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Workday vs. SAP? Power of One

When it comes to human capital management (HCM), many existing SAP customers prefer SAP's own solutions. However, other companies are increasingly convincing with their solutions - including Workday.
E-3 Magazine
May 19, 2020
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This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

Jens Krüger is Chief Technology Officer (CTO) EMEA at Workday. He has a wealth of experience that includes product development as well as strategy consulting.

Krüger started his career at the Hasso Plattner Institute, where he was part of the Hana founding team. Jens Krüger spoke with E-3 Magazine about the integration of Workday and SAP and the roadmap of future HCM products in the Workday portfolio.

How do customers implement Workday's HCM software?

Jens Krüger: At Workday, customer satisfaction is one of our most important goals, so we go out of our way to ensure that our customers can be productive with our solution as quickly as possible.

We use agile methods during implementation and place a strong focus on ensuring that our customers are empowered to make ongoing adjustments to the system on their own after going live.

In addition to these standardized processes, Workday offers a matching accelerated deployment methodology that allows customers to implement the HCM solution close to standard, minimizing risk and saving time.

What are the key differences between Workday's HCM software and other solutions?

Kruger: Workday differs from other solutions in its architectural foundation, the "Power of One": one data source, one security model, one user experience, one version, and one community.

This development approach has been consistent since Workday's inception and forms the basis for all development activities. Offering Software as a Service (SaaS) the way we do - with regular updates and one version for all customers - offers several advantages:

All customers worldwide are always working on the same version, with the concept of continuous deployment updating all customers on a weekly basis.

New functions are released twice a year and are available to all customers at the same time - this ensures continuous adaptation to processes, with customers deciding individually on the release.

When companies choose Workday, functions and data usually exist in different systems. Therefore, Workday provides interfaces out of the box, which allows it to connect to other systems without any problems, including SAP systems.

Workday boasts many large customers in HCM, but growth rates are slowing. Do you think finance software could become Workday's new flagship product, especially given the recent acquisition of Scout RFP?

Kruger: Our vision is to put our customers in an optimal position in the changing world of work, where technology is redefining job profiles, where alternative work models are part of everyday life and where agility is the key to business success.

Initially, the focus was on transactions and analytics. Workday experienced rapid growth in the HR sector, which continues and is an important growth market as the needs and preferences of employees and employers change.

Our customers regularly ask for applications that support diverse work.

How do you respond to these demands?

Kruger: Workday now uses machine learning across its entire application portfolio. Within the Workday HCM solution, for example, we started with the Skills Graph.

The Skills Graph creates a universal language for skills that allows skills to be assigned to individuals and related to their relationship to work, their opportunities and projects, and much more.

But Workday is also undergoing a transformation to become a leading provider of a finance, planning, and procurement solution. Part of this change is due to the increasing importance of the finance department and the CFO in terms of strategic and operational issues.

We see that Workday's financial software is increasingly recognized as a complete alternative. In 2019, we were able to win additional companies such as Career Partner, Syncron, Polestar or TX Group (formerly Tamedia) as new customers.

What does the roadmap look like in 2020 and beyond?

Kruger: One technology that will have a greater impact is certainly machine learning. Machine learning is already being used today with our Skills Cloud or Workday People Experience.

Workday continues to evolve its applications to provide customers with the software - in finance and human resources - that best supports their business as it grows.

Thank you very much for the interview.

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