The global landscape of the HCM market has three major vendors mainly Oracle, SAP, and Workday, which are dominating the SaaS market. From a European perspective, there are only two major contenders in this market and they are Workday and SAP SuccessFactors.
European organizations using HR SaaS software usually rely on Workday’s software for core HR, platform integration, analytics, self-service, and benefits administration aspects. These are the major features that offer foundations for HR transformation programs in Enterprises throughout the world. After Workday Learning has been announced, Workday is making a considerable move towards the area of Learning and Development.
Aside from just features, there are major differentiators that set Workday apart from its competition. Beyond features, let’s look into what market experts believe are the key differentiators of Workday:
Since the software solution for Workday was built from the ground up it resulted in the user interface that was unified. And also, the code that is underlying across various HR modules ranging from time tracking and talent, absence, succession planning, benefits compensation, HCM, Core and so on.
2. Advanced Business Process Configuration
The capability to customize pre-delivered HR processes which are best practice quality according to client requirements. This can be done from a Visio diagram resembling view.
3. Contextual Information on one screen
Key decision making is possible by consolidating all information on a single screen. Information types can vary from salary comparison amongst high performers to benefits given to them.
4. Actionable Dashboards & Analytics
The ability to drill down to the level of individual employee records and take instant action, such as updating records including salary increases.
5. Insight Application
Predictive analytics are also made possible, founded upon predefined and client or customer defined conditions along with Workday HR data. Insights can be heard, such as the employees who are at risk of attrition, for reasons such as lower compensation as compared to their peers.
6. Integration Platform
Workday has generated the most modern and advanced integration module possible with current Technology. It has done this by comprehending the role of HR in operating within the core of every enterprise and also understanding how critical HR data is to most Enterprises. Workday has made the integration of HR data with various business applications extremely simple and easy. This is being done using permutations of predefined and certified connectors enabling and accelerating integration.
7. HR Transformation Enabler
Workday gives clients the capability to transform their enterprise with employee empowerment. It does this by combining rich self-service functionality with modern business process configuration using a mobile first approach.
Workday provides simple methods to adapt workflows, processes, and configuration without the support of third parties. Along with this, an enterprise can adjust configuration in a consistent way using a singular user-interface without needing any knowledge of coding.
9. Key Decision making based on facts
Enterprises can use contextual data on a singular screen along with actionable analytics and dashboards and advanced insight applications to make mission-critical decisions in real-time based on real-time data.
10. Real-Time Information
Workday has been constructed from scratch founded on the one-code principle throughout integrated modules. This means that information is always in real-time minus the delays between handover points. Data is retrieved with the click of a button using it in memory computing technology which has been with Workday well before SAP. The fact that Workday projects are always founded on business cases or real-time case studies which are architects to obtain real business value through HR strategies when it will be of use that Workday is better positioned to dominate the European SaaS market.
The Path Ahead
Future Workday customers will likely be different from the initial ones. New customers won’t care as much about the history of the enterprise. New customers will have a different set of expectations and Workday will need to meet these or else see it hit a slump followed by flat-lining.
Workday customers in the months to come will most probably be different from its initial client. Workday’s next-generation customers will not focus on enterprise history and will come with the brand-new set of expectation with Workday needing to meet them.
The upcoming generation of ERP customers will look forward to do business with a vendor which is prepared to:
1. Beating competitors over time to market with regard to innovations.
2. Expanding well beyond HCM and Finance.
3. Get under its belt massive libraries of reusable algorithms, analytics, and other machine language tools that solve large numbers of problems within their industry.
4. Being Mainstream as an enterprise (White hat).
5. Complete dedication to customer satisfaction and an aligned work culture.
6. Utilizes a number of open-source, low-cost technologies.
7. Accountability for the comprehensive product experience.
How well does Workday stack up against these criteria? Read on to find out:
1. Beating competitors over time to market with regard to innovations
Workday has always benefited from a clear technological advantage over competing ERP players. It has successfully developed a single multi-tenant Cloud software suite right from the start and from scratch. The multi-tenant code-line forms the foundation for the platform that is available today worldwide. By doing this Workday has kept itself nimble while other companies had to think from both sides of the playing field. As of today, most vendor apps that are similar to Workday with their own multi-tenant Cloud solutions and individual versions of AI and digital transformation and even predictive Analytics.
But Workday CEO Aneel has said that Workday is far ahead of its competitors in terms of progress and innovation. After acquiring Platform has reworked the toolset within Platform to be compatible with Workday’s infrastructure and platform. Workday shows a lot of promise and potential in this regard with its works on new analytics and reporting dashboards using Big Data. The ERP market and related technologies are changing every day with digital components dramatically redefining how business value is created.
2. Expanding well beyond HCM and Finance
Players in the ERP market stand to gain a lot from having a deeper and a wide range of products. When there is similar functionality across various vendors, customers will obviously like to get everything is possible from a single vendor in terms of functionality. This, in turn, will cut down on various overheads. It will minimize the integrations that the client will have to support along with the cost of the support itself. In some cases, it can support an environment that is more real-time along with the use of an individual data model helping in avoiding debate regarding definitions for terms such as employee and customer. Workday has a functional footprint that is mainly planning and Customer Experience Management along with back-office finance, and a small amount of supply chain capabilities for service-based Enterprises.
SAP has an edge over Workday when it comes to manufacturing sectors or Industries such as pharmaceuticals, oil and gas and so on. Oracle gains when it comes to process manufacturing. But Workday is unbeatable when it comes to non-manufacturing sectors. Workday also has a lot of plans in the pipeline for manufacturing sectors by merging with enterprises such as Plex which specializes in plant operation. And the enterprise named Accuride is a longtime customer of Plex along with Workdays HCM product. This means forging a business alliance with Plex and sharing their technological resources will give Workday, all the necessary edge they would need to dominate European and even global markets. This would help Workday go above and beyond for their customers, providing services in sectors that are adjacent to the Finance, HCM and more.
3. Get under its belt massive libraries of reusable algorithms, analytics, and other machine language tools that solve large numbers of problems within their industry
ERP vendors consider this point to be a weak spot. While it is easy to develop detailed use-cases, it is a lot harder and challenging to generate products that are viable for real-time use and which are functional. Certain vendors of ERP expect system integrators to come ready with industry knowledge which would help in crafting solutions for the new age customer. But this is often not the case and the current market has third-party Enterprises not wanting to share intellectual property with other businesses. When a customer needs access to intellectual property the customer will need to engage the particular Integrator for use of intellectual property. And since the self-interest of any third-party enterprise is far from the actual best interests of the customer, this becomes a dicey situation.
Most customers would stand to gain a lot of massive and open libraries, including tunable and configurable tools making ERP solutions digital friendly. But in the current market, vendors, end up not displaying leadership to a great extent and to make matters worse, such vendors have a lack of the right data science, statistics, and social science skills to support the customers adequately. Such skills are used for vendor research and development groups or even startups specializing in such solutions. The Workday can win in this scenario by following the likes of the company such as Uptake or Aera –acquiring and growing talent pools which can handle data science, social science and more.
4. Being Mainstream as an enterprise (White hat)
Workday has been the steady ERP alternative to Oracle and SAP with certain prospects taking on Workday to prove a point with established ERP players. Workday has an image of an advanced enterprise which is hungrier than established businesses in the same space. The Workday can qualify as disruptive technology as it is well ahead of its competition in the ERP space. To achieve mainstream success and market domination in Europe Workday needs to shed its image of a disruptor and take on the brand of a credible competitor to other ERP vendors viable for the long term. What this means is Workday needs to be reliable and dependable in the long run. One-way Workday can stand out is by charging its customers reasonably and following consistently transparent pricing. Most other vendors keep asking for unsubstantiated subscription prices regardless of customer business rates. Also, other vendors depend on increasing subscription plans as opposed to on-demand or pay as you go subscription plans. The Workday will have to balance shareholders demand for increasing revenues and booking when the collection of large enterprise customers reduces overtime. Workday also has 150 or more of the Fortune 500 companies as its customers. And this is the particular brand that Workday needs to identify with and project to its customers and the media alike.
5. Complete dedication to customer satisfaction and an appropriately aligned work culture
Workday also has an excellent work culture with it raining awards related to how good a place Workday is to work on. There are also confirmed reports of Workday having a 98% customer satisfaction statistic which is impressive, to say the least. The dynamics involved in Workday’s culture affects the end user and the enterprise customer which is something that is worth looking into.
As of today, the company most well-known for customer-centric culture is named Ceridian. Its parent company is a Fidelity National Financial and has its headquarters in the USA. This company is known for executing their own installs and has the option of emailing straight to the CEO in case the customer faces any issues.
Automatic Data Processing (NASDAQ:ADP) is also a US-based HSM provider which has an identical culture of customer focus. Surveys and client testimonials have revealed that whenever a problem was reported, there were an “army” of ADP technicians who would show up the very next day to solve any issues. With SaaS, it is implied that the enterprise will have to win the customer back almost on a monthly basis. This is at least true with short-term contracts. Long-term contracts get a little more leeway – this is also because, in the case of a long-term contract, the vendor would most likely quote large upfront payments right from the start. Considering all that’s mentioned above, Workday still manages to keep its customers satisfied irrespective of contract duration or terms. One region that Workday can indeed work on is the implementation costs, which sometimes are quite considerable. The main reason for the high cost of implementation is trying to implement Cloud applications using methods and processes that are pre-Cloud or just to cash in on skill scarcity in the Cloud domain.
6. Accountability for the comprehensive product experience
Workday gets a great score here as almost their entire stack is either open-source or of their own development. The advantage to customers is that new customers can be instantiated with the fractional cost to Workday. Competitors that license database and other technologies from third-parties will not enjoy this cost advantage and have to pass these added costs on to customers. Releases them from the grasp of integrators and resellers – Customers want a vendor accountable for the totality of the product experience.
SaaS-based products can usually be implemented with reduced on-site time than older on-premises products. However, not every task is capable of being phoned-in and, to the customer’s disadvantage that’s what most ERP vendors and their implements want to do. Customers want a SaaS vendor to not only create the product but to also install and maintain it. They also want integrations to other apps and services to never break. You can say customers want a lot, but that’s the nature of business today: customer expectations only increase over time. The Workday is making great progress in terms of taking control of their services ecosystem and implementations. But Ceridian is probably further along than Workday regarding this particular aspect. Regardless of all the above observations, Workday is definitely prepared to take on the European SaaS HCM Market by storm and emerge as the clear winner in the race to HCM supremacy.