Workday posts record revs, ups forecast and appoints Jerry Yang to board

Den Howlett Profile picture for user gonzodaddy November 25, 2013
Workday not only  blew out its numbers, it upped its full year forecast and announced the appointment of Jerry Yang to the board. It all makes for heady stuff.

wday phone
Recent rumors that Workday was experiencing a slowing down in growth turned out to be unfounded as the company posted top line Q3 revenue of $127.9 million up 76% from $72.6 million in the previous year. It raised its Q4 forecast to $133-138 million, a good way ahead of consensus estimates of $129 million.

Assuming Workday's forecasts work out then full year revenue could top out at $465 million. Assuming there is no appreciable slow down in growth, then I am sticking with my forecast from late 2011 that Workday will be a $1 billion revenue run rate business by 2015.

While the company continues to show bottom line losses, the loss narrowed slightly to $40.4 million from $40.9 million from this time last year. That pleased financial analysts who had already baked in a predicted slowdown and the shares popped 7% after the markets closed.

Deferred revenue now sits at $351.8 million, a 40% increase over last year, of which $279.3 million is non-current.


Earnings press release

Bringing Jerry Yang on board is an interesting choice. For those unfamiliar with the fellow, he was one of the Yahoo! founders. This from the press release:

"In many ways Jerry Yang is synonymous with the Internet and the way we engage with it both from a consumer and enterprise perspective, and we are fortunate to benefit from that wisdom," said Aneel Bhusri, chairman, co-founder, and co-CEO, Workday. "As a technology visionary and global business leader, Jerry has great perspective to offer, and as we continue our global growth, he’ll be a tremendous asset to Workday."

Note the careful language here. Reading between the lines, I see this appointment as adding two distinct dimensions that will help Workday continue to differentiate itself in the market.

A user friendly user experience - vital to widespread adoption and use of any business application. But just how slick can accounting be? We shall see. In my view, the enterprise vendors have not taken the right cues, missing out on understanding what's happening at the SME level. I will have more to say on this in a story about Xero. In the meantime, Workday continues to provide delightful experiences on the HR 'stuff' and mobile interfaces. I know from conversations with Aneel Bhusri, co-CEO that the company continues to obsess over building the best UX it can. Yang brings much needed consumer smarts on that topic.

A beach head into Asia Pacific. I am not surprised that Workday is considering this as an early option. It is already doing reasonably well in Europe but expansion into Japan - for example - will give it enough scope to claim global status and not just perceptually restricting itself to the US with a bit of EU thrown in.

Overall? There are continuing rumors that the developing NSA story is hurting the cloud application players. It may be having an impact on the largest deals but it doesn't seem to be having any appreciable impact on Workday. But then when you're the cool kid on the block, you tend to attract the best talent. That matters in sales execution where so far, Workday is mystifying its competition.

Disclosure: Workday is a premier partner.

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