Workday is expanding into new areas of the enterprise which it hopes will appeal to its current user base of finance and human resource professionals and help it attract new customers as well.
It rolled out the products, all of which had been previously announced, at this week's Workday Rising conference. All three products -- Learning, Planning and Student -- are "logical extensions" of core administrative functions already served by Workday and are "strategic areas that companies are investing in," said Leighanne Levensaler, the company's senior vice president of Product.
With input from its customers, Workday looks for opportunities to reimagine "old, broken processes" and outdated systems that workers often avoid using unless mandated to use them, Levensaler said.
In the case of Learning, for example, Levensaler said Workday seeks to replace clunky learning management systems with software that makes professional learning more like personal learning. Taking a cue from YouTube, this includes a heavy emphasis on video capabilities.
Other features include peer-to-peer learning tools that make it possible for anyone to create and share content, because "everyone is an expert on something," Levensaler said, and integration with Workday HCM that enables the software to offer content that is relevant to users.
"We know so much about people: their career interests, the skills they have, the skills they need, their location and information like are they a first-time manager," she said. "We can use all of that information, all of that context to target content."
Native reporting and analytics features can help organizations measure their learning activities for alignment with business priorities or other criteria. For example, after managers complete a development course, feedback can be captured from their reports in the following months to gauge the impact and value of the course.
Workday used feedback from controllers and other finance pros to design its Planning software, which includes a collaborative spreadsheet called Worksheets that allows teams to work with live data in spreadsheet-type format so that planning becomes more of a "collaborative ongoing discussion," Levensaler said, noting that planning and continuous forecasting are top priorities for finance pros thanks to a dynamic business environment characterized by rapid change.
According to a blog post by Joe Korngiebel, SVP of User Experience, Worksheets includes some 500 features, "including those our customers know and love such as SUMIF, VLOOKUP, CONCATENATE, and hundreds of other go-tos" as well a new functions such as one that will alert users when a particular area of a Worksheet changes or is completed, such as a manager finalizing his headcount number for the quarter.
Customers can upload existing xls, xlsx, csv, and txv files into Worksheets while keeping the same functions and formatting intact, Korngiebel wrote.
With Student, Workday hopes to capitalize on a market that Levensaler said is ripe for disruption. "Most student systems today are older than the students using them so, by definition, they are not relevant." The company worked with 40 educational institutions over the past three years to produce a holistic system that includes student recruiting, admissions, curriculum management, student records, academic advising, financial aid and student financials.
"We wanted the system to be more informative and engaging for students but also a more efficient and intelligent way to manage student information," Levensaler said.
So, for example, both students and administrators can access a view of student financial obligations, including information on non-financial attributes such as course enrollment and residency status. And because Workday Student leverages the Workday platform, student financial payments are connected with Workday Financial Management, which ensures the accuracy of payment data and streamlines payment processes. Once a tuition payment has been submitted, the information is automatically updated in the institution's revenue and expense statement for administrative staff to track.
In a blog post, Caleb Cornelius, associate vice president of student business services for Broward College, one of Workday's design partners, said he was especially excited about the predictive analytics capabilities in Workday Student. "With this kind of data, we can look at the student holistically, meaning not only classes and grades, but outside activities and appointments with tutors. This can help us plan ahead and anticipate things like a student falling into a bad financial situation or to intervene with a student who's struggling from missing multiple classes," he wrote.