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Workday unveils predictive software, Host Analytics pushes modeling engine

Workday released predictive software based on its purchase of a company noted for data science and machine learning, along with a PSA offering.

Workday made two new offerings available, starting with one in predictive software. A second release is aimed at...

helping professional service organizations  improve delivery of projects to customers.

Workday, which provides enterprise cloud software for finance and human resources, is releasing the predictive analytics software and professional services automation amid heated competition with bigger companies such as Oracle and SAP.

The predictive software, called Workday Talent Insights, stems from Workday's 2014 purchase of a company called Identified, noted for its data science and machine learning. Workday previewed the software at its annual Workday Rising conference last October.

The second product made available to customers, Workday Professional Services Automation (PSA), unifies the company's software offerings in people management, project and resource management, time and expense tracking, revenue and cost management and reporting and analytics.

Dan Beck, senior vice president of technology products, said the predictive analytics software is sold as an option in Workday's human capital management. It includes three main capabilities:

  • Flagging whether top performers are at risk of leaving
  • Scorecards for rating how an enterprise fares on key performance indicators such as growth, accompanied by alerts to take action if certain thresholds are hit
  • Tools that connect users to enterprise applications such as Google spreadsheets, social media, and public data including census and unemployment numbers.

In September, Beck said, Workday will release a prescriptive option in the predictive analytics software, which will go beyond predictions to recommend a possible career move to keep a top performer who might be at risk of leaving.

"That's a one-two punch of what you are going to see in our Insight Applications, which is predictive modeling followed by prescriptive modeling … The mindset is that the gold standard in analytics will increasingly become recommendation."

Meanwhile, Betsy Bland, vice president of financial management products, said Workday PSA's features cross the company's entire portfolio.

The software provides a unified view to help facilitate the resourcing of a project and the execution and tracking of projects as they progress over time, she said.

For example, the PSA brings together leaders in human capital management, finance teams and project managers and allows them to all work together on one authoritative source with real-time data, Bland said. The goal is to allow greater efficiency and alignment across the organization, she added.

"You want it because you are a project-based organization and your livelihood is delivering quality projects to your customers and to your clients. What we do is bring all those functional areas and systems together in one unified solution in the cloud."

Host Analytics links financial, operational planning

Host Analytics is offering Modeling Cloud as a new module in the company's cloud corporate performance management (CPM) software.

Currently, too much modeling occurs in disconnected desktop spreadsheets that lack data security, process controls and an audit trail, said Lance Walter, chief marketing officer of Host Analytics.

The desktop spreadsheets are not well integrated into monthly and quarterly financial plans, meaning the business can operate with an outdated view of what happens at the operational level, according to a press release.

To help solve these problems, the new module offers Microsoft Excel-based reporting to present information, as well as advanced modeling and self-service interactive query and analysis.

Walter said the product, for example, attempts to embrace the best of Excel. It allows power users to work in Excel with live, centralized data, he said.

With the new module, users can create a report in Excel and view it unchanged on a mobile device or create a report in a Web browser for a power user to analyze in Excel, the release said. The module integrates with the rest of the Host Analytics cloud CPM suite.

Walter claimed the tool integrates well with operational data. He said the integration works the same and is fully supported whether an operational system is on premises, in the cloud or a combination of both.

"Some customers manage the integration with operational systems manually, meaning that they export certain data from an operational system and then upload it to Host Analytics on a regular basis," Walter said in an email. "We do bundle application-to-application integration technology from Dell Boomi as well for organizations that want to automate regular refreshes of Host Analytics from operational systems. Most customers set that up to run nightly but we have some that synchronize data as frequently as every five minutes."

Customers of Host Analytics integrate with lots of other operational systems, including customer relationship management systems like Salesforce.com and marketing automation systems like Marketo, Walter said. For example, one customer, iCIMS, which provides talent acquisition via software as a service, frequently pulls information directly out of Salesforce.com and Google Analytics to inform financial plans. With Host Analytics, iCIMS can do things like accelerate hiring in sales or services if needed, according to Walter.

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