Workday looking for big growth in South Africa

Workday has announced that Absa has started using its systems for human capital management within the bank.

Human capital management refers to a system that combines the processes needed to manage the human resources of a company. Other notable vendors in the space include Oracle and SAP.

Zuko Mdwaba, the country manager for Workday in South Africa, said the first phase of their system at Absa went live on 27 March and the deployment at the bank is ongoing.

Speaking to journalists in Johannesburg, Mdwaba said that Absa is one of two new clients where Workday has gone live in South Africa since it launched locally.

Mdwaba said the second client is one of the large law firms in South Africa.

No shelfware, no failed projects

A statistic Workday is particularly proud of is that in its 14 years of operation, it has no failed projects or “shelfware” with any of its clients. Wherever enterprises have signed up for Workday, its software is in use.

In addition to their focus on customer satisfaction, Workday co-president Chano Fernandez said they invest significantly in their own product. Over 30% of Workday’s revenue is invested in research and development, he said.

Workday’s most recent financials show that the company had a total revenue of $2.82 billion in the 2019 fiscal year – up 31.7% from the previous year.

Its subscription revenue was $2.39 billion (up 33.4% year-on-year), while the subscription revenue backlog was $6.74 Billion, an increase of 30.1% compared to the year before.

Low bandwidth requirements, performance guarantees

The investment in its infrastructure and products means that Workday is very confident in the performance of the services it provides.

Workday is a cloud-based system, and when asked whether they have come across any bandwidth-related challenges in South Africa, Fernandez and Mdwaba said there have been none.

Fernandez explained that the Workday app works over 3G connections, and said they have worked to optimise their service for all kinds of environments.

One of the things that Workday also does differently from its competitors is that it uses a single app to access all of its services.

“One app, one service level agreement,” Fernandez said.

He added that they are so confident in the quality of their services that they offer a performance guarantee with their service level agreement.

“We really walk our talk. If we don’t deliver, we pay penalties. We are confident in the technology.”

This includes privacy features suitable for companies that operate in the defence industry, said Fernandez. Everything that happens on Workday is also fully audited.

South African prospects

Mdwaba and Fernandez said that following their local launch, Workday is in South Africa “for the long haul”.

In addition to pursuing and supporting more local business, they will also conduct skills development in South Africa.

Prior to their local launch, Workday’s systems were also in use at several multinational enterprises with offices in South Africa. These include Dimension Data, Aon, Adobe, Rolls Royce, and TomTom.

Workday added that it is in discussions with several other companies in South Africa. This includes another first-tier financial services provider, Mdwaba said.

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Workday looking for big growth in South Africa