Workday 24 - plenty of tweaks, full force on talent retention and PSA

Den Howlett Profile picture for user gonzodaddy April 9, 2015
Workday 24 has a slew of enhancements. They chose to focus on talent retention and PSA enhancements.

Workday 24
Earlier in the week and along with Brian Sommer and Phil Wainewright, I got a preview of what is already live in Workday 24. As a side note, we were told that time to deployment/go live is now down to just over four hours as Workday gets closer to that magical 'no downtime' milestone. That's impressive by any standards and will become a key factor in software selection when potential customers weigh that against legacy application upgrade time and cost.

Sporting more than 100 enhancements, 30 percent of which came from the Workday community, Workday 24 is focusing on PSA, talent retention and flight risk. It achieves this with a combination of techniques, the most significant of which is in its use of predictive analytics. It's not all there and we believe there are important areas Workday needs to address. But it is a firm step in the right direction. What's on offer?

PSA enhancements

Workday is getting closer to the PSA dream of being able to manage projects from end to end. This slide tells the story:

Workday 24 - PSA

The main thing to notice here is that everything falls within a single system of record. That in turn allows for a highly flexible way of presenting information to managers that captures people, project and financial metrics.

At a high level:

...the entire organization can collaborate to recruit, staff, develop, and retain talent. For example, to staff a new client team, resource and project managers can easily search through internal talent pools, including full-time and contingent workers, to find people with the availability, skills, and competencies for the role. If external candidates are needed, they can use Workday Recruiting to open a job requisition and begin the hiring process. Additionally, to increase employee engagement and retention, service directors can develop clear career paths for top performers that align employee goals with those of their clients and company.

We saw this in action and while impressive, it doesn't yet automate the discovery process. I'd like for example to pre-populate a project with available or nearly available candidates rather than choosing from a set of people who have matched skill sets. Even so, you can see how the employee finding, external recruitment and retention elements start to come together.

Talent retention and flight risk

This is where Workday appears to have put most effort. They make the case that retaining talent is a much better proposition than hiring. I agree. It's a reflection of that old cliché about sales - far better to retain happy customers than go hunting for new. So what has Workday done? Another image tells the story:

Workday 24 talent insights

Again, we saw a demonstration of how this works with embedded analytics and risk scoring. See image below:

Workday 24 - retention risk

Although my screengrab is a tad fuzzy, it should give you a broad feel of how Workday is approaching the presentation of information.

An important point to note is that Workday is calculating its predictions based upon hard metrics like time in post, time between salary increments, training history and so on. During the discussion, Brian Sommer and I raised the point that we are seeing flight risk as much more aligned to soft factors such as whether the person has a great boss, whether the work assignment is fulfilling and a slew of external factors that are much more complex to both understand and analyze.

Workday acknowledged this as a topic for the future, arguing that customers can still leverage external sources of information to gain additional insights such as sentiment surveys, but that has yet to be productized. I think there is more to this - much more.

Again, I like what I see and the fact they are offering predictive capability as part of this important topic is a major step forward.

My take

  • This is the first time that Workday has put out something that is more like a point release than talking to big functional additions. In that sense, Workday is maturing. That will be welcome in the sales cycle where competitors have long claimed that Workday is functionally limited. Having said that, there is another product announcement, currently under wraps, that represents an important step forward.
  • Workday is starting to tackle some of the big problems inside service oriented businesses but there is much to be done.
  • The continuation of emphasis on an integrated solution for a system of record is attractive and compelling. The fact Workday can get at CRM data through its tight integration with Salesforce continues to make sense as both companies look for growth in the larger enterprise market. It allows Workday to present a much more complete picture than is usually possible in manager dashboards.
  • I would like to see Workday take a more nuanced approach to talent risk. Almost all recent conversations with clients and colleagues has shown that while overall compensation packages matter, the most talented people are less concerned about those aspects than they are about the fundamentals of what it means to be employed. Workday isn't addressing that directly today but then they are alone.

Disclosure: Workday is a premier partner at time of writing

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