Workday Collaborative HCM, Analytics Tools In Pipeline

Workday's new recruitment and big data products are still months away, but the company's early start has some analysts excited.
 Big Data Talent War: 7 Ways To Win
Big Data Talent War: 7 Ways To Win
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Workday, Inc,, a maker of cloud-based human resources and finance applications, announced on Tuesday that it intends to upgrade its portfolio with two new products: Workday Recruiting, which is slated for early 2014 and seeks to streamline and unify the hiring process, and Workday Big Data Analytics, which should arrive in the second half of 2013 and is advertised as a way to simplify the dizzying task of managing raw, unstructured data.

The plans were described during a keynote at the company's Workday Rising conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, with co-CEOs and co-founders Aneel Bhusri and Dave Duffield presiding over the news. Though the products won't be delivered for many months, they promise to harness the company's existing technology to target market sectors that are ripe with opportunity. As a result, at least some analysts, such as Jason Maynard of Wells Fargo Securities, are bullish on the company's prospects.

Workday Recruiting was described as a means of streamlining the talent acquisition process. Unified with Workday's human capital management (HCM) tools, which made news earlier this year when Google integrated them into its custom HR software, the new product is intended to handle the full hiring spectrum, from pre-recruitment planning all the way to new hire onboarding. Mobility is one of the product's core emphases, because on-the-go access to HCM data can accelerate the process and because untethered HR functions can facilitate better collaboration. Workday promises that an entire team can find, share, follow and provide feedback on both internal and external applicants. It also plans to include analytics tools -- including headcount planning, job requisition information and pipeline management data -- to bolster these efforts.

[ For more on Workday, see Workday Wins Google Deal, Plans $400 Million IPO. ]

Workday Big Data Analytics, meanwhile, will be a pre-packaged analytics tool that enables customers to combine Workday data with content from third-party sources. The product will incorporate technology from Datameer, a Hadoop-based big data analytics platform, in order to integrate, analyze and visualize data of any type, size or origin. To facilitate ease of use, the product will offer a single user experience and security model across tablets, smartphones and desktops.

Workday's products enter a developing field that is without a clear champion. Nonetheless, competition should be fierce, as several big names -- such as Oracle, SAP and IBM -- have thrown their hats into the ring.

Even so, Maynard gave Workday an "Outperform" rating in a research note and expressed optimism for the company's direction. "We believe Workday is driving the transition of HCM and Financial applications from stale and technologically limited on-premise solutions," he wrote. "We believe that Workday’s SaaS delivery model, broad product offerings, and developer tools represent valuable differentiators in the marketplace."

Maynard cited Hadoop integration as a way to minimize costs and suggested Workday's consistent user experience goals could pay off, adding that that the company's exiting user base of over 350 customers should make the new products "a natural extension to the product line … [that] should be an easy cross sell."

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