Earlier today we learned that Workday announced Learning, a new application to add to its portfolio of HCM applications. The announcement is key as it completes the native Talent Management portfolio offered by Workday – with Recruiting, Onboarding, Performance Management, Compensation and now Learning.


Let’s dissect the press release in our customary way – it can be found here:
PLEASANTON, CALIF. — Sept. 29, 2015 — Workday, Inc. (NYSE: WDAY), a leader in enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources, today unveiled Workday Learning, a new application intended to offer a more personalized, meaningful learning experience for organizations to evolve and encourage career development at every stage of the employee lifecycle. Workday Learning will be built into the fabric of Workday’s unified suite of applications including Workday Human Capital Management (HCM) and Workday Financial Management, providing customers with a single system to cultivate their workforce, close talent gaps, and drive business growth.

MyPOV – Good to hear the general intention and direction here, not a general, 1st generation Learning offering, but a modern 21st century Learning product, that permeates beyond formal class room learning to all aspect of knowledge creation, distribution and consumption. No surprise that Workday stresses the unified platform. The organic approach puts an end to speculation on potential acquisitions in the Learning space. Interesting the stressing of Finance in the early part of the press release, we will pay more attention to that reading on.
Announced at Workday Rising Las Vegas 2015, Workday Learning embodies a shift from talent management to people enablement focused on engaging individuals with more rewarding, diverse work experiences that drive greater alignment between employee development, workforce productivity, and better business outcomes.

MyPOV – A good description of what the new generation of Learning products is all about. And we are attending Workday Rising – see our expectations here and catch us for the key takeaways Tuesday at 6 PM PST (more here).
A Continuous, Meaningful Learning Experience that Knows the Learner
Traditional learning management systems (LMS) are generally perceived as lackluster, tedious, and uninspiring. They sit outside of daily work, lack a connection to an employee’s day-to-day needs, and do not provide the kind of training that will help an individual progress in his or her current role.
MyPOV – Good description what happens with yesterday’s best practices in a fast pace environment. They quickly can look stale and inadequate. That said the ‘dreaded’ class room training will still have room on the 21st century and we will have to track when Workday will support that, too.
Built with the learner’s needs in mind and incorporating feedback from employees at organizations including athenahealth, California College of the Arts, Cornell University, and McKee Foods, Workday Learning will address the gaps that exist with current learning management systems. Taking advantage of rich data from Workday HCM, Workday Learning will offer an intuitive, meaningful learning experience that knows the learner and recognizes where the individual sits in the employee lifecycle – whether it’s the first day on the job, a new manager, or someone cultivating core skills and expertise in a current role.
MyPOV – Good to see that Workday has talked to its customers in regards of requirements for Learning, everything else would have been gross negligent, and in typical suite vendor functionality Workday points out the benefits of an integrated Learning solution, that is away of the ‘rest’ of people data and processes from the other HCM applications. This is in contrast to the best of breed / point solution vendors who need interfaces to unfold similar benefits. And interface turn out to be one of the most ‘dreaded’ things for HR practitioners.
Workday Learning is intended to provide customers with:
· A Collaborative Community to Gain and Share Knowledge – Leveraging the latest collaboration and social learning technologies, Workday will enable employees to consume, create, and share content on any device, at any time. Whether it’s shooting and sharing a video tutorial from a smartphone, or flipping through pages of training material on a tablet, Workday Learning will encourage an interactive community for learning, teaching, and coaching that meets the needs of today’s digital workforce.
MyPOV – No new Learning product since 2013 that does not stress social. Workday has not focussed on traditional social functionality in the past, so we will drill down to understand better how Workday will leverage this area and create compelling functionality.
· Content with Context – Workday Learning will be able to recognize users and make tailored learning recommendations based on who they are, what they do, and their stage in the employee lifecycle. For example, the system could recommend a video to a new manager, accounting for personal preferences and learning experiences completed by others in similar roles or at a similar stage in their career.

MyPOV – And a similar table stake of a 21st Learning solution, it is all about passing Learning content into the hands / screens of an employee the same way a beautiful pass reaches a wide receiver setting him up for a touchdown or 1st down (or a perfect corner the free player for a header for the ‘other’ football part of the world).

· Support for Diverse Learning Experiences – Workday Learning will enable customers to fully support a wide spectrum of developmental experiences spanning short, easy-to-digest micro learning activities and in-depth jumbo learning programs as well as mandatory certification and compliance training.
MyPOV – Good to learnt that Workday plans to apportion the learning volume and content, which is a key requirement for the multi-generational workforce that consumes information and learns in different ways across the generations of workers.
· Built-in Measurement and Insights – In combination with Workday HCM and Workday Financial Management, Workday Learning will equip customers with complete visibility into day-to-day learning activities and overall learning effectiveness. For example, a team manager could quickly understand how employees are tracking against individual development plans, and organizational leaders could better identify and optimize learning initiatives that positively impact business goals.
MyPOV –Good to see that Workday is leveraging suite wide benefits, interesting the stress on Finance. Good to see Workday addressing ‘Learning Effectiveness’. Borrowed from Marketing Effectiveness (what is an additional $ in Marketing going to give a business in return), Learning Effectiveness is asking the same question in regards of the allocation of Training dollars (or Euros etc.).
Workday plans to make Workday Learning generally available to customers in the second half of calendar year 2016.
MyPOV – Kudos for Workday to share a release time frame. But it is quite a way out there with 9-15 months till the product will be generally available.
Comments on the News
“Our customers have made it clear that they need a progressive solution that enables them to offer more personalized learning, development, and career opportunities in order to engage and retain their best people,” said Leighanne Levensaler, senior vice president, products, Workday. “Workday Learning will be seamlessly unified with Workday’s suite of applications to provide a smarter, more intuitive system that knows employees, what kind of work they do, and what they need to achieve job and career success. As a result, employees will be empowered to connect more and share relevant content with each other – creating a collaborative work environment where learning is continuous and ubiquitous.”
MyPOV – Good quote by Levensaler – hitting all the key aspect and benefits of the new solution. Good to see the sharing aspect mentioned here, too – which is key in a modern Learning. Seeing successful content becoming ‘viral’ as the result of employees sharing what works is one of the new ‘highlights’ in 21st century Learning systems.
“Having the opportunity to help shape several Workday products over the years has proven that Workday not only cares about what we as customers need, but seeks to understand our experiences and create something far better than we had imagined,” said Mark Newsome, director of human resources, McKee Foods. “Workday delivers on what it promises and creates viable alternatives to some of the old, stale offerings we often see in the marketplace. I am confident Workday Learning will be a fresh, new approach that addresses the gaps that traditional learning environments have struggled with for so long, without sacrificing the core infrastructure needed in a learning system.” 

“Workday Learning has the potential to solve distinct challenges higher education institutions face in meeting the training needs of their staff, faculty, and larger community,” said Mara Hancock, chief information officer and vice president of technology, California College of the Arts. “Learning built into Workday HCM will serve as a community-wide tool that can help overcome many of the boundary limitations found in a traditional LMS where the line between community members are hardened, and social and collaboration components are bolted on rather than unified in one system.”
MyPOV – Always good to see customer quotes in a new product press release, stating of early involvement and feedback cycles with practitioners. McKee is a long term Workday customer (if I had the time I’d check in how many product launch emails they gave a quote), so it is good to see customers staying at the forefront of best practices. And good to see a higher education organization here, which points to Learning playing a prominent role in Workday’s Student solutions (at some point). 
Additional Information Please visit the Workday blog for additional perspective about Workday Learning:
Read the blog: An Inside Look at Workday Learning: Reinventing How Employees Learn with perspective from Leighanne Levensaler, senior vice president of products, and Amy Wilson, vice president of HCM products
Read the blog: 3 Questions with Paul Sparta, a Founding Father of Learning Management Systems
MyPOV – Worth to check out the additional resources mentioned here to get a more complete picture. Good to see Sparta mentioned here, truly one of the veterans of Learning, he most recently sold the company he co-founded, Plateau to SuccessFactors (now SAP).

Overall MyPOV

A good move by Workday, as it (finally!) clarifies the vendor’s strategy in regards of Learning, the last piece of Talent Management automation that was not addressed with a native Workday solution. It is overall important as it makes the overall Workday messaging of one organic suite application built on the same platform real, while addressing the integrations concerns and worries of HR professionals. Also good to see that Workday strikes all the right points in regards of key 21st century Learning system functionality like content discovery, creation and propagation, aware of what works and is needed by employees.

On the concern side it will be key to see how Workday addresses the ripple effects in the ecosystem, a number of Workday customers have partnered with a number of Learning vendors, and they will now have to re-asses their plans for the next 3-4 years. How Workday handles this for both customers and partners will be key going forward, as Workday will have to keep partnering for other aspects in its portfolio (e.g. Payroll). The announcement is also mute in regards of license costs, with its Insights analytical products Workday has for the 1st time opened a new licensing area for customers, it remains to be clarified where Learning stands. Lastly on the technology side, Learning solutions are very different ‘animals’ in regards of technical needs (unstructured content, social, context, streaming networking requirements and platforms served) – so it will be interesting to see how Workday can address these challenges. Overall timing with 2nd half of 2016 means that a functional showdown between the new Oracle Learning solution (more here) and the enhanced SAP / SuccessFactors solution (more here) will happening sooner than later. And of course existing partners, most prominent probably Cornerstone on Demand (more here) will not stand still. But competition is good for customers.

For now it is good news for customers of Workday, who now need to align their Learning plans with the vendor’s roadmap. From the press release Workday is announcing all the right capabilities for a modern, 21st century Learning solution and leveraging all Suite level benefits that can make the Learning solution better than a point solution. Stay tuned for more updates from Workday Rising 2015.


I will share my takeaways and likely some smaller tidbits on September 29th at 6 PM PST - watch it here - even better - tune in! 

And more on Workday
  • Event Preview - What I would like Workday to address this Rising read here
  • News Analysis – Workday to Expand Suite of Applications for Healthcare Industry - with a SCM twist - read here
  • News Analysis - Workday supports UK Payroll - now speaks (British English) Payroll  - read here
  • Workday 24 - 'True' Analytics, a Vertical and more - now needs customer proof points - read here
  • First Take - Top 3 Takeaways from of Workday Rising Day 1 Keynote - The dawn of the analytics era - time to deliver Insight Apps - read here
  • Progress Report - Workday supports more cloud standard - but work remains - read here
  • Workday 22 - Recruiting and rich Workday 22 are here - read here
  • First Take - Why Workday acquired Identified - (real) Analytics matter - read here
  • Workday Update 21 - All about the user experience and some more - read here
  • Workday Update 20 - Mostly a technology release - read here
  • Takeaways from the Salesforce.com and Workday partnership - read here
  • Workday powers on - adds more to its plate - read here
  • What I would like Workday to address this Rising - read here
  • Workday Update 19 - you need to slow down to hurry up - read here
  • I am worried about... Workday - read here
Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here