Living the Dream – Annrai O’Toole and Workday iPhone

Today we announced support for the iPhone. As Ray Wang told IDG , enterprise solutions that don’t address mobility are ’so last century.It’s a pretty cool app that allows a our users to complete things like hiring (or firing) approvals, fill in expense claims and do lots of other things, while they are on the road.

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Today we announced support for the iPhone.  As Ray Wang told IDG , enterprise solutions that don’t address mobility are ’so last century.’

It’s a pretty cool app that allows  our users to complete things like hiring (or firing) approvals, fill in expense claims and do lots of other things, while they are on the road.

It seems pretty clear that there are many users who don’t need, or want, the full access to the Web based version to all of an application.  They just need to access the bits that matter to them.  In our case, it’s sort of “Twitter for Enterprise HCM”:  What will you approve (or deny) today?

Last Fall we decided to deliver a mobile solution. Just a few months later, it is now in production for all of our customers to take advantage of as they see fit.  One of the fundamental values of Software as a Service is this ability to deliver new capabilities – major new capabilities – in a very rapid timeframe for all of your customers.  Nothing new to install, maintain or manage…

However, there is quite a lot more to the app than meets the eye.  In a word it’s “dynamic”.  In fact, the whole architecture behind Workday is pretty dynamic — everything is an object graph and changes ripple thru the system instantaneously.  What is cool about this iPhone app is that, true to our architecture, changes in our application can now ripple out to the iPhone as well.

One of the clever pieces in our User Interface Server is that it dynamically assembles our application metadata so that the shape of of any given page is dynamically generated on the fly.  As new attributes or transactions are added to our application, so a new UI facet is generated to present those data and operations to the end user.

Therefore, our iPhone application is in fact a somewhat empty shell — it simply renders these UI facets locally on the iPhone.

So, as our application evolves with new transactions and data element, the iPhone app won’t need to be updated — it will just render what it is given.  This is a nice step forward.  It means that end users don’t need to download a new version of our iPhone app for every single minor update we make to our application.  It’s all dynamically being updated all the time.

Enterprise mobility has had a lot of attention over the last week.  I think the intersection between SaaS and enterprise mobility is a very exciting part of the discussion.

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