Workday Rising Daily: Innovating for Customers in a Changing World

Learn what Workday leaders shared in our Innovation Keynote at Workday Rising, including new solutions for our customers. You’ll also find recaps from conference sessions on the challenges and opportunities facing finance, HR, and IT leaders in our changing world. Read more in the Workday Rising Daily.

Workday Rising Daily: Day 2


Kicking off Workday Rising, Workday Co-Founder, Co-CEO, and Chairman Aneel Bhusri honored our customers who’ve navigated massive change over the past three years with resiliency and ingenuity.

“It’s a world of constant change. You’ve all done amazing jobs running your companies during this really difficult time,” he said. “You are the ‘Changemakers.’ You’re making your organizations stronger and more agile.” 

Bhusri addressed a packed crowd at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday. Our marquee customer conference has drawn an estimated 9,000 attendees, with thousands more joining through the Workday Rising Digital Experience.

“You are the Changemakers," Workday Co-Founder, Co-CEO, and Chairman Aneel Bhusri said. "You’re making your organizations stronger and more agile.”

Bhusri also spoke of Workday’s acquisitions of Workday Adaptive Planning, Workday Peakon Employee Voice, Scout RFP (now Workday Strategic Sourcing), and VNDLY, and he expressed hope for a brighter future ahead with a quote from Winston Churchill: “I am an optimist. It does not seem to be much use to be anything else.”

The Accelerating Pace of Change 

Next, Workday Chief Strategy Officer Pete Schlampp took the stage, highlighting how much change has occurred over the past few years, including the shift from offices to hybrid work, from employees to flexible workforces, and from a periodic financial planning process to continuous planning.

“It’s this pace of change that’s not slowing down—but in fact speeding up—that’s creating this pressure on us to perform and transform,” Schlampp said. “Smart business leaders are choosing the systems and the applications that they need to stay ahead of this change. Changemakers—all of you here with us—are writing the playbook for the future of your company right now.”

Schlampp also announced the launch of Workday Industry Accelerators for banking and capital markets, healthcare, insurance, and technology in conjunction with system integrator partners Accenture, Deloitte, KPMG, and PwC. The three-part program will get organizations to the cloud quickly, create connectors that integrate Workday Enterprise Management Cloud to industry-specific clouds, and innovate for various industries with “community-driven solution development.”

“Even if your business is already on Workday’s cloud, you’re going to benefit from the scale of having a broader community working to create new solutions for you,” he added. 

An Effortless User Experience

Next, Jeff Gelfuso, Workday’s chief design officer, invoked surfing imagery to characterize Workday’s efforts to elevate the user experience (UX) to make work effortless. The importance of UX has been critical to Workday since the beginning, Gelfuso said, highlighting development of the Workday apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android as part of that continuing journey.

“At Workday, we continue to create incredible experiences to make work effortless, to be engaging and inclusive of all types of people,” he said. Our experience strategy relies on three pillars to create a seamless experience: Workday Engage, Workday Empower, and Workday Everywhere.

“Every innovation, big or small, a microtransaction or a full app experience, we are working to enable people to thrive and make your work effortless,” he said. 

Learning to Pivot Quickly

Organizations need the ability to respond to changing circumstances without losing sight of their goals, Workday CFO Barbara Larson said at the Innovation Keynote.

Many business leaders have had to adapt quickly over the past few years, and that’s not going to change anytime soon, Larson added. “We’re confronting challenges we’ve never seen before, from a pandemic and talent crisis to geopolitical and macro uncertainty. Sometimes that means making decisions, or even changing course, on the fly."

Organizations need the ability to respond to changing circumstances without losing sight of their goals, said Barbara Larson, CFO at Workday.

At Workday, the finance organization learned that periodic planning isn’t enough. “We need more, and we need it faster. So what do we do? We pivot,” Larson said. “With Workday Adaptive Planning, rich data fuels plans that are continuously refreshed and ready when we need to make data-driven decisions.”

Workday Co-CEO Chano Fernandez led off his remarks with a visual representation of change by asking everyone in the audience who had experienced growth in a professional or personal way, or had stepped out of their comfort zone over the past few years, to hold up their smartphone flashlight. And the auditorium briefly took on the aura of stars shining in the night sky.

“We’re excited to speed up this process, so you can focus your time on delivering for your customers and making an impact," said Chano Fernandez, Co-CEO, Workday.

While noting the growth Workday has undergone over the past few years, Fernandez said there was one way in which we are shrinking: downtime.

“I’m pleased to announce that effective February 1, we're reducing our weekly maintenance window from four hours to three hours every week,” he said. “We’re also reducing our monthly and quarterly maintenance windows by one hour each, resulting in 52 hours of planned maintenance reduction each year.”

“This move enables us to continuously drive forward together, on the same version of our platform, always,” he added. “We’re excited to speed up this process so you can focus your time on delivering for your customers and making an impact.”

Workday Rising attendees also heard about additional initiatives and innovation from Chief Learning Officer Chris Ernst; Group General Manager, oCHRO Products, David Somers; and Chief Diversity Officer Carin Taylor, among others. View additional content with the Workday Rising Digital Experience

Executive Panel: ESG’s Time Is Now, and C-Suite Collaboration Is Key

While uncertainty remains around metrics, reporting, and regulations, that shouldn’t stop leaders from making progress on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives. That was the message delivered by a panel discussion programmed by The Economist during the Executive Symposium at Workday Rising.

Asked about where the impetus for ESG initiatives is coming from, the panelists’ answer could be summed up as “from everywhere.” Darla Morse, executive vice president and CIO, Red Robin, said “it starts at the C-suite, where it’s part of the strategy and the roadmap.” 

During the Executive Symposium at Workday Rising, finance, human resources, and information technology executives from Comcast, KeyBank, and Red Robin participated in an ESG discussion moderated by Economist Impact.

Panelists emphasized that while ESG initiatives need to originate in the C-suite, they should involve teams from across the organization, from legal to sustainability to finance. Doug Schosser, executive vice president and chief accounting officer, KeyBank, added that “the board is also really engaged, and there’s quite a bit of investor interest in our ESG footprint,” all of which drives the conversation forward. Bill Strahan, executive vice president, human resources, Comcast, said employee dialogue has had a “galvanizing effect,” as employees increasingly seek to understand and influence how their employers are addressing ESG.

Even if aspects of ESG metrics and reporting remain unclear, it’s still important to have conversations with internal and external stakeholders and make progress. “We have to be aware of evolving regulations, but we have to keep moving,” said Red Robin’s Morse. Schosser from KeyBank added that “any time there’s a new accounting standard, a new practice, you have to be agile.”

The Best Remedy for Uncertainty? Adaptability

The world is in a “geopolitical recession,” according to Ian Bremmer, president and founder of Eurasia Group. And unlike economic recessions, the world doesn’t have a set of tools ready to address it. 

The critical element in responding to this kind of recession—which happens, according to Bremmer, when “the global order is no longer aligned with the current balance of power”—is adaptability. 

Speaking at the Executive Symposium at Workday Rising, Bremmer used recent real-world examples, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, to illustrate how institutions that fare best in uncertainty are the ones that display the most adaptability. He cited the EU-wide economic response to the pandemic and Western sanctions against Russia as examples. “Adaptability was the single most important feature to see if you came through the pandemic as more effective or less effective,” he said.

“A big part of the new leadership is coming from multinational corporations, financial institutions, non-governmental organizations, and state and local governments,” said Bremmer. Whether it’s the private sector developing COVID-19 vaccines in record time or financial services firms shifting investments towards renewable energy and away from fossil fuels, Bremmer made the case that adaptable institutions not only fare better, but may be our best bet to make progress on seemingly intractable challenges.

Healthcare Kickoff

At the Healthcare Kickoff on Monday, we were delighted to have our customer community together again in-person to connect, collaborate, celebrate, and share best practices. 

Workday leaders jumped into the session by giving an overview of the healthcare industry experience at Workday Rising, highlighting the healthcare keynote sessions, breakout sessions, healthcare tower area in the Expo, encouraging participation in the Sunrise 5K Fun Run, and more. 

Matt Brandt, group vice president, healthcare sales at Workday, said, “Today we're going to talk about you, our customers, because collaboration and learning from each other is so important in healthcare.” 

Our Healthcare Kickoff customer panel featured leaders from Banner Health, Sharp Healthcare, Summit Health, and The University of Kansas Health System.

Celebrating the Power of Community 

We also announced Workday Healthcare Innovation Awards for customers who help others in our community learn and grow, strive to innovate across their business functions, and work to advance the healthcare industry as a whole. Award winners fell into four categories: collaboration champion, digital transformation, process innovation, and trailblazer. This year’s winners include: 

  • Collaboration Champion Award: Banner Health 

  • Digital Transformation Award: Summit Health 

  • Process Innovation Award: The University of Kansas Health System 

  • Trailblazer Award: Sharp Healthcare 

Dale Smythe, regional vice president at Workday, added that our healthcare community goals are to connect, share, innovate, and ultimately, help transform the industry to make a healthier future for all.

CHRO Keynote: Power to Adapt Through Experimentation and Learning

It’s time to think of the nature of work as a piece of technology.

“Work is perpetually obsolete, and perpetually upgraded, just like every device we hold in our hands,” said John Boudreau, professor emeritus and senior research scientist at University of Southern California, during the CHRO vision keynote address, “Office of HR: the Power to Adapt Through the Evolution of Work.”

With that mindset shift, HR leaders can better adapt to the evolving nature of work through experimentation and learning.

For example, when HR leaders are asked to define a hybrid work model or mandate certain days in the office, developing a new company policy shouldn’t be the first step in addressing the new dynamics of the workplace. Instead, “What if your work policy started with, ‘We don’t know?’” Boudreau asked.

“That doesn’t mean chaos,” he said. “What it means is inviting and continuing to invite our workers, managers, and our leaders to experiment, to continue to have that resilience that they all showed when they changed the way they worked.” 

And Yin Lee Chong, head of HR technology and HR digital solutions center of excellence APAC at Air Liquide, shared the HR digital transformation journey at the French multinational company. 

“This HR transformation journey has been very much experimental for us,” Chong said. “What helped us shape our approach is the focus on the employee experience.”

“It’s a world of constant change. You’ve all done amazing jobs running your companies during this really difficult time.” 

Aneel Bhusri Co-Founder, Co-CEO, and Chairman Workday

Tuesday’s News Recap

If you’re interested in finding out more about what we announced today, check out the Newsroom on

Be sure to watch our Workday Rising Daily video broadcast from the Expo show floor today, and join us again tomorrow for more news from Workday Rising in the Workday Rising Daily.

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