Business System Scalability, Reliability, and Innovation in the Post-Pandemic Era

As organizations and the world at large start to recover from the pandemic’s impact, IT has the opportunity to reevaluate practices established out of necessity and keep the most valuable ones.

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From an IT perspective, 2020 showed us that the rate of change can have dramatic impacts on technology needs and usage, and that workload demands on business-critical systems can quickly move from unpredictable to unprecedented. Now, more than ever, businesses demand reliable and resilient systems that constantly scale to meet their needs, regardless of how the world, their workforces, or workloads change.

As organizations and the world at large starts to recover from the pandemic’s impact, IT has the opportunity to reevaluate practices established out of necessity and keep the most valuable ones. Many IT leaders have been through an intense period of natural selection in tools and processes, and would be well served in prioritizing their strongest for the next time IT is asked to suddenly pivot. 

For those organizations that have yet to move to the cloud, the past year has made it abundantly clear that not being in the cloud can be a serious impediment to rapid response and resiliency. What’s more, companies are finding that leveraging  a true cloud system for their enterprise management functions—finance, human resources, and planning—isn’t just a differentiator. It’s existential. But we saw that just being deployed in the cloud alone was not enough, and that operating successfully in the cloud requires a balanced approach optimizing across reliability, scalability, and continuous innovation.

We saw countless examples where systems were overwhelmed, from state-run unemployment systems unable to process timely claims to fintech applications unable to manage high trading volume. To put it politely, last year was a real-life chaos monkey.

However, we also saw extraordinary examples of the value of “true cloud” in action. For example, we had customers use Workday in ways never seen before, from rapid shifts in operating model to shifting hospital workers across departments for a rapid COVID-19 response. Our transactional volumes were not only remarkably higher, but usage patterns were unpredictable and unprecedented. By taking a balanced approach to cloud service delivery, Workday was able and continues to deliver the highest levels of reliability, scalability, and innovation. 

Companies are finding that leveraging  a true cloud system for their enterprise management functions—finance, human resources, and business planning—isn’t just a differentiator. It’s existential.

Let’s explore some of the dimensions of true cloud service delivery and ongoing investment themes at Workday.

Reliability. While the world around us may be unpredictable, we view it as our responsibility to be predictable, especially when it comes to availability for our customers. And in 2020, we met this obligation with a service availability of 99.98%. We bring resources to bear when needed to meet the workload demand of our customers, whether it’s anticipated based on historical patterns, or even if it’s the first time we’ve seen anything like it. Also, with ongoing investments in proactive monitoring, we’re able to pinpoint issues and apply resources before they impact a customer. 

Scalability. As Workday and our customers have grown, we have not only kept up with demand, but also improved our performance over time. We are processing approximately 265 billion transactions per year. This is a scale unmatched in the cloud for finance, human resources, and business planning. And by the way, we are the only vendor in our space that offers a performance SLA for all customers, regardless of size or industry.

Continuous innovation. We progressively roll out changes and features in a sensible and easily consumable way, continuously enhancing the customer experience while avoiding regressions. And we do this without disrupting our customer’s operations. Some vendors make it seem like letting you choose when to make a disruptive upgrade is a good thing, but it’s not. Our philosophy is that just like with consumer applications, we can keep innovating Workday applications to deliver increased value with minimal pain.

Next time you evaluate a cloud vendor, ask them about the investments they make in their core infrastructure and their approach to strategically balancing investment across all the dimensions of cloud delivery. Have them prove to you that your business-critical applications will be there when you need them most—when the next real-life chaos monkey comes to visit. 

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