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Workday Software Strengths and Weaknesses

Workday competitive positioning in the payroll (and wider HCM) software market can be summarized by highlighting the following strengths and weaknesses:

Workday Strengths

  • A SaaS payroll and HCM solution that is fully integrated and adept at working with business, financial and workforce data.
  • The company delivers a rapid pace of innovation, delivering three releases per year as standard. About every four months new HR and payroll software feature sets and capabilities are enhanced.
  • The average implementation period when implementing Workday as the core HR system of record is 4 to 8 months.
  • At the company's user conference (Workday Rising) co-CEO Dave Duffield reported that the company's recommendation rate from current customers sits at a whopping 96% (exceeding market average).
  • The deployment of in-memory computing greatly improves transaction processing, posting processing and the running of computationally intensive reporting.
  • The HCM and payroll applications is a modern cloud technology leveraging a browser-based client, multi-tenant database architecture, web services and modern object model. The technology stack stands out in a market that still features a lot of legacy software.
  • Flexible and sophisticated mobile and tablet capabilities, such as manager self-service (MSS), are now available and steadily getting better.

Workday Weaknesses

  • The flip side of being cloud-exclusive is that Workday has no offline operational capabilities. Therefore on-premise or hybrid software installation as well as user access to HR and payroll data is not supported unless connected to the internet.
  • Workday does not support on-premises or private cloud payroll and HR software deployments. This can be a significant issue for customers cautious to put employee data in the cloud.
  • A fix for Workday’s in-bound integration capabilities is said to be in the pipeline; until then customers cannot receive net payroll data without going the route of getting consolidated payroll reporting direct from the payroll aggregator itself.
  • Though the partnerships with payroll aggregators CloudPay (previously Patersons) and SGWI are reasonable, and in most scenarios are able to provide Workday customers with basic functionality, Workday's clients with large, non-U.S. (other than Canada), single-country employee populations may require additional payroll software and management capabilities. That same logic applies to smaller companies that may have limited numbers of geographically-dispersed employees and see an aggregator relationship as not being cost-effective.
  • The faceted search feature is mostly confined to Workday data, forcing users to look outside of the system for broader or enterprise-wide analytics capabilities.
  • For buyers looking for payroll as part of a broader HRMS suite, the Workday software is not nearly as broad as Oracle, SAP, Infor and other major ERP software suites, thus necessitating a multi-vendor IT strategy (and increasing IT resources and expenditures in the managing of those multiple vendors, utilizing multiple vendor toolkits, performing more system integration, coordinating uneven vendor upgrade dates and the like.)
  • Similarly for those seeking a broader Human Capital Management software solution, the company does not have competitive recruitment and/or an on-boarding capabilities. Many pundits believe Workday talent management software lacks competitors.

Next: Workday Best Fit and Alternatives >>

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