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Workday Planning rides BP&F wave, encroaches on partners

Workday Planning, due out in 2016 with release 27 of the software as a service human resources and financial suite, may be riding a wave of demand for budgeting, planning and forecasting (BP&F) software. But it will also be competing with similar tools from a wide range of vendors, including Workday partners such as Tidemark and Adaptive Insights -- something Workday executives readily admit.

Workday Planning was among the new products featured at the Workday Rising user conference, held recently in Las Vegas. In this video from the conference, Brian Sommer, founder of the TechVentive consultancy and market-research firm Vital Analysis, explains the competitive positioning of Workday Planning along with other developments announced at the conference.

It's going to make it easier for customers to buy it all from one source -- from Workday -- and probably will put some pressure on that part of the space.
Brian Sommerfounder, TechVentive

"When [Workday Planning] comes out, it's going to create, if you will, a single, unified data store where all your actuals, your planning, budget, forecasting, head count and possibly other big data will come in there," Sommer said.

But it will also compete with products from Adaptive Insights, an exhibitor at the conference. "They have, like, 32 mutual customers," he said. "Once Workday starts creating their own budgeting, planning and forecasting tool, it's going to make it easier for customers to buy it all from one source -- from Workday -- and probably will put some pressure on that part of the space."

Workday executives also showed upcoming products -- notably an inventory module -- that suggest it is branching out to other standard components of ERP, even though it has studiously avoided calling its software an ERP suite.

"Let's put that module in context," Sommer said. "This is for companies that need to keep track of repair supplies [or] cleaning supplies. I would call it a lighter duty inventory system. You would not use that technology, say, in a complicated warehouse distribution environment where you're worried about picking and pulling."

Instead, he said, the new module will meet the inventory needs of the industries Workday usually targets, such as financial services and higher education. "I don't expect to see them move into spaces like manufacturing anytime soon, if ever, but I do expect them to … keep adding modules to the periphery of things." Sommer added that the inventory feature complements the purchasing and accounts payable features that are already in the Workday platform.

Sommer also talked about the history of Workday's efforts to improve the financial side of its suite after becoming known primarily as a provider of human resources software.

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