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Accenture Technology Vision for Workday 2016

People First: The primacy of people in the digital age


This year’s Accenture Technology Vision has “People First” as its rallying cry. Why’s that so important? Because in the digital era, the breakneck pace of technology advancement can come at a price if it detracts from rather than enhances the indispensable contribution that people make to driving value and innovation.

That’s not to say that technology isn’t essential. It clearly is, and it’s becoming more so all the time. But the insight from the “People First” theme is that the greatest value arises from the effective combination of people and technology.

Digital businesses have to be more agile and insight-driven. They have to deliver data across organizational boundaries and put the power to analyze and act on that data in the hands of its people. They must provide the intelligent tools that allow employees to thrive, bringing new ways of working and insights to their day-to-day duties.

Today, companies like Workday, a leading provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources, are changing the way organizations serve, nurture and equip their employees. Service delivery approaches are being completely reinvented with consumer-based, increasingly “mobile first” applications and interfaces that work the way that people want to think, work, and operate.


We’re seeing organizations embracing automation as a way to secure competitive advantage.

Intelligent automation, however, fundamentally changes how people work. Machines’ strengths and capabilities complement their human “colleagues” and change what’s possible. It’s a much broader proposition than simply transferring tasks from people to machines. By weaving systems, data, and people together it creates significant opportunities to do things differently—and to do different things.

The cloud is right at the heart of this breakthrough. Its theoretically limitless scale and unprecedented power uniquely enables the proliferation of game-changing analytics that feed the cloud enterprise applications—like Workday—transforming how companies operate.

For example, Workday HCM customers easily automate formerly manual HR tasks at scale across their enterprises. As they do so, they free up HR-specialist resources to focus their energies and expertise on securing people-based outcomes that deliver the greatest value to the business. Embedded analytics and self-service capabilities enable Workday customers to shift routine decision-making and administration from the hands of HR into the hands of managers—improving the experience for both.

For one global communication company, after the first four weeks of deployment, the new self-service and HR tools caused employee satisfaction to increase by more than 35 percent, and the adoption of dashboards and automation for reporting helped manager satisfaction increase by more than 25 percent.


Leaders today understand that a change-ready workforce, made up of an adaptable and more fluid mix of people (from contractors to re-skilled employees) is critical to their organizations’ success. This is what we call the “Liquid Workforce.” But building and managing this new liquid workforce is very different from traditional approaches. It requires flexibility in everything from hiring, to scheduling, to training, in order to react quickly to changing business demands. This new-style talent also brings very different expectations. In order to attract, build, and retain the liquid workforce that organizations must have to prosper, they have to deliver the right experiences and interactions in a seamless, unified manner.

That means businesses need be able to identify the new must-have capabilities for their workforce, as well as the best ways to attract, recruit, train, and retain people. As work evolves to become a more fluid, project-based experience—in which teams coalesce, and disassemble, before moving onto new projects—the ability to understand where talent resides within their organization, and beyond it, becomes increasingly critical.

Workday HCM helps companies address all of these challenges by offering a seamless experience from recruiting to onboarding to enabling talent. In addition, its embedded analytics and data visibility across a single system helps companies quickly find the available information they have built up across their systems. This in turn enables them to create a detailed picture of their requirements for specific projects and assignments. That end-to-end view of the talent pipeline offers organizations unparalleled insight into their key retention risks on a project-by-project basis, and supports effective build vs. buy strategies for talent management.

Platform Economy

Across every industry, we’re seeing leaders unleashing the power of technology with new technology platforms.

Beyond that, the new business models and ecosystems that these platforms enable are driving profound global macroeconomic change. In the digital economy, these new ecosystems provide a whole new way to create value. This is equally true at the micro-level as organizations leverage platform-based solutions to solve complex, highly-evolving operational needs.

It’s this philosophy that guides Workday’s approach. For example, Workday built its Recruiting and Learning capabilities expressly as complete solutions designed for every user in the process. For Recruiting, rather than first understanding hiring needs and then addressing talent pipelines, Workday Recruiting integrates the needs of candidates, hiring managers, recruiters, recruiting teams, agencies and HR all within a single technology.

Starting from workforce planning capabilities, Workday customers can create pools of the talent they need and then seamlessly source (from traditional internal and external channels, as well as social media integration with LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Facebook,, and others), interview, hire and onboard. The system brings together internal and external hires, which is critical for organizations that rely on internal mobility to grow a rich workforce. Similarly, Workday Learning connects training needs with various traditional and social channels.

Accenture helped a leading North American energy company consolidate diverse legacy HR solutions into a unified system, resulting in a single source of truth for more than 9,000 employees and managers. Accenture executed the transition with live recruiting candidate data—and went live during the company’s peak recruiting cycle in a seamless manner—optimizing the recruiting process and the ability to make faster hires, as well as providing improved data integrity and enhanced security.

Predictable Disruption

Rapidly evolving digital ecosystems are forming the next defining phase of enterprise disruption. Digital ecosystems, and the businesses within them, are starting to bridge markets and redraw industry maps.

Of course, there’s a threat from potentially disruptive new entrants. But large enterprises can also make use of their scale and technology heft to take disruption into their own hands. And cloud is a key enabler here. By operating as part of a real-time community in a multi-tenant cloud environment, enterprises are able to drive a more disruptive agenda at speed and scale. This was simply unattainable in the on-premise world.

Those collaborative opportunities, empowered with a common platform, open up new horizons of business value. Just as Workday Recruiting is integrated with a number social recruiting sites, it connects to a host of providers along the value chain such as assessment, background checking, advertising, search, mobile recruiting, and analytics vendors.

This approach—having a network of partners that are an extension of its business and a way to create a platform on which others can also discover and generate value—is now moving into new areas. For instance, for the educational sector, Workday Student helps higher education institutions meet targeted enrollment goals through data-driven insights related to a potential student's academic success at their institution. It’s seamlessly unified with Workday Financial Management and Workday HCM, and is a mobile-first system that provides end-to-end student and faculty lifecycle information to help colleges and universities advance their institutions and enable student success.

Digital Trust

As every area of business digitizes, big opportunities follow, however, so do big risks.

Each digital advancement imperils business in new ways. In this world, digital trust is foundational. Without it, businesses can’t operate and make use of the data underpinning everything they want to do. Trust means more than just security (although that’s obviously critical). It also entails privacy and ethical handling at every stage of customer and employee data.

A common misperception, however, is that the cloud creates added security risks. In fact, companies are using cloud applications to increase security compliance. What’s more, customer trust is at the heart of many cloud-based solutions, which are fundamental to creating deeper customer relationships across entire value chains.

Trust is integral to Workday’s business model and to its ongoing success.

Workday was created a cloud first and cloud only service from inception to address the inherent risks of providing an internet facing application storing and processing some of the most sensitive and regulated data on the planet. Its founders understood that to be successful, security, privacy and compliance must be woven into the fabric of its culture.

This is particularly true when it comes to Workday Financial Management, which is built to equip organizations with the insight they need to operate in a complex, competitive, and fast-paced business environment. Additionally, trust is integral to everything we do at Accenture. We recently implemented the full suite of Workday Financial Management for the 18,000 employees of the private university mentioned previously.

People and technology doing more every day




Given the strength of Workday’s flexibility, breadth of functionality, and deep analytics capabilities, companies have access to greater insights on how to adapt and grow in today’s changing business landscape. Making data and analytics tools available to more people, across geographies and organizational boundaries, empowers business to embrace the “People First” vision and do more. But the real power of the Workday approach, and cloud technologies, is the flexibility to adapt and scale its platform to whatever comes next.

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