logo for Workday, which is responding to competition from Oracle in HCM
logo for Workday, which is responding to competition from Oracle in HCM

As Oracle Guns for #1 in HCM, Workday Slashes Deployment Times

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With its own commitment to great customer service intensified by Oracle’s undeniably strong momentum in HCM, Workday is rolling out a program to help large customers deploy new applications more quickly and at lower cost.

While the program has been in place for a couple of years for mid-sized enterprises, big corporations have been telling Workday, “Hey, we’d like that, too,” said chief customer officer Emily McEvilly.

“These deployments require a lot of trust.”

In a recent Zoom interview, McEvilly said Workday expects to shorten the time needed for go-lives to 6 months or less, and to reduce associated expenses by up to 35%.

To date, the biggest pilot has been with about 10,000 employees. And Workday expects that a handful of its top partners will handle most of the projects in the newly expanded “Workday Launch” program.

“It’s been a challenge to do this in a remote-work environment, but our partners have really responded well,” McEvilly said.

“Our ecosystem has done a really great job at converting to the new remote model. As you can imagine, these deployments require a lot of trust, and face-to-face is probably the best way to build that trust because inevitably you end up pushing back on each other to reach the best outcome.”

One of Workday’s top partners, Accenture, has refined the remote process to the point that it can now oversee design sessions with no face-to-face interaction, McEvilly said.

Workday responds to competition from Oracle

The move to expand the program to its largest customers comes as rival Oracle is making considerable headway in the cloud HCM space. For a detailed look at that, please see Oracle-Workday Showdown: Larry Ellison Says Analysts Prefer Fusion HCM—Do They?.

During Oracle’s recent earnings call, chairman Larry Ellison specifically highlighted the fact that in a Forrester Wave report on HCM vendors, Oracle was given a much higher rating in the category of “customer experience” than Workday.

And indeed, the Forrester Wave report shows that Oracle received the highest score possible in that category, 5.0, while Workday’s score was 3.0. 

As I wrote in the piece referenced above:

Workday has always prided itself on its customer relationships and its unconditional devotion to customer success, customer satisfaction and customer experience. Yet this Forrester Wave says Workday falls well short of what both Oracle and SAP are delivering to customers.

Why is that? 

What could and should Workday be doing differently—and better?

Or is there some issue with the approach taken by Forrester in how it measures and ultimately grades “customer experience”?

“We expect this momentum… to continue throughout the year.”

In a recent blog post outlining the new Workday Launch service for large customers in select industries including hospitality, manufacturing, retail, technology and transportation, McEvilly wrote, “A large retail company with more than 7,500 employees is moving from a legacy system and expects to go live by the end of this year. Given current market pressures, it needed a solution built to evolve and grow with the rapid changes facing its business, but also one that offered a fast go-live, so it could manage its diverse workforce.

“We expect this momentum and the large-enterprise offering to continue throughout the year. That starts with the rollout of customized packages including a few in the next couple of months designed for hospitality and retail businesses impacted by COVID-19, which will help them prepare to re-open and bring back furloughed workers.”

Disclosure: at the time of this writing, both Workday and Oracle were among the many clients of Cloud Wars Media LLC and/or Evans Strategic Communications LLC.


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