Workday Rising: Sneak Preview from Leighanne Levensaler

leighanneleighanneWorkday’s annual user conference, Rising is in Chicago this week. The European version is in Barcelona in a few weeks.

It’s always an enjoyable event with “The Citizens of the Cloud” – some of the happiest customers in the world. Founders Dave Duffield and Aneel Bhusri showcase an entertaining keynote, and this year I am looking forward to hearing a talk from Peter Diamandis, one of the most positive futurists. After all the pessimism I heard in writing Silicon Collar, I could use the revelry and optimism.

I caught up with Leighanne Levensaler, SVP Products and she kindly gave me a sneak preview of what we can expect next week

Pace of Innovation: Aneel and Dave will kick off the keynote by discussing the company’s rapid pace of innovation – throughout the conference it will be illustrated how Workday is uniquely able to deliver features and functions at a pace like never before. Because of this, they have the ability to quickly move forward with new areas of technology investment across the platform including content creation and data storytelling, creating a more intelligent system, and collaboration and deeper analytics. So we’ll see some reflection in why their earlier decisions made around an having one unified system – built from the ground up – as well as Workday’s customer approach, are driving fast development and bearing fruit like the market hasn’t seen. This is essentially what will continue to differentiate Workday moving forward.

Customer Success: Many sessions will showcase what customers are doing with Workday, from the main stage to breakouts. Workday customers Airbnb and Hitachi will share their experiences in the customer keynote session – as very different global, disruptive organizations, they are similar in thinking about how they can best prepare for the future through growth, culture, and the evolution of business practices. Throughout the event, whether it’s finance, HR, payroll – Workday will be highlighting the stories of live, happy customers who are driving great business value and results.

New Products: Workday made big promises last year about their intent to build new products in the learning and planning space, and even earlier shared intent to develop a system for higher education, so we’ll see if they will deliver on these next week at Rising. As with past product offerings, Workday has emphasized its ongoing mission to re-imagine broken processes and cumbersome, outdated systems that are often disconnected from how organizations want and need to operate. These are systems that people try to avoid, or when forced to use, do so begrudgingly. They deflated resources and energy of organizations because they fostered redundancies, inefficiencies, and confusion.

Workday believes these systems need to be reinvented to mirror the way people actually want to work, which is what it intends with all of its products, to help customers improve engagement across their organizations, enable people to grow their skills to fuel purpose and progress, and find ways to cut confusion and meaningfully contribute.

New Advancements in Data and Analytics: Workday will also showcase its progress to date on the acquisition of Platfora. We’ll hear about the advancements their teams have made and roadmap around bringing in operational data into the hands of managers.

We will also see some interesting features and forays into new territories in the data space – Senior Vice President of User Experience Joe Korngiebel has some tricks up his sleeve that will be sure to wow the audience and customers – showing how they are delivering a more intelligent Workday system and new offerings that enable customers to do so much more with the data they have.

There you go – sandwiched between Oracle’s bold assault on Amazon last week and Salesforce’s ambitious Einstein AI announcements the week after, Workday wants to say along with Arby’s “We have the Meats.”

(Cross-posted @ Deal Architect)

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