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Workday sweetens its suite with Workday Recruiting

While experts say Workday Recruiting will add value for current customers, they don't expect it will disrupt the larger talent management market.

With today's debut of Workday Recruiting, cloud-based financial and human capital management (HCM) vendor Workday is one step closer to achieving a complete "hire to retire" HCM offering.

Developed by the Pleasanton, Calif.-based company over the last year and a half, Workday Recruiting was made available for purchase by existing Workday Inc. HCM customers on April 18. But some didn't wait for the official release. According to Leighanne Levensaler, Workday's vice president of HCM products, 70 customers presubscribed. In addition, seven early adopters, including Brown University and Equifax, have already used the system for a handful of months, which Levensaler said was part of the vendor's release strategy.

"We wanted to be able to go live [with] customers who had already battle tested" the application, she said. "We don't announce vapor."

And according to analysts, the Recruiting debut, part of release 22, is indeed momentous for Workday customers. "It's the first release, but I think they already have a significant demand for it in their customer base," said Paul Hamerman, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass.

However, because Workday is only making Recruiting available to current HCM customers and not as a standalone product, Hamerman added that the overall market impact will be muted compared to the impact within Workday's ecosystem.

"This is a big and diverse market. There are a lot of talent management solutions out there that include learning platforms and so forth that Workday doesn't have yet, and a lot of other recruitment solutions available," he said. "So I don't see this as a game-changing product release for the overall market, but it's an important one for Workday to build out the suite of capabilities they want to offer their customer base."

Lisa Rowan, research vice president of human resources and talent management services at IDC, a Framingham, Mass.-based research firm, espoused a similar view of Workday Recruiting's market impact, but she also said the new application might make Workday more appealing to prospective buyers. "I think the drive to be a one-stop for sourcing and tracking and candidate relationship management is laudable," she said.

Praise for Workday Recruiting's HCM integration, candidate experience

Levensaler said the company worked closely with customers throughout the development process to address their applicant tracking system pain points. In addition to a lack of collaboration in the hiring process, the Workday team heard another complaint repeatedly: "One thing we heard loud and clear [was] it was much easier to find a job in another company than your own, so we wanted to do something unique in the market so [companies] could look at external and internal candidates at the same time," Levensaler said.

Other features highlighted in a press release include the application's integration with Workday HCM, the ability for hiring managers to advertise open positions on social networks and for candidates to apply with LinkedIn profiles, and mobile sourcing and review capabilities. Levensaler also said because recruiting is a "team sport" that involves multiple parties, the application was built with a focus on enabling collaboration.

Rowan was positive about the system overall. "It looks good as a solid version one," she said. "The various user experiences work well, [and] having a full HCM suite allows for a seamless exchange of always current data." She also cited Workday Recruiting's integration with Identified, a social sourcing application that Workday acquired earlier this year, as a strong point because it eliminates the need for resume parsing.

Hamerman praised the system's social referral and mobile apply capabilities, as well as its focus on candidate experience.

"Recruiting has traditionally been about the recruiter and the hiring company, but I think now the philosophy is if you want to attract the best talent, you've got to give them a good experience," he said. "I think they thought a lot about the candidate experience." Companies today should aim to engage candidates on the same level that they engage customers, he added.

As for the product's integration with Workday HCM, Hamerman said this reflects a larger trend of core HR vendors building out capabilities for recruiting, such as ADP, Ceridian and Ultimate Software, among others.

Both of these experts pointed out that many of the features included in Workday Recruiting are not unique to the product. For instance, Rowan said the ability to view both internal and external candidates at the same time is available in the majority of applicant-tracking systems (ATSes). "Clients of other ATSes may make an implementation decision to de-emphasize internals, but the capability is available," she said.

Hamerman also said many of the social and candidate-experience-focused features are available elsewhere in the market from standalone systems. "I would say that a lot of these features aren't truly unique, [but] what is unique is it's Workday's application and it's designed to work seamlessly with their suite," he said.

And this integration is nothing to sneeze at. Users "are able to really understand the talent they already have within the company, so when job openings occur, Workday customers can source talent for those jobs from the internal talent pool," Hamerman said. "If you have a standalone recruitment application, an existing employee would have to go through the same job application process as a non-employee."

An early adopter also expressed excitement about this integration in a release. "Because Workday Recruiting is unified with Workday HCM, we will have complete visibility into external and internal talent pools to more quickly and accurately align our business and project needs with our workforce," said Marli Bober, global human resources information systems manager at Sugar Land, Tex.-based Noble Drilling Services.

Besides Recruiting's integration with HCM, Levensaler also pointed out that the application works along with the Financials product, especially in terms of workforce planning.

Learning on the horizon for Workday?

While both Hamerman and Rowan said Workday Recruiting is a strong initial release, Hamerman said he expects the product to add more industry- and geography-specific capabilities in the future.

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"It's a brand-new application, and over time it will gain more features," he said. "Right now, as they bring out this first release, I think they've done a good job with it and it will excel, but I also think over time it will gain maturity and sophistication."

Workday 22 also includes enhancements to both the HCM and Financials products. For instance, Financials has a new composite customer view, where users can see all of a client's relevant contracts, invoices and reports; multi-company procurement cards; and expanded analytics and reporting. On the HCM side, users can expect to see more mobile self-service capabilities and updates to Workday's Notebooks business-management tool.

Considering the momentum for the Recruiting release, will Workday continue to broaden its talent management footprint? As of today, it's unclear.

"There have been no announcements, but I wouldn't be doing my job in the strategy world if we weren't actively exploring to extend the value companies get with Workday," Levensaler said. She added that while the vendor has not committed to building a learning application, it's something the company is "interested in exploring."

Emma Snider is the associate editor for SearchFinancialApplications. Follow her on Twitter @emmajs24 and the site @SearchFinApps.

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