Often, large prospective customers want to discuss employee count, transactions per second, and other scale metrics. We almost always have customers with similar or greater volume, but to best help them, we need to get behind the numbers and understand their business, and all the associated use cases. Although raw numbers can be an indicator, they don’t tell the whole story.
Consider two existing Workday customers that, from the outside, appear very similar. Each organization shares the following characteristics:
- Large enterprise Workday Human Capital Management (HCM) customers.
- Leaders in digital transformation.
- More than 300,000 full-time employees.
- Hire more than 50,000 employees annually.
- Thousands of contingent workers.
At the outset, these two customers would appear to have similar requirements: they have similar employee counts, are growing their businesses at similar rates, and hiring at a rapid rate. However, we need to look beyond these headlines and examine how their businesses actually operate and what they need to be successful; it’s only then that we understand the true requirements.
These two customers are from different industries—one is in the retail sector and the other is in professional services. But even within their own industries, every customer is unique, and the factors that enable success will differ in nuanced ways. It’s only through our repeated successes of bringing multiple large enterprises live on Workday that we acquired the knowledge and expertise to do this.
Whether supporting 5,000 or 500,000 employees, every Workday deployment starts with a deep review and characterization of the customer’s business and use cases. This exploration seeks to understand the detailed nature of how the company operates, because we truly need to know everything from the obligatory employee counts and transactions-per-second (TPS) rates to the many other details that can have a huge impact.
We take into consideration all of the following:
- How users will interact with the system.
- Reporting requirements.
- How existing and future business processes can be optimized.
- What integrations and third-party systems are in scope.
- How seasonal factors influence the business.
- How the solution will support the transformation of the business.
Let's return to our example and illustrate how seemingly similar business requirements can diverge and result in quite different challenges.
The Seasonal Hiring Challenge
Both customers are growing their employee counts at a similar rate annually. However, while our professional services customer is growing at a steady rate throughout the year—a relatively standard scalability challenge—the retail customer condenses its hiring into a short time window.
The challenge begins with the retail customer driving up interest in its open positions through intensive marketing campaigns. As the chart shows below, hiring ramps up in September, October, and November, in anticipation of the holidays. This results in a surge of applications—a wave of online activity hitting our user interface infrastructure—and the first test of our scalability.
As soon as the job applications, which can exceed over 35,000 daily, are submitted into the system, hundreds of recruiters start their review processes, more than 100,000 reports are run daily, background checks are run, and job requisitions are submitted—driving further waves of workload to hit the reporting, integration, and machine learning resources within Workday HCM.
Our scalable Workday architecture ensures that the appropriate capacity is allocated to the relevant resources as and when it’s needed, with specialized and multi-role resources adapting and flexing to the different transaction types as the business activities proceed and complete. In other words, what can be a challenging time with legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems is business-as-usual with Workday.