Workday also said it had hired Mike Stankey as its president and COO. Stankey was a partner at VC company Greylock Partners, and before that, was CEO of PolyServe, which led the storage virtualization company to a "successful exit with an acquisition by Hewlett Packard," according to his Greylock profile. That deal was estimated at $200 million.
Software companies sometimes hire execs with that kind of experience to shop them around. But in this case, the move appears intended to help Bhusri focus on what he does best, while giving Greylock Partners, one of Workday's biggest investors, a bit more day-to-day control over the company.
In three years or so Workday has raised $150 million in venture capital from Greylock, a few other VC firms, and unquestionably its biggest single individual investor, Dave Duffield. So who needs an acquisition? "Given Dave's wealth, we have the luxury to control our own destiny," Bhusri said in a conversation we had at the recent InformationWeek 500 conference. (Forbes estimated Duffield's net worth at $1.3 billion last year.)
And heck, why would Workday want to go to all that trouble to turn the legacy software industry on its head, only to be acquired by a legacy company, like, um, say, Oracle? Yes, who can forget the drama that played out six years ago, as Bhusri, Duffield, and the rest of the PeopleSoft executive team tried to stave off Oracle in its ultimately victorious hostile takeover. Workday+Oracle? When pigs fly.
At Workday, Stankey has been hired to lead services, finance, sales, partnerships and marketing. This will let Bhusri, who was promoted from president to CEO, a title he shares with Duffield, to focus more of his energies on product and technology development. And, as another part of this tangled Web, Bhusri has another job as a partner at Greylock-again, one of Workday's biggest investors.
What does this all mean? Well, for one, it means at least a few people are pouring a heck of a lot of money and sweat into Workday. It means the company is positioning itself for a growth spurt. And it means the next few years should tell us a lot about the scalability and viability of SaaS in the enterprise, as we watch where Workday goes from here.