Workday, Pleasanton based SaaS provider offering Human Resource, Payroll, Financial and Spend Management solutions, today announced that they are opening up an integration platform with an aim to consolidate their hold on the enterprise market. Workday released their Integration Cloud Platform with a message that they want to take the complexity out of integration. This is an interesting move from my point of view because this falls right into the debate on complete suite vs best of breed apps.
Workday Integration Cloud Platform is squarely aimed at customers and partners who want to do custom integrations with their existing systems and applications with the Workday applications. Already Workday customers and partners have done more than 100,000 in Quarter 1 of 2011 alone and with this move Workday is positioning themselves to grab the large share of the integration pie around their applications. This is a smart move on the part of Workday but it is bound to upset the System Integrators and some partners who make their living offering integration solutions around Workday and other SaaS providers. Even though this offering makes it easy for Workday customers to integrate their apps with other applications and offer cost savings, it also has the danger of locking them in with Workday because, as expected, this platform is optimized for Workday applications.
Workday’s Integration Cloud Platform is a PaaS offering that will help their customers and partners build complex, custom integrations to and from Workday and deploy and manage them in the Workday Cloud. This platform comes with two key components:
- Workday Studio: A powerful development tool enabling customers and partners to build sophisticated and highly customizable integrations to and from Workday. Targeted at developers, this offers a drag and drop IDE which takes care of the plumbing necessary for the integration
- Enterprise Interface Builder (EIB): This tool provides an easy-to-use graphical and guided interface aimed at business users to define inbound and outbound integrations without requiring any programming
They already have some of the big customers and partners using this Integration Cloud Platform in production. Fairchild Semiconductors has used this platform to do 20 Studio integrations and eight EIBs, effectively deploying Workday HR and Workday Payroll, along with solutions for learning management, recruiting, and time tracking, across 17 countries in less than eight months. Accenture, Deloitte, and Towers Watson are actively investing in their platform as well as numerous consulting partners.
Let us face it, integration in the cloud is not an easy problem to solve. Even those system integrators with exclusive focus on cloud services are finding integration with components in the complex enterprise IT difficult to manage. Under such a scenario, a SaaS provider offering an optimized integration platform around their apps is a welcome solution. However, it takes away one of the unique advantages SaaS offers to the users, an easy way to use the best of breed apps suitable for their needs. Any organization using the Workday integration cloud platform will eventually end up using Workday apps rather than some other vendors’ app which might suit their needs better.
Finally, it boils down to your organization’s strategy with respect to selecting the applications and application providers. If you don’t want the pain of integration and want to go with Suite of applications from a single vendor, you are going to like this release but if your strategy relies on selecting the best of breed applications, then you may not care much about this platform. It is still an interesting move by Workday and we have to wait and see how their competitors react.
- Workday Integration Cloud debut raises bar on integration as service, deeply ingrains integration as apps function (zdnet.com)
- Two Years Too Late? Ariba and Hubspan Partner to Address Cloud Integration (enterpriseirregulars.com)
- Research Report: Constellation’s Research Outlook For 2011 (enterpriseirregulars.com)
- System Integrators on the Rise in XaaS and Cloud (alliesinthewild.wordpress.com)