Cloud HCM and the Turning of the Tide

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The ‘big 3’ of the Cloud HCM world are SAP/SuccessFactors, Workday and Oracle HCM Cloud. Each of the suites has its respective strengths and weaknesses, and situations in which it’s most likely to win in customer head-to-head battles. Being a keen watcher of the ecosystem I’m starting to wonder whether the status-quo might be changing however. Here’s why …

Ignoring SuccessFactors for a moment, let’s focus on Workday and Oracle HCM Cloud.

Historically, if it’s a Workday win it’ll often be down to:

  • User Experience,
  • Workday’s image in the marketplace (strong marketing, focus on customer happiness), or
  • the way that they’ve demoed to the customer (a focus on convincing HR, and/or a superior pre-sales experience).

If it’s an Oracle win, it’ll often be down to:

  • Breadth of suite (a wider choice of modules covering more of what the business needs)
  • Depth of functionality (sheer number of localisations, and many Oracle modules are more ‘complete’, e.g. benefits, recruiting, learning)
  • the way that they’ve demoed to the customer (they’ve sold to the business as a whole, not just HR so other factors come in to play – such as integration, extensibility or the strength of ERP Cloud)

As someone who pays the bills consulting on Oracle HCM Cloud I’m clearly not impartial however I am starting to see signs that the scenarios listed above where Workday has the edge are starting to be reduced. Let’s take them one at a time …

User Experience

Oracle HCM Cloud’s User Experience has taken a huge leap forward in the last 12 months. The new responsive/newsfeed UI is a big step forwards on both desktop and mobile.

Let’s compare the two’s most recent versions:

Oracle HCM Cloud (as of Aug 2018)

cb40-hcm-topic-page-1-4419787 (1)

Workday ‘Canvas’ UI (as of WD31 later this year)

Canvas Desktop

I’m not saying any one of the above is better than the other – in fact, both are great looking systems compared to what we had not so long ago – but I don’t think Workday has the UX advantage that it once had.

Workday’s Image in the Marketplace

Everyone loves Dave Duffield (although I doubt he’s on Larry’s Christmas card list) and Workday as a company has certainly managed to garner a very positive image in the marketplace. There are starting to be signs that this is changing however.

Lawsuit

We’ve heard of the recent lawsuit where Workday is being sued (together with the SI) by Sacramento City Unified which says it didn’t deliver on a $5.2 million implementation, claiming “for approximately two years the project flailed, then ultimately failed. While Workday and Sierra-Cedar got paid, in the end, they put the district right back where it started with nothing to show after over two years. “

Industry thought leaders

Some high-profile HR luminaries are starting to question whether the accolades are justified:

Matt Charney (Editor-in-chief for Recruiting Daily, named a “Top Recruiting Influencer” by Huffington Post, Glassdoor, LinkedIn and Forbes, plus frequent HR public speaker)

‘When is Workday going to admit (in public) that their “ATS” product is vaporware? Someone really should file a class action against $WDAY.’

Source

William Tincup (HR Technology writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He’s a contributor to Fistful of Talent, Human Capital Institute, Human Capitalist, HRTechEurope, LinkedIn Talent Blog, and HRExaminer and also co-hosts a daily HR podcast called DriveThruHR.)

“Workday’s tagline “Built For the Future” is a wonderful twist on dramatic foreshadowing. Future, as in, you might actually receive usable software at some point in the future. For all the Workday apologists, I’m not attacking the brand nor the people that happen to work for Workday but if you are the darling of our industry you might want to consider releasing best of breed products rather than what you’ve released in recruiting, onboarding, compensation, and learning. ‘

Source (the comments thread on this article is also pretty enlightening)

Social Media

Here is a selection of complaints on Twitter:

Source

It’s clear that while the decision-makers higher up in the companies themselves might be pro-Workday, those who use the product on a daily basis sometimes have a different opinion.

chrome_2018-08-16_00-06-32

Summary

So, is the tide turning yet? Are the advantages that Workday had (the UI and the positive reputation) starting to be eroded? Time will tell, but this could be the start of a change.

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One thought on “Cloud HCM and the Turning of the Tide

    steve dorward said:
    August 21, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    hi, nice piece. you didnt cover “the way that they’ve demoed to the customer”…..in respect of other points….
    in terms of UX then number 1 without a doubt. including from an accessibility and usability perspective…..and I picked that before I knew number 2 was Oracle. Get a JAWS screenreader to access an Oracle UI.

    also cant really disagree with the points made in the article around wins!

    I think its best just to forget SuccessFactors :)…..IMHO clear blue water (pardon the color of vendor) between Workday/Oracle and SAP/SuccessFactors…

    I would say I really like the Oracle Visual Cloud builder which support Paas extension. well documented and easy to use….extensibility with Workdays offering coming soon to fast follower customers will be another key differentiation point…..oracle has the ability to package Cloud Platform on a single technology stack but has a tool which can be seen as overcomplex for a non-developer to get up and running. whilst Workdays will be simpler by definition that it will cover only Finance and HR and will be more drag and drop. Both platforms will SUFFER from clients desktop and mobile platform plans…..making the packing off apps to a secure unmanaged device pretty tricky..

    as a Lead architect who has over 20 years experience of first developing in Peoplesoft, deploying Oracle applications, designing HR applications then finally leading an architecture team to select a Cloud Saas product suite then I have an excellent grasp on all the pros and cons from an FS clients pespective around the big three!

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