Workday rolls out more features for large companies, aims at SAP and Oracle

Workday version 18 focuses on expanded financials capabilities for multinational enterprises

Workday on Monday unveiled a new set of enhancements to its cloud-based ERP (enterprise resource planning) software aimed at winning business from large multinational companies.

The announcement, made as Workday begins its Workday Rising user conference, continues a strategy the vendor has pursued for some time. As large companies weigh what to do with their aging on-premises ERP installations, many of which were implemented decades ago, Workday is hoping to beat out the likes of SAP and Oracle, which are both trying to offer companies more cloud-based software.

To that end, Workday version 18 features a beefed-up financial management component that includes improved global tax and payment capabilities; more detailed reporting functionality; and a "project scenario planning" feature that uses Workday's human-resources software along with the financials module, allowing managers to "allocate resources seamlessly across projects with details that include cost, worker availability, skills, and experience," according to a statement.

Workday 18 also features grants management and fund accounting for government bodies and educational institutions, Workday said.

Other new features in the update focus on human resources capabilities, such as a new employee profile system and the ability to punch in and out of work from mobile devices and web browsers.

Workday has also made additions at the platform level, with custom field management tools that make it easy for customers to configure the software to their liking, according to a statement.

The announcement comes in the wake of Workday's recent, highly successful IPO filing, which raised not only more than $600 million but also the company's public profile, which had already been on a steady climb.

Workday 18, however, provides substance to go along with the flash, according to analyst Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research.

"These back office products take time to get there, but the cloud model means they are iterating and innovating very quickly," Wang said. "If SAP and Oracle financials are a 10, Workday is a seven moving towards an eight. A 10 would be the ability to support every unusual use case. An eight [means] most global 2000 companies can use this."

Wang's company is seeing a "growing ERP refresh cycle," he said. "It starts with edge apps like talent, recruiting, expenses and projects, and eventually the core gives way as users and organizations want to tap into the innovations delivered in the cloud. The last to go is core finance, but more and more folks realize that this will go too."

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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Tags Internet-based applications and servicesapplicationsenterprise resource planningsoftwarecloud computingFinancial / taxinternetworkday

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Chris Kanaracus

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