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Workday Big Data Drive Starts Small

Workday Big Data Analytics is ready to take on big external data sets, but for now most customers are focused on internal analyses of smaller data.
So despite the lack of scale and variety many customers envision using, right now Workday's use of big data technologies lets end users load, explore and make sense of more common, structured data as is. "One of the flaws of the typical BI cycle is that because it's a typically IT-heavy process and you're populating a defined schema, you don't get to mine and make sense of your data," Beck said. "Learning about your data and understanding a correlation between, say, pay and performance is also part of the promise of big data."

Workday plans to extend Workday Big Data Analytics capabilities by adding more templates, and it has welcomed partners to do the same. Partners Deloitte and IBM Global Business Services, for example, are planning Manager Effectiveness and Attrition reporting templates, respectively. Deloitte's template will be designed to assess manager performance by comparing sales data from CRM systems, productivity metrics from help desks, and customer and employee satisfaction data from survey tools. IBM's template is intended to reduce compensation-related employee turnover by comparing worker and location profiles in Workday with salary benchmark and survey data in IBM Kenexa.

Higher-Ed Aspirations

Workday made two significant announcements for the higher-education market on Tuesday. As part of the Workday 20 release, the company introduced new endowment accounting capabilities designed to give colleges and universities a single system for tracking and managing financial gifts. The system will replace disparate and antiquated paper-based tracking, reducing costs and time spent on complex financial reports, according to Workday. It's also designed to improve response times to revenue and spending inquiries and ensure adherence to compliance standards set forth by boards and local, state and national government bodies.

In a major new application development effort, Workday announced it will introduce Workday Student. The new application will provide a student information system of record and will include components for student recruiting, admissions, registration, financial awards, student aid, tuition management and graduation.

The first Workday Student components are expected to be introduced in mid-2014, and the company expects the full system to be rolled out by 2016. The system is intended to take on PeopleSoft (a company co-founded by Workday co-founder Dave Duffield) and other aging platforms that Workday says weren't designed for the mobile, socially connected and non-traditional part-time and increasingly online student bodies of today.

Like its sister HCM and financials applications, Workday Student will be cloud-based software that Workday asserts will be more agile and adaptable for colleges and universities, while better meeting student expectations for online, mobile and social functionality than aging, on-premises applications.