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Workday Company Viability

In relative short order, Workday has become one of the largest enterprise software publishers in the HCM and payroll software industry. Within just a few years it achieved a revenue growth rate of nearly 100%, billings in excess of $300 million and a valuation of more than $2 billion. Add to this a total funding figure of $250 million (drawn from a host of financial investments to support development and go to market activities) and a successful IPO and no wonder that analysts, investors and customers (and the company’s founders) are bullish.

From a technology development perspective, while Oracle was working on Fusion and SAP focused on delivering its own in-memory solution HANA solution to market, Workday beat them both to the punch with a cloud application platform that offers "in-memory" at its core. According to Gartner reports, this technology is becoming an increasingly important to customers and Workday is well-positioned to deliver. This type of innovation speaks to where the company is finding its revenue in a software market that has contracted, or more specifically that Workday is seeking to acquire other (legacy) ERP and payroll software vendors’ prospects and customers.

A significant volume of Workday customer acquisitions come from would-be Oracle and SAP customers. An estimate from research group Gartner suggested that up to 60 percent of Workday's HRMS revenues were sourced from Oracle (E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft and to a lesser extent JD Edwards) and SAP customers choosing to change their HCM and payroll software vendor. More than anything else, this ability to convert business from Oracle and SAP suggests validation for the demand within the market for SaaS-delivered payroll and HR software (and also that SaaS enables businesses to seriously consider full-scale rip-and-replace projects).

However, while a business growth strategy of pursuing clients with legacy ERP systems, and companies in need of a yet-to-be deployed global HCM, is a sound one, Workday also needs to pursue additional alliances, partnerships and integrations to further build out a more complete offering. Put simply, the gaps are: options for global payroll, functionality for HR application extensions (so customers can leverage Workday data) social networking capabilities and richer talent management software.

On the international stage, the company has deployed two data centers in Europe, sending a clear signal of its intentions for expansion in the European and MENA markets, building on its existing Euro-deals, perhaps the best-known (thanks to a scuffle with Oracle) of which is Thompson Reuters. Potential UE clients are much more likely to give credence (and business) to a company with data centers located in the EU – not least because of the stringent EU data protection directive and a very strong cultural desire to keep customer data in country. Workday is confident that increased visibility in Europe will pay dividends and Gartner has noted a marked increase in fielded inquiries for European Workday deployments. This suggests an increasingly firm non-U.S. customer base from which to further cement the company’s presence in both the Middle-East and Africa, and the Asia-Pacific region. Workday is a credible global enterprise software company.

Next: Workday Strengths and Weaknesses >>

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