Definition

Workday

Workday is a cloud-based software vendor that specializes in human capital management and financial management applications.

Headquartered in Pleasanton, Calif., Workday was founded in 2005 by Dave Duffield and Aneel Bhusri, former executives at PeopleSoft, an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software vendor later acquired by Oracle. Workday is a pioneer in software-as-a-service business applications, and Workday software has often been recognized for its ease of use and quick implementation, compared with on-premises HCM and finance applications. The company does not officially consider itself Workday ERP, but it is widely considered to be in direct competition with ERP vendors, including Oracle and SAP.

At the 2016 Workday Rising user conference, Bhusri -- who is Workday CEO -- referred to SAP and Oracle as "frankensauruses" that struggle to integrate cloud-based acquisitions into legacy applications.

In 2006, Workday released its first product, Workday Human Capital Management. The following year, it announced its financial suite, Workday Financial Management. The Workday HCM side received emphasis originally, but the company has worked over the years to make its financial software more competitive with other ERP systems by adding budgeting, planning and analytics features, as well as support for larger enterprises.

Its Composite Reporting tool, released in 2014, provided multidimensional financial and operational reporting and analytics designed to be scalable in large enterprises. Workday Insight Applications, which came out in 2015, allowed users of Workday software to apply predictive analytics and machine learning to Workday HCM and financial data. Workday Planning, a budgeting, planning and forecasting tool, helps to unify HR and finance analytics and planning, according to the vendor.

Workday claims its use of a single, cloud-based database for both HCM and financials provides better integration and embedded business intelligence across business functions than is available in most ERP systems. In 2013, the vendor added Workday Big Data Analytics, which are prepackaged analytics tools that can combine Workday data with data from third-party sources.


Workday co-founder and CEO Aneel Bhusri
at Brown University discusses technology
and his career path.

Over the years, Workday has added other components of HCM, talent management and finance to its suite, and it released versions for specialized markets, such as higher education and government. Workday Student, targeting higher education, came out in 2013, while Workday Recruiting arrived in 2014 and Workday Learning, a learning management system, became available in 2016.  

Workday made its initial public offering of stock in October 2012 on the New York Stock Exchange. For the fiscal year that ended on Jan. 31, 2016, Workday reported annual revenue of $1.16 billion. Later that year, Workday announced it had adopted IBM Cloud for software development and testing, and it unveiled a partnership with Microsoft to integrate Workday HCM and financials with Office 365.

This was last updated in December 2016

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What features does Workday software need before it can replace an ERP system in a large organization?
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