workday stays ahead of what's needed to adapt to frequently changing employment laws and regulations, and ensures that its updates allow for compliance with those changes. Workday 13, for example, allowed customers to quickly respond to new U.S. healthcare regulations and global personnel data changes.
In Workday 12, Commerce Bank was able to utilize a feature that provided special access to its HCM system by former employees so they could get information about any post-employment benefits, such as COBRA, as well as previous tax forms and pay slips. Former employees retained the same sign-on information, but could only access information that pertained to them. While they were also provided with contact phone numbers for further questions, providing an initial place for former employees to get information "allowed us to use our staffing more effectively," O'Connell says.
Workday 13 included updates to talent management, including cascading goals, multi-rater feedback, competency management and talent analytics, and interactive and configurable talent matrix reports. "We are looking at a lot of these things going forward," O'Connell says. "Our executive team is very interested in how we can utilize Workday for talent management initiatives."
Workday's Byrne says the SaaS model, including updates, allows Workday to "solve the hard problems, so that our customers can focus on the more interesting challenges. The interesting challenges are finding ways to run their businesses better, whether that's innovation in talent management or enterprise mobility."
Another benefit of the update model, O'Connell says, is the ability to contribute and make suggestions for enhancements in future updates. "Brainstorm, on the Workday Community site, lets customers make suggestions for and vote on features and functionality that would be helpful for us. As a result, significant portions of recent updates have been remarkably customer-driven because of Brainstorm."
O'Connell also noted the value of "Coffee Breaks," a teleconference with customers that takes place on the last Friday every month, and is hosted by Leighanne Levensaler, Workday's VP of HCM Product Strategy. "These have been so helpful for us, and make it easier for us to go through the process of deciding which new features to turn on because we hear about Workday's roadmap and better understand features and functionality on the horizon," O'Connell says.
"I really do think the key to our success with Workday is that the company has been so open and detailed about what's going on," O'Connell adds. "There have been very few negative surprises and lots of good surprises. And in the customer community, we've been able to post questions to one another and learn from others. Since we started this journey in 2008, it's been a great relationship with Workday."
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