What is Workday?

Workday is a cloud-based software vendor that specializes in human capital management (HCM) and financial management applications. Headquartered in Pleasanton, Calif., Workday was founded in 2005 by Dave Duffield and Aneel Bhusri, former executives at PeopleSoft, an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software vendor later acquired by Oracle.

Workday is a pioneer in software-as-a-service business applications. Workday software has often been recognized for its ease of use and quick implementation compared with those of on-premises HCM and finance applications. The company does not officially consider itself just an ERP business, but it is widely considered to be in direct competition with ERP vendors, including Oracle and SAP.

What is Workday used for?

The cloud-based platform Workday is used primarily for HCM and financial management. For example, Workday HCM helps companies manage all aspects of their workforce. This includes managing tasks like benefits administration, employee learning, payroll, performance management, talent acquisition, time tracking and data management.

Workday provides a suite of applications to manage critical financial tasks, like accounting, budgeting and financial reporting. Workday also offers financial planning and analytics tools.

To help organizations manage staff more efficiently, Workday offers the following products:

  • Workday Adaptive Planning manages finance, human resources (HR) and operations more efficiently and provides data analytics.
  • Workday Peakon Employee Voice boosts productivity and engagement.
  • Workday Employee Experience to enhance staff experiences by adapting to individual needs.
  • Workday Payroll manages local and global payroll more efficiently.

Workday also offers solutions for professional services automation, supply chain management for healthcare and student management.

Visual of HCM components and functions.
Employee engagement, mobile, social and workflow technologies connect functions and users. Most HCM suites have these essential tools for managing the HR process.

What is Workday Extend?

The Workday Extend platform helps organizations build and customize applications that can "extend" Workday's capabilities to better meet their needs. It is best suited for building finance and people management applications.

Some key benefits of Workday Extend include seamless integration, flexibility, accelerated development, seamless security and updates. For example, Workday Extend users can take advantage of the latest releases and build applications that are secure, contextually relevant and easy for users to navigate safely, using Workday's secure cloud environment.

Diagram for human resource management: When the HR parts are greater than the whole.
HR permeates every layer of an organization, from recruiting to data management.

What is Workday Employee Experience?

Workday Employee Experience describes a suite of application features within the Workday platform concentrating on improving employee user experiences. By using machine learning (ML), the software strives to personalize Workday for each individual.

Workday customizes each user interface (UI) to show the employee only the information and tasks relevant to their role and current needs. The goal is to make Workday more efficient and user-friendly and help employees perform tasks efficiently and quickly.

Workday enables seamless integrations with other enterprise applications. For instance, Workday Everywhere seamlessly integrates Workday features with popular collaboration tools, such as Slack or Microsoft Teams. This helps staff access Workday functionalities within their favorite workspaces.

Workday Peakon Employee Voice helps organizations seamlessly collect employee feedback through pulse checks and surveys. The tool uses ML to analyze staff data to identify trends, address employee concerns and boost staff morale.

Other features like Workday Journeys help support staff members during critical periods, such as onboarding, leaves of absence or promotions. Workday provides step-by-step instructions and extensive resources specific to each situation.

The virtual assistant, Workday Assistant, helps employees solve problems and complete tasks through natural language conversations. For example, staff can request time off by asking Workday Assistant to initiate and complete the process.

What is Workday Adaptive Planning?

Workday Adaptive Planning is enterprise project management software designed to boost accessibility, connectivity, agility and scalability. Workday Adaptive Planning enables enterprises to manage financial, workforce and operational planning and more efficiently engage in close and consolidation tasks.

Some key features include continuous planning, moving away from traditional annual planning and embracing constant change; flexibility and scalability by developing complex financial models from disparate data sources; artificial intelligence and ML for task automation; and seamless collaboration. The platform's prebuilt templates, easy-to-use UI and data-driven decision-making help companies adapt to rapidly changing circumstances.

What is Workday Student?

Workday Student is an end-to-end student management platform designed to meet the demands of academic institutions. Designed to work seamlessly with Workday HCM, Workday Financial Management and Workday Adaptive Planning, Workday Student helps unite and manage an entire campus.

Some key features include streamlined student administration, improved student engagement, seamless integration with other Workday applications and data-driven insights. Workday Student also offers faculty tools to manage courses, grade assignments and track student progress.

What is EIB in Workday?

Workday Enterprise Interface Builder (EIB) is designed to optimize enterprise data management strategies by making mass loading or extraction of organizational data seamless. Workday EIB plays the role of a bridge that facilitates the flow of data between Workday and other applications to help improve data accuracy and efficiency.

Key features include seamless data integration, mass data management, seamless data transfers and a no-code, user-friendly graphical interface.

Workday is famously user-friendly and offers all the tools to run an organization efficiently. Its single database for HCM and financials enables better integration. Hyperpersonalization and virtual assistants help deliver enhanced user experiences. Workday also provides extension tools to customize and adapt planning functionality to meet the demands of a rapidly changing organizational environment.

Check out our handy guide showing how to build your own employee journey map, and read about actions that will improve employee experience. Learn the key differences and similarities between human resource information system (HRIS) vs. human resource management system (HRMS) vs. human capital management (HCM). See how to choose an HR software system.

This was last updated in April 2024

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