We had the opportunity to attend Workday's TechSummit, held at the beautiful Cavallo Point resort in Sausalito.

So take a peek at my takeaways:
I you cannot watch - read along: Always tough to pick the Top 3 takeaways - but here you go:
  • Insights Architecture - Workday gave us an update on their Insights Apps architecture - and no surprise it uses all the right ingredients for a next generation Application - Spark, Hadoop etc. - always good to learn more. Deployment options and locations was something we did not get to. I asked CEO Bhusri if Workday is slowing down on Insight Apps and his response was that customers are figuring out how to use them. Good problem to have.
  • Data Center Locations and Operations - For the first time we got an official update on data center locations (3 in the US, 2 in Europe) and how they are connected in (AWS similar) high availability zones. Workday has done a lot in the past to achieve higher resilience and continues to work along these lines, a key area for customers who are putting more and more, larger and larger and more critical (e.g. Finance) applications on the Workday infrastructure.
  • Presentation Services - The Workday extension story has initially been non existent, then was extended object by object (on my question where the vendor is - the answer was that customers do not prioritize this high anymore, as enough has been done) and now has an interesting new chapter with Presentation Services. The service allows customers to create their own screens and UIs, a major step forward. It is also the technology base for the partnership with ADP in regards of Payroll, where the service is being used to render, enter and validate the fields and information exposed by ADP via the REST interface chosen as integration technology between the two vendors. I expect more modern, next generation interfaces (and partnerships) to leverage this capability. Finally Presentation Services could also mark the first foray of Workday thinking of providing not a full fledge PaaS - but a 'paaS' (with a little 'P') - that allows the further customization / configuration, extension and creation of critical enterprise processes on the Workday platform. Departmental / End use programming knocks at all enterprise vendors doors these days...  


  • iPad Product - We were handed iPads and had the chance to use the Workday HCM iPad app, a very good move that I can only encourage more vendors to follow. Of course I went off script and the iPad app was easy to use, very little 'not so intuitive' pieces and few loose ends (e.g. found 3 different date pickers). Overall a well done tablet client, that is easy to use and powerful enough for a business line manager to do what they need to with their HR application.
  • TCO Reduction - Vendors always need to work on reducing TCO - not only on the operations but also on the implementation and upgrade side. With O'Toole and Holincheck Workday has tasked two experienced professionals to reduce the cost of implementation and upgrades - always a good thing to see and stay tuned for 2016.
  • ADP Partnership - A key partnership for Workday, pushing the number of supported countries for payroll to 100 (read more here) - it leverages the above mentioned Presentation Services capability of the Workday framework. 


Workday is continuously making progress on its platform in terms of extension for new use cases (e.g. Insights Apps), resilience (e.g. Availability Zones), core capabilities (e.g. Presentation Services) and overall TCO (e.g. Lifecyle Management plans). All good housekeeping a vendor should and needs to do, to stay on top of the game. 
On the concern side Workday has chosen to operate on a proprietary architecture, that only Workday knows, understands and operates. This concern is alleviated by the capability of Workday to run its applications on common cloud architectures (e.g. development and test environments run on Amazon's AWS), the adoption of CIO accepted standards like OpenStack (though we heard little of this earlier in the week) and ultimately by Workday growing and creating a large enough ecosystem and scale to alleviate these concerns. Getting to over 5000 employees soon is such a milestone. 
But technology for applications is built to run the application - and there is the Finance product which has not seen as much adoption as a successful product should. Workday is bullish to have it 'ready' now - 2016 will tell. Hindsight is always 20 / 20 - but as of today Finance is not a showcase for return of R&D Investment. With Workday eyeing further investment areas (SCM, Verticals were mentioned) it needs to make product development bets with a faster return of investment / better customer adoption. On the flipside for HCM, with the announced Learning product, Workday closes the wagons with a fully integrated suite of Core HR, Payroll (USA, Canada, UK and 2016 France more with ADP), Talent Management and some forays into Benefits and Workforce Management, that is very competitive in the market place. Not short changing HCM customers and product momentum will be a key area for Bhusri and team to manage in 2016. 

Overall Workday is doing the right things on the technology side to become the long term partner for enterprises, who run key enterprise processes over multiple decades with the same vendor, through thick and thin. Every year of growth, adoption and investment brings Workday closer to that league / echelon. We will be watching. 

More on Workday
  • News Analysis - Workday and ADP partner to Deliver a Seamless Customer Experience for Global Payroll - read here
  • Event Report - Workday Rising - Learning is there and good housekeeping - read here
  • News Analysis - Workday completes Talent Management with Learning - Finally - or too late? Read here.
  • 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