This is not for the change-averse or faint of heart.
Former PeopleSoft co-founder and CEO Dave Duffield this week opened Workday, a company offering Web-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) (define) software for mid-sized companies.
The software, which features a browser-based interface and a Web
services-based approach to interoperability, is intended to mirror actual
workflows and help users cut down on the number of steps needed to make
Workday is positioning its software as ideal for companies that
don’t have multiple reporting layers or cumbersome decision-making
“It’s not for everybody,” co-founder Aneel Bhusri told
internetnews.com during a conference call with reporters.
“It’s for the new generation of growth-oriented companies looking for a new
way to run their business.
“Some companies may find this is too much change for now,” he added.
Workday’s success or failure will likely depend on whether
it has made the right bets on how new mid-size companies are being run.
Bhusri said that Workday is targeting companies with between one thousand
and five thousand employees and with between $200 million and $1 billion in
The first of several applications Workday is introducing is a human capital
management (HCM) application.
This will be followed next year by revenue management, financial management
and other standard enterprise resource management software.
The HCM application, Duffield said, takes advantage of Web 2.0 trends affecting
the enterprise, from the emergence of software-as-a-service (SaaS)
(define) to SOA (define), and its interface incorporates the
use of hyperlinks, AJAX (define) and Flex.
“We’ve created an environment that looks much more like a typical consumer
Internet site, with the interaction and flexibility that today’s information
workers have come to demand,” said Duffield.
The software is based around an object-management server, a user interface
server and an embedded enterprise service bus (ESB).
The ESB allows the HCM product to interact with third-party
applications and to build a catalog of integrations that customers can then
reuse as services.
The company notes that integration, an afterthought for legacy systems, is
at the heart of its new offering.
Ken Morris, Workday’s vice president and chief technology strategist, said
that the company is “leveraging a core set of recently accepted standards
for interfacing between systems.”
Morris also told internetnews.com that Workday has designed its user
interface to be completely separate from the basic data and business logic.
“New UI technology tends to come along much more rapidly than business
technology, so we’ll be able to rev that pretty easily,” he said.
Workday is intriguing for a number of reasons.
The sale of PeopleSoft
to Oracle gave Duffield more than simply enough capital to fund this new
venture almost entirely on his own.
He has also been able to lean on PeopleSoft’s reputation as one of the most
user-friendly of the so-called legacy software applications, giving the new
company almost instant credibility as a people-oriented vendor.
This extends to the personal level; Duffield has maintained excellent relations
among his peers as well as among customers.
It also announced Kana Software and Biosite (Quote) as
Moreover, the timing for this launch may well be propitious for an on-demand
Forrester analyst Ray Wang told internetnews.com that enterprises are
for the first time looking beyond customer relationship management and expressing greater interest in
more complex applications delivered via the Web.