Talent Management Software Spotlight: Workday

When Oracle orchestrated a hostile takeover of PeopleSoft in 2005, founding CEO David Duffield and chief strategist Aneel Bhusri took their revenge by starting Workday as a direct competitor, and offerings its services at a fraction of the rate of the bigger players. Just 7 years later when the company went public in 2012, it was valued at $9.5 billion. In November 2006, the company hit the ground running with its first application, Human Capital Management. August 2007 saw the launch of Workday Financials, and then in July 2011 it unveiled the first comprehensive administrative solution designed specifically for higher education. In September 2013, it launched its newest application, Big Data Analytics. Workday has hundreds of customers ranging from medium-sized businesses to Fortune 50 enterprises as well as educational institutions and government agencies.


The cloud-based Human Capital Management application from Workday currently includes the following 7 modules:

  • Human Resource Management. This module contains such key product areas as organization management (configurable structures for making changes in any type of organization); Compensation Management (to design, manage, and adjust compensation programs to meet complex global rewards requirements); Absence Management (to define, manage, and gain a complete view of a worker’s absences—whatever types they may be); Employee and manager self-service actions can be accessed through a web browser, including on mobile devices.
  • Benefits Administration. This module allows for the definition, adjustment and management of benefit plans that meet your unique requirements.
  • Workforce Planning and Analytics. Gain insight into your entire global workforce, even your on-demand workers. Because workforce planning, recruiting, and talent are unified in Workday, you receive accurate headcount plans from a single source, giving you a complete and up-to-the-minute picture of your workforce.
  • Talent Management. This module includes a variety of functions, including onboarding, goal management, performance management, succession planning, even career and development planning.
  • This module is purposefully built to transform the talent acquisition process. A mobile interface gives hiring managers and recruiters the freedom to collaborate and communicate from anywhere. It includes social sourcing, recruiting analytics, and complete visibility into the entire talent pipeline.
  • Payroll Solutions. This module combines flexibility, control, and insight to support the unique aspects of your organization’s specific requirements, whether domestic or global.
  • Time Tracking. This module simplifies global workforce management by configuring workflows, processes, and work rules in a single, consumer-driven application. It also allows you to control labor costs and compliance risks through seamless integration with Workday HCM and Workday Payroll.

On the G2 Crowd website, Workday receives an average 3.8 stars out of 5, which is a very solid showing. There are 44 reviews of the product, with 15 at the five-start level, 20 at the four-star level, 5 at the three-star level, 3 at the two-star level, and 1 at the one-star level.

Everyone seems to love the pricing, which is kept low because Workday manages the update process for everyone twice each year, which can be activated by customers on their own timeframe. While many highlighted the ability to customize nearly everything, others felt this makes it too complicated, especially for beginners. For the most part, however, people tend to rave about all the basic functionality Workday provides.

The main dislikes include poor documentation (both functional and technical), the relative immaturity of newer modules relative to other industry offerings (specifically the compensation and time tracking modules), and ongoing glitches and bugs in nearly all of the modules.

Reviewers seem fairly evenly divided among liking and disliking the user interface. This has tended to be the case amongst all the talent management software solutions I’ve reviewed. Apparently UI beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder. They are also divided when it comes to receiving support from Workday. The company has been growing by leaps and bounds over the past several years, which means they’ve had a hard time keeping up with having enough qualified support people available. This results in a good deal of variability among reviewers, with some extolling the virtues of Workday support and others decrying its deficiencies.

Here’s how Workday compares to the other talent management software solutions I’ve reviewed on an out-of-five scale:

Halogen TalentSpace             4.2

Cornerstone OnDemand         3.9

Workday                                 3.8

SuccessFactors                       3.5

Saba Software                         3.4

Kenexa                                    3.2

Oracle Taleo                           3.0

Needless to say, for a company that is just turning 8 years old, they’re getting a lot of things right early on.


January 14, 2015   Updated :March 14, 2015   talent management software, Workday   

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