Workday Plunges Into Crowded Data Analytics Field

Workday has become the latest company to plunge into the data-analytics game: the company’s new Big Data Analytics platform is an end-to-end solution for human-resources and financial-industry workers with a need to crunch multiple streams of data. But is that enough to stand out in a crowded analytics field?

In keeping with all the various trends over the past few years, Big Data Analytics is mobile optimized (the user can access reports and dashboards on a tablet or smartphone) and comes with a variety of analytics templates (the better for relatively untrained workers to quickly analyze data). Workday is positioning its product as a way to unify data spread across multiple systems—which is exactly how its competitors position their own analytics modules.

The five pre-built templates for HR include Market Compensation Comparison, which lets users compare Workday payroll data with “market averages from external benchmark studies and surveys,” according to the company; other templates include headcount and payroll-cost analysis, retention risk and impact analysis, and high performer analysis (which combines everything from an employee’s Workday data to their previous work experience and education).

The five templates for Finance include Competitive Benchmark, which merges Workday financial data with public data from rival companies’ financial-statement filings. There are also templates related to sales performance, revenue, customer profitability, and supplier sentiment (which, as with all sentiment analysis, draws heavily from social networks).

Workday isn’t revealing pricing information for the platform, but given the sheer multitude of data-analytics packages on the market, it’s likely that the cost will be competitive. The company is clearly attempting to leverage its existing relationships with companies by offering the ability to merge their Workday data with other datasets, which (at least in theory) would boost the utility of any existing Workday install. That might serve current Workday customers, but it could prove a harder sell to other companies that have a variety of analytics products from which to choose; and given how most of those other products also emphasize mobility and ease of use, it’s unlikely that those features in Workdata Big Data Analytics will stand out as a key selling point.

On the competitive front, Workday faces opponents in Oracle, which is also aggressively moving into the analytics space, and IBM, which is determined to become an unstoppable force in enterprise software. Salesforce and a variety of smaller IT firms offer tools for sentiment analysis and HR analytics. If Workday wants to stand out in this field, it has its work cut out for it.


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