Wednesday, 2 April 2014

A customer perspective on Workday Rising Europe 2014 - day 2

My company graciously paid for me to attend the Workday Rising Conference in London this week.  I mentioned day 1 yesterday, here are my thoughts on day 2.

Best Practices in Configurable Security and Global Data Privacy

It was an early start for me as I'm in the suburbs on the opposite side of London.  Pleased to say I was on the 7.20 train to arrive at 8.40, in time to grab a coffee, mini bagel with salmon and fruit from the breakfast set up in the vendor hall.  It was supposed to be a 9 AM start with 120 people in a full session.  As mentioned by the presenters and others, the customer appreciation party went long into the night, so they finally started at 9.08 with around 80 people.

Two WD pieces/presenters:  Data Privacy & the Security Toolset

1. Data Privacy - it was a good overview by Barbara, and I'd previously seen most of the material online.  Data Privacy can be a passionate subject, but WD's stance is clear--they are the processor and *you* the customer are responsible to ensure that you're not storing data on employees that you shouldn't/aren't allowed by your Data Privacy legislation, Works Councils, etc.  (Although WD does have some functionality in place here, to control some of these things systematically.)

No qualms there, it's standard in the SaaS world.  While it was a good overview on Data Privacy and Works Councils and where WD is with their various certifications, etc. most of the participants in the room were Europe-based and well versed in the area, so would have appreciated a little more depth here.  This presentation would be very good as an introduction to an American or Asian audience, however.

2. The Security Toolset - Kathy H from Workday did an outstanding job of presenting the topic.  It was an overview but as well she went in-depth and highlighted upcoming functionality.  As pieces of it are being worked on by *her* personally, it was straight from the horse's mouth.  Most interesting, this was so different from a sales presentation--when people asked her if WD could do X, she was quite honest in acknowledging where WD could not meet business requirements and where things were in the pipeline.  As a customer, I need exactly that sort of input to be able to plan workarounds, rather than unclear or unconfirmed answers.

Kudos to both American presenters for having more of a European presentation style--organized and serious, rather than the WD presenters' comedy routine of yesterday's joint HCM/Finance session.  Noticed that the audience was fully engaged in this session 9 AM session.

Maximising Your Investment in Absence Management

This was also a great presentation to attend.  There were maybe 20-25 people in attendance, and Brian K from WD is an expert in Absence Management functionality, to a similar depth as Kathy was to security.  He gave some advance previews of upcoming functionality.  As well, there was clear honesty in answering customer questions, and solid knowledge.  As well, he had a nice slide of the main brainstorms outstanding for Absence Mgt, which really laid bare the flaws/opportunities for WD.  As many of the customers were actually using the product already, it required detailed knowledge to field their questions.

The 2nd part of this presentation was done by a customer, Medtronic, who is using the functionality in multiple countries.  It was really great to get this customer perspective, and as well they provided tips and lessons learned from their implementation.  Most interesting, they had presented a case study of how they tackled some difficult requirements from France (via WD Studio).

Final Thoughts

There was then a break and then a 'Closing and Goodbye' session.  I must admit, I popped into the vendor hall to pick up some goodies and then cleared out before that session.  Overall, I could not imagine learning anything new, and also, it would run until 12.45 and after my early start, I didn't want to wait that long for lunch.  (Sorry WD!)

I'm glad I had a chance to go, it's nice to see WD building up a base over here in Europe, such as putting a training centre in Amsterdam.  As always, it's great to be able to connect with other customers, in particular ones of a similar size, to trade ideas.

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