On the architecture side, that means leading the discussion on how we grow and evolve and scale the underlying architecture. That’s how we’ll ensure our customers will be customers for life. They need to be confident in our ability to grow and evolve with them.
I think about that evolution like this: We have to design a new engine, build it, and swap it out for the old one while the plane is flying. That’s actually one of the most exciting elements of the role for me, and that constant change has only accelerated over the past couple of years. I get to manage the development side of that and talk about it to the outside world.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your role?
We’re continuing to go after the bigger markets or the bigger customers within markets that we're already in, and we have huge ambitions around increasing our product footprint, too. At the same time, we have to stay focused on how best to walk the path to achieve those goals.
In my view, the great advantage Workday has is that we have the full breadth of any kind of tech problem you can get interested in. Our team is involved in everything: world-class, consistent, and highly scalable transaction engines; complex machine learning models; the data pipelines feeding machine learning; and good, old-fashioned application development. They’re all part of our platform.
Which emerging technologies are you most interested in right now?
Machine learning (ML) is an area that always interests me. I ran Workday’s ML group for about a year and a half, and there's still a lot of opportunity there for us, like applying the latest ML innovations to the enterprise data set through our business data graph.
Blockchain is another fascinating area. We are spending a lot of time with blockchain to understand how it works and to scope out the potential future use cases for it within the Workday platform. Now that we're starting to come off the overly hyped portion of blockchain’s life cycle, we’re looking at how we can apply it to increase transactional consistency and strengthen the truth of data. We are still in the very early days, but there's a lot of potential there for us.
The third area I’m focusing on is the connectivity of systems. What are the most efficient ways to connect Workday with the other business services our customers are using? Getting this one right will help our customers integrate across systems more efficiently and will bring them a lot of value. It will also be a real enabler of our focus on the CIO community and making their life easier with our enterprise software, introducing simplicity into their world instead of adding complexity. I think it's going to be important for how the industry evolves.