Embracing a hybrid, or multicloud, technology environment can help industry organizations innovate and be more nimble. That’s according to Indy Bains, vice president of industry solutions marketing at Workday. He believes a business technology industry shift to customer-centered innovation will build value for all organizations. 

“Cloud technology puts the focus on industry customers winning, not on which vendor wins,” Bains said. “A hybrid environment in which customers have multiple cloud vendors, not necessarily one vendor, can benefit everyone.” 

This shared benefit is a crucial foundation at a time when all industries are transforming at warp speed. Customer centricity, Bains said, has never been more important. The last few years have impacted the core business of every industry. Rapid change in the expectations of employees and customers has only accelerated during the pandemic. 

Data management is the key for these organizations—whether it’s financial, operational, or worker data—and the ability to bring disparate sources together to gain a deep understanding of their business.

In short, organizations must embrace new business models to move their business forward.

A recent Gartner® report, “Predicts 2021: Time to Compose an ERP Strategy to Outpace Disruption,” detailed this seismic shift, noting, “Demand for greater agility using multiple data and application sources is prompting enterprises to develop more integrated ERP [enterprise resource planning] capabilities, rather than follow a strict monolithic approach to application architecture.”

How can industry organizations adjust? That’s where an intelligent data core comes in. 

The Power of an Intelligent Data Core

An intelligent data core is the key to realizing full business value in this hybrid environment. This data core, which is at the center of Workday’s enterprise management cloud solution, provides a single system to consolidate and inform volumes of data from financial, people, and operational systems, enabling the connection of data and surfacing of insights, giving customers the ability to adapt in real time. 

The intelligent data core also empowers customers to configure, change, and extend core business processes—a true business-first approach. Applications conform to what the business needs, rather than forcing the business to conform to the software.

To help industry organizations better understand how they can innovate, here’s a look at three industries in which cloud partnerships have solved real-world challenges.



Besides labor shortages and skyrocketing burnout, healthcare organizations today also face supply shortages. 

According to the healthcare consulting firm Kaufman Hall, virtually all U.S. hospitals and healthcare systems (99%) have reported challenges in procuring needed supplies, including shortages of key items and significant price increases. And in the same report, about 8 out of 10 said they suffered supply shortages and had to seek new vendors for supplies during the pandemic.

The North Star that healthcare often struggles with is getting visible and central access to resource constraints.

Patient care requires that organizations have the right supplies in the right location at the right time, which means managing tens of thousands of supply items to deliver timely, quality care. And supply costs are typically one of the largest expenses—second only to labor—for hospitals and healthcare systems. Reducing variation and optimizing inventory has always been key to keeping costs under control. This supply chain has been stretched thin. COVID-19 created surges in demand at a time when manufacturing and distribution was disrupted, eliminating any margin for error. 

Operational administrators, clinicians, doctors, and nurses need to have access to transaction-level information, which provides insights into the supply chain and cost of care in order to improve care pathways and increase value for their patients. But this data is often dispersed across siloed systems—obscuring actionable insights. 


To eliminate the risk of siloed data, Eric Washer, vice president of product strategy at Workday, recommends putting a single intelligent data core at the center. 

“Fusing enterprise resource data with industry-specific operational data such as clinical scheduling, space allocation, patient health records, and point of use can transform healthcare demand planning,” he said. “The North Star that healthcare often struggles with is getting visible and central access to resource constraints. Staff and supply impacts scheduled procedures.” 

A unified data core lets providers manage a high volume of items dispersed across different floors, facilities, and warehouses, ensuring that the items are never out of stock or expired. This will help improve care quality, while reducing operational inefficiencies in a rapidly changing, highly regulated industry.

Real-World Examples

  • Dayton Children’s Hospital put everything—all their data—in one system, which was key to their success. Now using mobile capabilities in Workday, they can easily track inventory and see item shortages, back orders, and delivery status—all in real time. 
  • AstraZeneca is using Workday Talent Management to quickly fill staff roles, move talent internally, and upskill personnel. 



For the last two years, retail organizations have experienced significant global labor shortages among front-line workers, supply chain disruptions, and an accelerated shift to e-commerce due to changing consumer behaviors—all of which are greatly impacting how retailers plan and prepare for the future.

Before the pandemic, the turnover rate was nearly 70%. Today’s labor challenges and market conditions, however, have only magnified this attrition. In line with the Great Resignation phenomenon, organizations overall saw a mass exodus of 47.4 million voluntary quits in 2021.

To manage their talent, supply chain, and digital experience, retailers need data transparency across their company and suppliers. The disconnect between the back office and front office, however, makes it difficult for retailers to gain a comprehensive view of their overall operations. This can lead to misaligned priorities, limited collaboration, and operational silos that negatively impact the employee and customer experience. 


Washer said Workday industry-specific solutions are “driving that last mile of innovation.”

How? Workday bridges the gap between front-office and back-office operations by providing finance, human resources (HR), and operational leaders with a unified view into the lines of the business that are driving revenue and engaging with customers so retailers have the insights they need to respond to and plan for future demands.

In line with the Great Resignation phenomenon, organizations overall saw a mass exodus of 47.4 million voluntary quits in 2021.

“The events of the past two years have shaped a very different future for retailers—one where they need to quickly adapt to ever changing consumer, employee, and business needs,” said Bains.

Real-World Examples

  • Workday partnered with Patagonia to leverage machine learning to recognize the skills gaps in its employee population. Before, Patagonia was only able to collect about 28% of their employee-entered skills data. Afterward, it brought that up to 73%. In conjunction with this effort, Patagonia simplified the work for employees by increasing the communication between HR and finance.

  • Saks, the premier luxury e-commerce platform, is leveraging the intelligent data core from Workday to combine various data sources—procurement inventory, merchandising, invoicing, supply chain systems, transportation, and more—with financial and people data to help its business leaders drive transformation through operational insights.

Financial Services and Insurance


Banks and insurers need to know how unprecedented disruption in a highly regulated environment impacts customer behavior and, consequently, the business—and how to keep running smoothly no matter what happens.

To keep pace with ongoing industry change, financial services organizations need new technologies that help provide improved insight into business operations in order to identify and mitigate risk and digitally transform time-consuming and budget-draining processes and functions, such as financial reporting and accounting.

They also need to be able to respond to customer demands, implement agile workforce models, and ultimately, gain a competitive advantage. 


With Workday, customers can plan across the entire business by pulling in datasets from multiple banking and financial institution sources, as well as insurance and investment management systems, allowing them to make more data-driven decisions and rapidly respond to market shifts.

“We continue to see global financial institutions accelerate their digital transformations to better navigate market disruptions, talent shortages, and position themselves for the next wave of growth,” said Bains. “Data management is the key for these organizations—whether it’s financial, operational, or worker data—and the ability to bring disparate sources together to gain a deep understanding of their business.”

Real-World Examples

  • Shelter Insurance uses the Workday Financial Management suite of applications to automate data extraction from over 50 source systems, helping to streamline manual processes and free up time for employees to focus on strategic efforts such as data analysis.

  • CNA Insurance, a large property casualty organization, was running operations across multiple ERPs, different financial systems, and different front-office systems that contain policy claims data. Workday helped them consolidate five systems into one, saving 30% in annual finance systems spend. Further, they automated many processes, which resulted in a 50%-60% reduction in managing accounting rules.

In the end, it’s all about driving customer centricity. For Bains, that’s where partnerships between customers and vendors can help.

“We believe in partnering with customers and placing them at the center of how we design user experience so we can innovate for their specific industry use cases,” he said at a recent Industry Cloud Battleground event. “We innovate for the industry, with the industry.”

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