DaaS benchmarking services extend Workday HR analytics

New DaaS benchmarking services, unveiled at Workday Rising, are meant to enable deeper analysis of cloud data. Customers must opt in to share data for analytics.

For the first time, Workday is offering DaaS benchmarking services the company said would provide timely benchmarking...

metrics based on big data.

HR and IT professionals will be able to compare the age, diversity and tenure of their workforce against similar employers, or quickly analyze talent retention rates across industry sectors.

The company also announced Workday Prism Analytics, which it said will help users bring together Workday data and data from outside sources to provide enriched financial and people analytics.

Workday unveiled the data-as-a-service benchmarking, analytics and an update of application development capabilities at its Workday Rising user conference in Chicago, which is overlapping with the industry's biggest conference the same week.

The introduction came a day before the start of the HR Technology Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas Oct. 10 to 13, and joined a wave of new technology announcements from major HCM suite vendors, including Oracle and Ceridian.

Customers must opt in for service

Dan Beck, senior vice president, WorkdayDan Beck

To use Workday DaaS benchmarking services, customers must legally agree to share their chosen categories of HR and finance data with Workday; the company will then aggregate the de-identified data and merge it with data from participating Workday clients around the world, and eventually, other data sources.

"We're giving customers the ability to not just plan and execute – we've had that for some time now -- but also to analyze," Dan Beck, senior vice president of product marketing and technology strategy at Workday, told SearchHRSoftware.

Workday Prism Analytics said to offer more context and analysis

Prism Analytics enables organizations to access and analyze finance and HR data from Workday applications. The offering includes data integration, preparation and governance, and a high-performance analytics engine, according to Workday.  

The Pleasanton, Calif. vendor originally revealed plans for its Workday Prism Analytics system last year after it acquired Platfora, a big data analytics platform developer. Workday also announced its benchmarking strategy in 2016.

Beck said the DaaS product is available immediately in Workday 29, the current release, while Prism Analytics will have "limited availability" in the current release and general availability in the second half of next year.

Screenshot of Workday benchmarking metrics showing employee turnover in an enterprise.
Workday benchmarking laptop screenshot showing employee turnover in an enterprise.

HCM analytics competition stiff

With the benchmarking move, Workday has bolstered its offerings in a competitive HCM analytics arena already filled with the likes of software giants Oracle and SAP and native HR tech vendors such as Ultimate Software.

We are not trying to compete with the likes of Amazon, Google, Azure, but we are going to offer services that make sense for Workday.
Dan BeckSVP of product marketing and technology strategy, Workday

Beck said the Workday DaaS benchmarking services would compete vigorously with benchmarking technology from ADP, the payroll outsourcing and HCM mega-vendor, which claims to have data points from 33 million workers in its cloud.

However, Beck acknowledged that Workday is only now embarking on building its data storehouse while ADP already has wide-ranging benchmarking capabilities across industries and HR categories.

Even so, he maintained that Workday would build its benchmarking data store quickly and that Workday clients would soon begin to benefit from Workday's fully integrated and cloud-based HCM suite.

'Sizeable number' of customers plan to join

He noted that Workday has 26 million workers under contract with its 1,800 clients around the world, and said a "sizeable number" of customers have already said they would join the benchmarking program.

"We need customers to participate in the benchmark to populate the benchmark," Beck said. "The really compelling data customers want around compensation, makeup of their workforce, is going to come from customers opting in.

"Even with a modest acceptance rate of taking us up on our offer, we'll have very compelling benchmarks," he said.

In addition to workforce composition and turnover and career retention benchmarks, Workday said in a release that its customers would also have access to a growing catalog that will include benchmarks on:

  • leadership and management effectiveness;
  • Workday usage, including system utilization and business process; and
  • financial management.

As it has traditionally, Workday emphasized in its new releases what it characterized as superior security and integration with software that provides current, reliable data in the right context of the sections of Workday its customers use most.

Workday suggests wide use of HR analytics

The company accentuated the self-service aspects of Prism Analytics in particular, saying the HR analytics capability would be usable throughout an enterprise.

Workday also showed a new user interface based on a smartphone-like card metaphor and optimized for desktop and mobile.

Beck, in the interview with SearchHRSoftware, also focused on what he said was the more advanced adaptability of the vendor's technology ecosystem along with new extensibility of the Workday Cloud Platform.

"We are not trying to compete with the likes of Amazon, Google, Azure, but we are going to offer services that make sense for Workday," Beck said. "You want to build a page or a presentation service for Workday -- you can. You want to access our machine learning algorithms for artificial intelligence -- you can.

"We're going to open up lots of applications ... so you can build essentially enterprise-grade mashups across the entire Workday application footprint," he said.

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