Located: Pleasanton, California
Products: Human Resources, Payroll and Financial Management
Key Customers: Flextronics, Chiquita Brands, H.B. Fuller, Salesforce.com,
Blog: Workday Blog
I asked Workday’s Chief Technology Officer Stan Swete a few questions about Workday and the Company’s view of the SaaS market in 2009.
Did you start out as a Software-as-a-Service company?
Since its inception in 2005, Workday has always been a Software-as-a-Service company. Our co-founders, Dave Duffield and Aneel Bhusri, both spent many years in the on-premise world and identified the opportunity for industry change. Business software that was designed in the 80s and 90s had become far too complex and expensive to deal with, and it wasn’t meeting the needs of contemporary organizations. There was a big opportunity to scrap all traditional software, start from scratch and take an entirely new approach. Just 3 years out of the gate, Workday delivers Human Resources, Payroll and Financials – all via SaaS.
Why do your customers buy from Workday?
First, low cost of ownership and fast time to value are huge right now. Companies that are using on-premise applications are looking to get out from under the maintenance burden and many are turning to SaaS. And, since SaaS can be implemented quickly, many Workday customers are measuring fast returns.
Second, customers are looking for innovation. As I mentioned earlier, most on-premise software was built in the 80s and 90s. Workday is new – built from the ground-up on modern Web-based technologies. We’ve incorporated search, links and tags throughout the application, making it intuitive for the user. And, by the nature of the SaaS model, the product is always getting better.
Finally, and we take this very seriously, we are committed to being a trusted partner. Our customers are our most valued and important partners, and in fact, our product is a direct reflection of their feedback. Workday has recently achieved a 100 percent customer satisfaction rating, and we attribute this to our commitment to them as partners.
What do you see as the key trend emerging in the SaaS industry?
Especially because of the hassles associated with on-premise maintenance and upgrades, companies will continues to replace their current traditional systems with SaaS. I think the bigger driver over the next 18 months may be that companies start really looking at how to emerge from the tough economic environment in a strong leadership position – having a modern technology footprint will be a central part of those efforts.
What is your outlook for 2009?
SaaS is ready for the enterprise. We’ve hit a tipping point, and “Enterprise-Ready SaaS” will continue to prove itself this year as large companies continue to go live on Workday and other best-of-breed providers. Mid- and large-sized companies will continue to select SaaS for many of the reasons I’ve outlined above: lower cost of ownership, faster time to value, continued innovation, and vendor commitment to be trusted partners.
Thank you to Stan Swete, Jeff Pulver and Christine Cefalo for contributing to this profile.