4 Questions for Cushman & Wakefield CIO Craig Cuyar

Following Workday's Technology Summit, Cushman & Wakefield CIO Craig Cuyar shared what he believes is most important for a strong customer-vendor partnership.

We recently hosted a small group of influential industry analysts covering our space at our annual Workday Technology Summit to hear what was on their minds, and for Workday executives to share more about our product and technology roadmap.

Also joining was our customer Craig Cuyar, CIO at Cushman & Wakefield. Analysts were really interested in what Craig had to say, particularly around his experience of using just one vendor for financials, human resources, and recruiting— three of the company’s most critical business applications.

We met with Craig after the event and asked him to share a bit more of his perspective.

Cushman & Wakefield has been live on Workday Financial Management and Workday Human Capital Management for about three months. How did you arrive at the decision to select Workday?

Our CFO and I really advocated for Workday, because we recognized the opportunity to greatly reduce operating expenses and optimize IT’s support of the business. We did have to convince our CHRO, who was a little skeptical at the time. After the first few demos, however, I think the use case became obvious and we realized that moving to the cloud with Workday could offer us a way to outsource what wasn’t a core competency of the company.

Choosing a vendor is like choosing a mate—if you’re “locking in,” it better be to the right one.

During the Technology Summit, you were asked whether you had any concerns about “vendor lock-in,” since you’re using just one vendor for some of your most critical applications. Can you talk a bit about that?

I view being on one application stack as an advantage rather than a risk. With a unified system we can all speak the same language across our finance and HR departments, and we have one single source of the truth. If those applications were from different vendors, it would be complicated to combine the data and get real insights out of it. That said, choosing a vendor is like choosing a mate—if you’re “locking in,” it better be to the right one. We realized with Workday that our values, culture, and long-term vision are aligned, which allows this to be a true partnership.

You talked at the Technology Summit about buying based on Workday’s roadmap and partnership despite the fact that there wasn’t a complete match to the exact features you wanted. Can you talk more about the considerations Cushman & Wakefield used when comparing vendors?

It probably sounds risky that we chose a suite of applications that didn’t meet 100% of the features we wanted at the time we made our decision, but when it came down to it, we were moved to action by the time to value, the business process framework, and Workday’s configuration possibilities. We thought hard about what we would need to handle any future change and growth at Cushman & Wakefield, and decided to make our decision based on that. It became obvious Workday provided a clear roadmap for innovation.

We realized with Workday that our values, culture, and long-term vision are aligned, which allows this to be a true partnership.

One of Workday’s unique differentiators is how we continually invest in our platform to keep scaling it and to deliver new innovations to customers as quickly as possible. However, this may not be well understood in the market and came up at the Technology Summit as well. Craig, when asked whether it’s time for Workday to “refresh” its platform, you gave a thoughtful answer. Can you share your perspective on Workday’s approach?

For enterprise software, this is a real mind shift, but my response to that question was, “When is the last time Google refreshed its platform? What about Facebook?” Taking everything offline and revamping an entire platform at once is the way of the past. By receiving smaller feature updates, we know we’ll always be using the very best technology available at that time. It gives us the ability to continuously innovate, find more efficient processes within our business framework, and feel confident in a security model. So in many ways, continuous innovation―and the advantage that provides to Cushman & Wakefield―is the foundation of our partnership.

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