A great illustration of a single version of SaaS in action is Aviva’s rollout of Workday Human Capital Management (HCM). London-based Aviva is one of the world’s largest insurance companies and has grown largely through acquisitions, with 46,000 employees in 28 countries. Like many organizations, the company’s core business strategy is to operate as a single global organization that rapidly responds to customer needs. Because Workday is a single version of software delivered to every user, Aviva sees Workday HCM as providing managers and employees with improved decision-making and collaboration across the global workforce. That, obviously, ties right into the core strategy of operating as a single global organization.
Workday uses a phrase to summarize the value of this global insight with its Workday HCM offering: Visibility, Alignment, and Optimization. The idea is that once you have visibility into the entire workforce, you can align your employees to company goals, and optimize those resources for optimal business outcomes.
In a typical scenario five years after a large company’s global on-premise software rollout, some of its regions will have upgraded to the next version of the software and others won’t have for a number of possible reasons—the upgrade wasn’t in the budget, it wasn’t a priority for those regions, or those regions couldn’t find the right talent to implement the upgrade. What is the company’s visibility into its global workforce at that point? Unfortunately, visibility is probably getting worse every day, as each region gradually drifts away from that initial “global rollout” intended to bring visibility—another ERP silo bobbing aimlessly in the sea.
While it’s possible to do a single global instance of on-premise software, companies typically choose to roll out separate instances by region to better support local needs. SaaS can be a superior alternative for global rollouts when it provides companywide visibility while also providing local visibility and support of local requirements such as languages, currencies, country-specific data formats, business processes, and other locale-specific needs.
Here’s an example of what unity with SaaS looks like at Aviva, from the Workday case study, on the first phase of the rollout completed last year: