But most relevant to this notion of a revolution is that more than 40% of Workday customers switched over from one of the few remaining top-tier traditional ERP software vendors, according to numbers provided by Bhusri.
“2010 is the year that cloud computing reached the mainstream,” Bhusri told attendees. “Five years from now, people will look back and say this time frame was the tipping point when anything that was innovative came through the cloud model.”
The co-CEOs emphasis on the cloud computing revolution may have seemed a little removed to, say, HR managers in the audience more focused on the features and functions of Workday HCM than the dynamics of the enterprise software industry. (And, they’ll learn plenty of drill-down product details during sessions taking place throughout the conference.)
But it’s clearly Duffield’s and Bhusri’s belief that the cloud computing revolution touches every one of its customers, as it upends the traditional approach to enterprise software and opens the door to more rapid and useful innovations.
Take multitenant system architectures, which Bhusri noted are used by the who’s who of cloud computing: Google, Amazon, Salesforce.com, Rackspace, and of course, Workday. Multitenant means that Workday can update customers at the same time, providing a steady and predictable schedule of new features and functionality. Multitenancy lets vendors focus more resources on building great software and systems and their customers focus fewer resources on maintaining and upgrading systems. (In December, all customers are scheduled to go live on Workday 12).
Workday’s development approach also calls for separating the user interfaces from core applications, Bhusri said, which lets it keep pace with rapidly evolving user preferences. Phenomenal consumer reception of the Apple iPad, for example, points to the growing preferences of all users to be able to touch their way to information and navigate with fingers rather than mouse clicks. In Workday Labs, a newly formed research and innovation center, Workday is working on a prototype of an iPad application for Workday users.
“It’s innovating not for the sake of innovating,” Bhusri said, “but for making your work lives better.”