Workday Works Wonders on Platform for HCM

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a software category that includes an array of business applications that includes human resources and finance. Workday is a vendor at the center of a new generation of ERP. My colleague Robert Kugel recently covered that company’s advances in finance using cloud computing to operate its platform. And I recently attended Workday’s technology analyst summit, where I got a deeper view of the technology under its applications and its efforts to perfect its processing potential. The company’s platform can support a broad range of applications, and it is advancing its efforts in analytics, collaboration and business planning. Today, however, only Workday itself is allowed to build applications on the platform, a situation that contrasts with many other ERP vr_HCA_08_spreadsheet_users_seek_productivityproviders that make theirs available to third-party software developers and consultants.

At the summit Workday demonstrated the cloud-based spreadsheet technology that it acquired in 2015. Referred to as worksheets, it is embedded in its platform. Workday insists on the value of having a spreadsheet on its platform to provide flexibility for workers in the lines of business. We think it is a smart approach to bind spreadsheets into the platform as our benchmark research frequently finds that using them independently can be unproductive and even problematic in an enterprise setting. I did not agree with Workday’s presentation on the history of analytics and spreadsheets in computing; analytics and decision support systems were in business use well before spreadsheets were invented and date back to the 1970s and have been maturing for some time. But worksheets adds flexibility for the analytic in Workday Planning. With this addition, this application now competes with products of Workday’s partners, even ones in which it has invested such as Anaplan and Tidemark.

Planning is an essential business function that most organizations do not manage effectively in finance, HR and operations, and Workday’s efforts to unify planning like that needed to administrate the workforce can help organizations to optimally manage their business processes. Our research on next-generation business planning finds that two-thirds of organizations in which planning is integrated and its elements are linked said their planning processes work well or very well.

I am impressed by what Workday has introduced in its collaboration capabilities, which are blended with Worksheets, unlike in the majority of analytics and planning products in the market today in which have no collaboration or not easily accessed from within planning. Some of its technologists have significant experience in developing collaborative vr_NGBP_02_integrated_planning_works_bettercapabilities, and I expect that the company will be able to exploit embedded collaboration across its platform for social collaboration, which works much better than email or external tools that don’t maintain the contexts of discussions. Workday enables Worksheets and collaboration to operate across mobile platforms but also secures the data they use. As part of its platform, the application can access data in real time to provide up-to-date information and enable fast actions. These advances will not be available until the next upgrade, Workday 26, and more fully available in Workday 27, both of which the company says it plans to release in 2016.

Workday also demonstrated to analysts its Workday Insight Applications architecture, which provides analytics and metrics that are shaped into applications and used by its tools. It has continued to embed advanced technology including Apache Spark, machine learning and elastic search as part of its approach to big data and analytics. Probably most valuable are the simpler user experience and the ability to seamlessly present third-party information from across the Internet and within the enterprise. Workday has some work to do on data preparation and integration of other applications and systems, but I don’t doubt it’s assertions that it will deliver a simpler approach to the presentation of metrics and context for individual roles. Using its advances in collaboration and planning Workday will be able to set goals and track key performance indicators, which can fulfill the promise of scorecards and performance management for business. My colleague Robert Kugel outlined the finance overlap of ERP and performance management recently that outlines this shift This would help businesses focus on achieving their full potential.

The latest release of the platform, Workday 25, was the highlight of the annual Workday Rising conference last fall of 2015, also has advanced its suite of applications. Its human capital management (HCM) applications provide not only the core HR functions through self-service methods but also management of recruiting, learning, benefits, performance, time tracking and payroll – subtle but significant improvements since our last analysis in 2014. It also includes packaged application-specific dashboards. A vr_NGLearning_07_learning_investments_are_increasingnew application called Workday Learning can help workers improve their job performance to realize their potential in the organization. Our research into next-generation learning management finds that nearly half of companies have increased their investments in learning. Workday now provides more flexibility to connect to third party payroll through its payroll interface and with what it calls Payroll Effective Change Interface (PECI). Workday has advanced its partnership with ADP to streamline access and processing of payroll. Our research into payroll management finds that vr_Payroll_Management_01_integrated_payroll_management_provides_valuepayroll management integrated with talent management helps organizations establish more effective processes. Workday did not mention compensation management, during the analyst summit . The company sees this application as a capability of HCM, and could use the worksheets technology for modeling and analytics and adding workflow that operates across management, managers and workers.

I really like what Workday is doing in the area of employee engagement, which I see as essential to ensuring worker satisfaction and retention. Workday has built a framework to run campaigns and surveys to measure feedback and provide recommendations for how workers can improve their performance. This framework streamlines the process for job offers and acceptances, which most organizations now do manually. Workday is also advancing its efforts in workforce management to integrate with time clocks, support checking in and out, and manage absences and time off; it also has added abilities to track time worked by job type and to process large volumes of time entries.

Workday has set the bar high for business applications in the cloud with its progressive approach to its applications and platform and by embracing the new generation of innovative technologies in analytics, collaboration and mobility. Its platform is well prepared to advance nearly all aspects of human capital management for organizations and help HR increase its value to the business. Workday is on a mission to provide applications for HR, payroll, benefits, talent management and workforce management to ensure it can meet the merits of what is called human capital management. If you have not examined Workday’s products to see what is available today and what is coming in 2016, I recommend doing so.


Mark Smith

CEO & Chief Research Officer

Diabolocom Provides Customer Interaction in the Cloud Solution

In our benchmark research into contact centers in the cloud, nearly two-thirds (63%) of companies said that adopting applications in the cloud would enable them to improve how they handle customer interactions, and slightly fewer than half (44%) said that adopting vr_CCC_actions_to_improve_customer_interaction_updatedcommunication systems in the cloud would deliver similar benefits. Several vendors now provide such systems. Diabolocom is the latest one to brief me on its products. Founded in 2005 and having around 30 employees, it has headquarters in France (and its website is in French), but it has a global presence, primarily for supporting French companies that have offices around the world. Its contact center  products are available only in the cloud and extend beyond basic multichannel communications to other applications connected with handling customer interactions.

Diabolocom has a business model different from that of most other vendors in this market. It is a Tier 2 telecommunications service provider, which means that it does not own any cable in the ground but provides telecommunication services by partnering with Tier 1 providers and providing its own services using their networks. It has partnerships and data centers around the world and at present supports companies in 15 countries. This number is expected to grow as the company intends to expand from mainly supporting French companies with overseas sites to supporting local companies. This arrangement is conducive to providing contact center in the cloud services, as it can manage calls from their point of origin to the agent selected to handle the interaction.

Its primary offering is Engage, a suite of products that manage voice, email, social interaction, chat and short message services. Engage Voice has capabilities to manage inbound and outbound phone calls and IVR. It supports analog and IP telephony, automatic call dialing to route calls to agents, click-to-call so agents can call a customer by clicking on its number, and Web-based call-back so that customers can visit the website and arrange to be called back. In addition, supervisors can listen to calls to monitor performance and provide assistance. The Voice system supports a full set of IVR capabilities and comes with point-and-click tools that enable business users to set up menus that suit specific requirements. These menus can be used in conjunction with similar point-and-click capabilities to set up call-routing rules based on agents’ skills, call priority, wait times and source of the call. Users can set up customized screens for agents and supervisors using widget-based techniques so that organizations can build such interfaces to meet their needs. The Diabolocom “window” can be embedded in CRM systems such as or run in stand-alone mode with integration to those systems. The outbound capabilities support windows that allow business users to set up complex outbound call campaigns by selecting data from drop-down boxes, which also can be integrated with CRM systems. Extensive reporting capabilities show agents, supervisors and business users how well individuals, interaction-handling processes and the system are performing.

Engage Email supports a similar set of capabilities to handle large volumes of email. Phone calls can be routed based on a comprehensive set of rules that can be overridden if volumes exceed set limits. One key feature is the ability to build libraries of canned responses that agents can select and customize to provide personalized responses. As well as voice and email there are similar ranges of tools to support interactive chat sessions and handling of SMS messages, including rules that determine which agents can handle which types of interactions. The company’s product set also includes Monitor [], which allows companies to record phone calls, analyze them and use the outputs to focus agent training and identify root causes of customer interactions or possible cases of fraud so that preventive actions can be put in place. In total, Engage provides a comprehensive set of capabilities that allow organizations to manage multichannel engagement in sophisticated ways.

By combining its telecommunication services, data centers and the use of its products, Diabolocom offers two other services. Reach allows it to run hotline services for companies based on numbers chosen by the company, and Network enables it to provide hosting services for clients’ systems and networks.

Despite its being such a young company, I am impressed by the scope of its products and services. All its products have been developed in-house, the capabilities are tightly integrated, and the user interface has a modern look and is and easy to use. Business users can take control of the systems with only basic support from IT, and carry out tasks in hours that used to take days. A potential issue is that the native language for the system is French, but the company offers an option in English. System setup and operation is also fast and easy, requiring few in-house resources; Diabolocom claims to be able to set up a company in a matter of hours. As I already remarked, the company plans to expand beyond serving French companies, so companies looking to adopt contact center in the cloud services should assess how it can help those efforts.


Richard J. Snow

VP & Research Director