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Jens Krueger, CTO EMEA, Workday // © Workday
Jens Krueger, CTO EMEA, Workday // © Workday
Blog Human Resources

Workday: The Power Of One

Jens Krueger is CTO EMEA of Workday. In this exclusive E-3 interview, he gives insight into Workday's software, SAP Hana, and the roadmap for 2020 and beyond.

How do customers implement Workday’s HCM software?

Jens Krueger: At Workday, high customer satisfaction is one of our most important goals, so we do everything we can to get our customers productive in the shortest possible time. We use agile methods during implementation and focus on enabling our customers to make ongoing adjustments to the system independently after going live. In addition to standardised processes, Workday offers an Accelerated Deployment Method, which allows customers to implement the HCM solution close to the standard, minimising risks in the time required.

In addition, there is a premium service from Workday – Workday Delivery Assurance – which ensures the best possible implementation in more complex customer situations. Here, customers can have their configurations and integrations evaluated by product experts from our network during the various implementation phases. In addition, Workday offers a wide range of training options (e.g. classroom training, on-demand instruction) to provide each target group with training tailored to their needs via the appropriate medium.

How does the partner network around Workday work?

With a carefully selected partner network, Workday ensures a successful launch. This includes small, regional companies as well as large, globally active system integrators and external HR process outsourcing providers.

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What are the main differences between Workday’s and other providers’ HCM software?

Workday differs in terms of its architectural foundation, which we refer to as the ‘Power of One’: one data source, one security model, one user experience, one version and one community. This architectural foundation has been consistently followed since Workday was founded and forms the basis for all activities in development. Offering Software as a service the way we do – including regular updates, so that all customers are on the same version – has several advantages. No one is left behind, because everyone always enjoys the newest innovations. This means that worldwide our customers always work on the same version, and with the concept of continuous provision all customers are updated weekly. Twice a year, new functions are activated that are available to all customers at the same time – this ensures continuous adaptation to processes, with customers deciding individually on the activation. With the ‘Power of One’ we are talking about a unified finance and HCM system. HR management, finance, planning, analysis, everything an innovative company needs, is on this cloud platform.

If you do not want to use SAP SuccessFactors, is it possible to combine Workday’s HCM software with SAP systems?

In most cases, when companies decide to use Workday, functions and data already exist in different systems. Workday provides interfaces ‘out-of-the-box’, which makes it possible to connect other systems, including SAP systems, without any problems.

You were involved in the development of Hana. Do you think that SAP entered the in-memory database market too late to differentiate itself from its competitors?

Technology shifts rapidly and new innovations can be the building blocks of new business opportunities. With that backdrop, it’s no surprise that enterprise IT and business leaders are under pressure to take advantage of these innovations and it’s a competitive marketplace with SAP and Oracle. Workday took a different approach in design, creating a single system for HR and finance: the ‘Power of One’. All our applications have been developed from day one to fully exploit its potential. Furthermore, we test our solutions with early adopters to make sure they are working ethically and securely while delivering value.

Workday has many large customers in the HCM sector, but growth rates are slowing down. Do you think financial software could become Workday’s new flagship product, especially in view of the recent acquisition of Scout RFP?

Our vision is to enable customers in the changing world of work, where technology is reshaping every job, where alternative work arrangements are becoming the norm, and where speed of agility is key to survival. The early focus was primarily on transaction and analysis. Workday saw huge early growth in the HR sector which continues to be an important growth market as employee and employer needs and preferences change. Our customers are continuously asking for applications that support a multi-faceted workforce. Workday is utilising machine learning across its entire portfolio of applications. For example, within Workday HCM, we’ve started with the Skills Cloud. The Skills Cloud is a universal language of skills that enables us to connect skills to people and their relationships to jobs, opportunities, projects, and much more. But Workday is also in transition, becoming a leader in finance, planning and procurement. As part of this change, the role of finance and the CFO is increasing in importance in both strategic and operational terms. We are seeing Workday’s financial software increasingly recognised as a complete alternative and in 2019 we were able to convince companies such as Career Partner Group, Syncron, Polestar and TX Group (formerly Tamedia) of our solution.

Workday has announced a new offer at the Rising 2019, the Workday Skills Cloud. What exactly can it do?

Until now, it has been a challenge for HR professionals to obtain accurate information about the individual skills of their employees. With the Skills Cloud, Workday presents one of the first applications for machine learning. It maps the individual skills of employees in more detail and then links them to open job profiles, individual career paths and much more. Skills are clustered and put in relation to each other using machine learning. Together with Workday Talent Marketplace, customers will see a solution that shows employees career paths that match their unique skills, experience and even interests, not through complex searches or manual check-ins, but automatically.

What can you tell us about the Workday roadmap for 2020 and beyond?

One technology that will become more widely used is certainly machine leaning. With the Workday Skills Cloud or People Experience, machine learning is already being used today. Workday is continuously developing its applications so that customers have exactly the software – in finance and human resources – that will optimally support the company in its growth.

Thank you for the interview.

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