When I look at the business world today, especially the world I live in at Workday, I’m seeing a similar shift taking place with several points of convergence redefining the landscape. Take the changing relationship between finance and HR. Both are critical business partners, yet from a business and technology perspective they are traditionally two very disparate functions, both in terms of how they treat data and work with one another to support the business. However, a series of external forces have created a need for these functions to work smarter together, and that requires a technology architecture capable of supporting this closer collaboration.
On the business side, our world has moved from manufacturing to service-led economies, where organizations no longer measure profitability purely through the production of goods (using, for example, traditional ERP systems). Organizations are now moving to a more complex world where they need to measure and report on intangibles such as people and context. This means creating a better understanding of the relationship between people and finance. On another level, the continued globalization of business, and factors such as Brexit in the UK and an overhaul of the Affordable Care Act in the U.S., mean organizations must be more agile and be able to deploy and manage a mobile workforce through times of constant change.
Then there are macro drivers, or what Gartner describes as “the Nexus of Forces: Social, Mobile, Cloud and Information,” coming together to change the way businesses can and should operate at every level. This could include the use of analytics for better decision-making, delivering enterprise applications through a consumer-grade user experience via a mobile device, or encouraging social collaboration efforts throughout the workplace.
It may sound like a case of which came first, the chicken or the egg, but what we’re really talking about is a continued demand from customers to do things better and more efficiently, and to create the technology to help us deal with a business world that is anything but certain. Just as the Apple iPod and Microsoft Office were symbols of change, we believe that cloud vendors, including Workday, Salesforce, Amazon, Google, Box, and Slack will be the iconic brands synonymous with transforming the way we work and will define the “new normal.”