Workday and SAP - poll results

Den Howlett Profile picture for user gonzodaddy July 14, 2013
Results are in a month after we launched a simple poll on perceptions of SAP and Workday delivering to customer need. Workday was noted out in front but a significant margin. What can we learn from these results?

poll result

Just a month ago, we ran one of our early polls designed to discover which of Workday or SAP are perceived to be better at delivering to customer need. The results garnered over that time are in and shown in the image above.

First up let me say that I tend to be skeptical about such polls for several reasons:

  • They're not particularly scientific.
  • There's no obvious attempt to validate respondents to ensure poll stuffing doesn't occur.
  • Questions of this kind, asked in isolation don't provide enough context against which to assess the veracity of the answer.

One precaution we took was to ensure that respondents could only vite once. This is not entirely foolproof because the poll checker relies on knowing the IP address from which the vote is case. Having said that, you'd have to be determined to stuff results in order to figure out how to overcome this precautionary measure.

Be that as it may, I ran through the IP addresses that the polling system captures to see if I could identify any obvious 'patterns' that might totally invalidate the results. None emerged from a relatively simple analysis of IP address location and timing. But let's assume there is a level of bias, would it likely favor Workday? As far as I can tell, it would not be sufficient to make an appreciable difference.

Analysis of our general readership demonstrates that there is plenty of interest in Workday related topics but then there is more interest overall in SAP related topics. Again - looking back over the articles we've written, interest is more evenly spread over a number of vendors. In this case, the overall interest represents about three percent of all who landed on the article page.

It is important to note that doesn't automatically translate into a solid number of those who read the whole article. It does however lend some credence to the argument of one respondent who suggested locating the poll at the top of the post as a way of gaining more responses. It is certainly something we'll look at in the future.

So, even taking the obvious weaknesses of this poll into account and making some general assumptions about readers' interests, I am happy the results fairly reflect the views of those who chose to read and then vote. What can we make of the results?


The extent to which poll voters believe Workday is out in front was a real surprise. This should be a concern to SAP, even though in the HR space, it is functionally richer and with far greater depth than Workday.

If I was in Workday's marketing shoes I'd likely aggregate the favorable answers and feel pretty contented. But that would be to deny the caution expressed by the 27 percent who see Workday as playing catch up. Running the poll in say a year's time would be useful to see if attitudes have changed.

Even so, with a significant majority believing that Workday does a better job, it must serve as a wakeup call to folk over at SAP. It is a topic I know has been on the minds of senior people at SuccessFactors for some time. I am equally aware that even among the SAP ecosystem, design - as one dimension of meeting customer need - isn't always top of mind. That is despite the fact SAP has a  focus on design thinking and talks about it at every technical event I've attended the last couple of years. Clearly the work isn't translating into perception.

I suspect this is something to do with the way Workday has gone back to the drawing board to build a great mobile experience and how well that has been received by analysts. When Phil Wainewright and I were given a sneak preview earlier in the year, I have to admit to being smitten by what I saw. It's rare to say this about enterprise software but what Workday put in front of us was genuinely breathtaking. In part because it was unexpected, but in part because they showed us what I term 'self evident' applications, where the obvious training required to get things done is minimal to zero.

Image credit - © Photo-K - Fotolia


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