Message Is Clear at Adaptive Live 2020: You’re Essential—and So Is Modern Planning

More than 2,500 attendees joined us for our virtual Adaptive Live conference. Read on for the highlights, including how our customers are using Workday Adaptive Planning to adapt to a rapidly changing world, and where we’re investing to ensure our planning platform keeps pace with the demands of your business.

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If you happened to join us last week for our first-ever virtual Adaptive Live conference, you heard the story of ChristianaCare, a healthcare system that, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, managed to transform its old annual budget process into a far more responsive monthly forecasting cycle. And in what can only be described as a triumph of business agility, ChristianaCare made the switch not in four or six months (as many might expect), but in just four days.

Kevin Kain, director of FP&A at the healthcare organization, assured Adaptive Live attendees via live video from his home that the use of our modern planning platform is helping ChristianaCare face an uncertain future with confidence: “We’re ready for what’s next.”

Throughout all the keynotes and breakout sessions at Adaptive Live 2020, the message to finance and operations professionals came through loud and clear: You’re essential. It’s impossible to imagine your organizations operating without you even under normal circumstances. And now, with extraordinary pressures on your business, you’re more essential than ever.

It was exciting to see that more than 2,500 customers and prospective customers took the time to attend our virtual version of Adaptive Live. We all gathered in what has become a new normal: largely working from home, staying fully productive while keeping our families and colleagues safe. Some of you have even completed quarterly closes from home. It all reinforced the fact that so many have risen to the challenge and helped your businesses get ready for what’s next. In fact, in just one week in March, our customers created 30 times more forecasts and scenarios than we see in a typical week. And since the emergence of this global pandemic, modeling and recalibrating has increased by 15 times on average.

A New Name and Strategic Commitment to Planning

As everyone knows, change is constant. It’s been nearly two years since Workday completed its acquisition of Adaptive Insights, and since then planning has become an integral part of the Workday product suite. In fact, planning is now so fundamental to Workday’s vision that Vice Chairman Tom Bogan took the opportunity at Adaptive Live to unveil a new name for our solution: Workday Adaptive Planning. The new name marries two respected brands and reflects our best-in-class value as a stand-alone planning solution—which has earned recognition from customers and analysts alike—and our better-in-suite advantages as a strategic part of the Workday product portfolio. 

Workday Adaptive Planning reflects Workday’s commitment to providing solutions that work together, including enterprise planning, spend management, financial management, human capital management, and analytics. Only Workday offers solutions that enable you to plan, execute that plan, and then analyze the results—all in one place. 

In her keynote, Robynne Sisco, Workday co-president and CFO, drove home the value that Workday places on enterprise planning. “The value of doing accounting and planning in a single system,” she noted, “is our holy grail.” 

A Solution Worthy of Essential Work

To support the essential work you’re doing, we’ve been working in overdrive to make sure our modern planning platform delivers the scale, resilience, intelligence, and interconnectivity you need to keep pace with the demands of your business. Last year, Workday invested $1.1 billion in research and development, with a significant amount devoted to Workday Adaptive Planning. 

So where did we make our investments? In four key areas.  

We’ve enhanced the way we enable company-wide planning to allow all parts of the business to plan together. A big part of this is something we call federated planning, which enables each functional planning area or business unit to have its own instance of Workday Adaptive Planning. While each group can create granular plans, Workday preserves the ability to bring all those plans together to gain a holistic view of the plan across the enterprise.

We also made federated planning easier with Active Dashboards, which allows stakeholders to blend driver-based planning with interactive analytics so they can assess the impact of their changes in real time.

We evolved our intelligent and scalable platform, which is critical to support the largest enterprises and ensure decision-makers can trust their plans and identify the subtle drivers of their business. Tapping the scale and resilience of our Elastic Hypercube technology, customers like Airbus are shortening the path to making informed, data-driven decisions. The aeronautics giant has accelerated its workforce planning processes by 70% with Workday Adaptive Planning. Think about it: If our platform can keep up with the task of aligning worker demand with supply and improving decisions with multiple what-if scenario modeling, all at a global enterprise with 110,000 employees, imagine what it can do for you.

We also developed machine-learning powered anomaly detection—a groundbreaking capability that automatically alerts planners when user inputs are likely erroneous. And more granular access rules give finance the confidence that users across the business are viewing and working with just the data they need for their plans.

Then there’s our commitment to the Power of One, a seamless better-in-suite experience that allows you to build financial and workforce plans and see them ripple through your Workday Financial Management, Workday Human Capital Management, and Workday Prism Analytics systems. It’s the power of working within one environment and from one source for data. And it’s one of the advantages of planning, executing, and analyzing in Workday.

At the same time, we remain an open platform and support integration with more than 200 transactional systems and data sources. “You can be confident in our commitment to provide Workday Adaptive Planning as a stand-alone solution that is open to any source system,” Workday Co-Founder and CEO Aneel Bhusri told attendees. In fact, this past year, we enhanced our integration framework, simplifying how customers can export data from Workday Adaptive Planning to other cloud-based platforms.  

Coming Soon to Help You Plan for a Changing World

Of course, here at Workday, we’re always looking ahead to help you plan for what’s next—whatever that may be. So during the first few weeks of the pandemic, our customer success team connected with 1,000 customers. Their goal was to find out exactly what customers are going through and how we can help them not just survive these challenging times, but thrive in them. We’re rapidly building new solutions to address the challenges customers shared, particularly as we all are likely to have to plan for greater levels of business agility for the foreseeable future. 

Meanwhile, we’ll also be rolling out several new features in Workday Adaptive Planning that my team has been working to deliver later this year.  

  • Derived dimension values will provide the ability to dynamically assign dimensionality to data based on a set of rules. Think of this as a rich rules-based lookup. This will accelerate planning by minimizing manual input.

  • Easier ad hoc analysis in OfficeConnect means you can slice and dice data right within Excel.

  • Power of One enhancements will focus on helping you seamlessly execute your financial and workforce plans. For instance, improved data surfacing will give you an up-to-date and granular view so you can compare hiring actuals against the workforce plan. 

  • Our intelligent time-series prediction engine will use machine learning to help you identify business drivers from various financial and operational data and targets. For instance, if you’re looking closely at a sales target, our system will help identify business drivers like seasonality, sales rep ramp, attrition, and hiring ability, and then use those drivers to create high-fidelity baseline plans. 

  • And anomaly detection, now available to a limited number of customers, will be available to all customers later this year.

It’s Not Too Late to Experience Adaptive Live 2020

Couldn’t join us for Adaptive Live 2020 last week? Well, I’ve got fantastic news. You can catch every moment—every keynote, customer spotlight, tips and tricks session, and partner roundtable—at your convenience. 

  • Learn how one company on the front lines of the pandemic used Workday Adaptive Planning to build not just a budget process for 2020, but a strategic plan to triple revenues by 2023.

  • Find out what you should focus on first for a deployment or expansion in this new work-from-home reality.

  • Discover how a customer is using automation to offload budget planning responsibilities for business stakeholders so they can spend more time dealing with pandemic-related challenges.

You’ll also discover best practices for ASC 606 commissions and collections, global revenue modeling, connecting operational planning and project execution, contingency planning—a trove of firsthand knowledge and expert guidance. Better still, you’ll find plenty of encouragement from peers who are having success unleashing the power of modern planning to tackle the challenges we’re all facing today.

Simply visit our Adaptive Live 2020 site, and we’ll get you going to stream the event on demand.

We’re in This Together

It was an honor for all of us to virtually gather with our customers and partners last week. I’ll say it again: You, and the work you do, are essential. It’s this knowledge that drives our passion to deliver a modern planning platform that is essential to your success.

Watch Adaptive Live 2020.

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