Workday ships first app for higher education in strike against Oracle

Workday Student Recruiting is now generally available, but a full suite won't be released for another two years

Workday has made good on a promise it issued a year ago with the release Thursday of Workday Student Recruiting, the first in a series of apps it's developing for higher education institutions.

Student Recruiting has a two-fold purpose: to help college recruiters find the right applicants while tracking the costs and effectiveness of recruitment campaigns and to push that information into Workday's companion financial system.

Workday has been developing the recruiting app with the help of a "Noah's ark of the education world," spanning Ivy League schools such as Yale to technical colleges and community colleges, said Liz Dietz, vice president of student strategy and product management.

Along with sessions hosted at campuses, Workday development teams hold phone meetings every couple of weeks with schools, a process that matches up with the vendor's agile development methodology. "We fail early," Dietz said. "We start with a thin thread of a concept, show it to the [schools], and quickly iterate."

A key feature of Recruiting is its mobile interface, which is crucial for recruiters, Dietz said. "Recruiters are road warriors," she said. "Six months out of the year they're on the road," running events and meeting with prospective students.

Schools face a dilemma much like airlines have with filling planes, in that they want to ensure their classes are fully enrolled, but not over-enrolled, Dietz said.

Workday Recruiting provides a set of tools aimed at helping schools hit the right mark, such as the ability to define and assign recruiting territories; create and oversee recruitment campaigns; enter prospect data into the system from a smartphone while in the field; and analytics that show how campaigns are doing.

Schools who subscribe to student test data services can pull batches of that information into Workday through Web services, then apply a recruitment framework that selects students with the desired profiles.

Workday is targeting Student Recruiting for the U.S. and Canada to begin with, but will expand access globally as time and demand see fit, Dietz said.

While Workday is hoping to lure schools away from the likes of Oracle, which sells a widely used system called PeopleSoft Campus, the advantage Oracle and others have is a full-blown suite. Workday isn't promising it will have that until the end of 2016.

Nor is it providing a specific road map for future student applications, according to a spokesman.

However, Dietz indicated that a module focusing on student admissions will come soon, given that it follows the next logical step in a student's interaction with an institution.

Other planned applications include curriculum management, student records, financial aid and academic advising, according to a statement.

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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