Salesforce, Workday Form Yet Another Data Alliance

In a move seemingly tailor-made to send Oracle executives’ blood pressure through the proverbial ceiling, Salesforce and Workday have announced a wide-ranging plan to blend together their respective software portfolios.

That means Salesforce will integrate Workday features into products such as Salesforce Chatter, while Workday will bake Salesforce functionality into its own human-resources and financial software—Salesforce’s CRM, for example, will find its way into the Workday HCM and Financial Management platform.

In real-world terms, that means updates from Workday will appear in the Chatter interface; that Workday HCM users can inject Salesforce data into their financial and human-resources projects; and that developers who use Salesforce’s can integrate data from Workday platforms into their apps in development. If the relationship endures, it’s likely that the integrations will deepen over the next several quarters—but at this point, many details (including pricing and availability) remain unclear.

It’s been a big month for Workday: in addition to this new Salesforce alliance, the company recent announced a Big Data Analytics platform for human-resources and financial industry workers; the software’s pre-built templates focus on merging Workday data with outside datasets. While that’s potentially good news for existing Workday customers, the emphasis on leveraging Workday data potentially makes the platform a harder sell to non-Workday customers who have a variety of analytics platforms from which to choose.

Workday isn’t Salesforce’s first big alliance of the year: over the summer, the cloud-computing company announced a partnership with Oracle—a stunning move in many ways, considering how Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff spent years firing off verbal broadsides at each other at seemingly every opportunity. (Ellison once famously referred to Salesforce as “the roach motel of clouds,” while Benioff often swiped at Oracle’s early cloud efforts.) Under the terms of that nine-year agreement, Salesforce agreed to standardize on the Oracle Linux operating system, Oracle Database 12c and Java Middleware Platform, while Oracle planned to include Salesforce software in the Oracle Fusion HCM and Financial Cloud.

The alliance between Workday and Salesforce isn’t quite so unusual; indeed, given the extreme crowdedness of the cloud-computing field, such alliances may become increasingly common as companies look for ways to increase their audiences without expending quite so many resources. Nor does such a partnership pose an existential threat to Oracle. But it could give Larry Ellison something else to rage about.


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