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Advice and Information for Finance Professionals

Oracle vs. Workday: 5 Things You Need to Know

Guest Author

By Jennifer Toomey, Adriana Smith and Nick Stankovic, Oracle

Does this scenario sound familiar to you?

You have great plans for your business, and there are myriad opportunities in front of you. You want to move quickly to take advantage of them. But your IT systems are holding you back.

Your sales team is using CRM from a vendor that doesn’t sell much else. Your finance team uses on-premises ERP for accounting, and does planning, budgeting, and analysis using spreadsheets. Meanwhile, human resources is managing payroll using an outsourced provider that doesn’t integrate with your on-premises HR system or your ERP system.

Then along comes a cloud provider like Workday that promises to simplify all of it for you. They vow to give you a single, seamless, highly usable solution. Over the past year, however, we've seen the line between promises and reality come into sharper focus. It's important to keep looking at what Workday can actually offer across its business applications and compare how these offerings stack up against Oracle Cloud.

This turns out to be a big topic, especially when you get into detailed, hard-fact comparisons. We thought it would be useful to distill all of this into five things every potential customer should know as they weigh the merits of Workday versus Oracle for finance, reporting, planning, HR, supply chain, and other business applications.

1. Innovation Matters, Especially Today

Over the years Workday has talked about “the Power of One,” meaning a single system for both finance and HR. Innovation plays a huge role in this story: The best way to maintain a single, seamless user experience is to invest—heavily and consistently—in building an in-house R&D and technology innovation pipeline.

However, the reality is that Workday mainly uses acquisitions instead of in-house R&D to drive its innovation pipeline. Rather than working on truly unique and innovative capabilities, Workday is fighting a long, hard, uncertain battle to integrate a grab-bag of inconsistent, incompatible acquired offerings.

The cost of that fight is clear. On the cutting edge, Oracle's artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) capabilities are driving high-value innovations such as digital assistants, powerful new mobile apps, built-in machine learning capabilities for end users, and advanced controls. Oracle's internal innovation engine has enabled more than 1,200 enhancements and features for Oracle Human Capital Management (HCM) Cloud alone.

Workday, by comparison, is betting that it can integrate acquired applications (like Adaptive Insights, for planning) to gain functionality that Oracle Cloud already offers. Even if those bets pay off—and these types of integration efforts are almost never an easy task—Workday is still playing catch-up. As Oracle keeps the pedal down on its own innovation engine, industry analysts have noted that Workday’s portfolio of applications is not completely comprehensive, that Workday has functional gaps compared to other HCM vendors, and the extent of support for use cases for emerging technologies such as adaptive intelligence, machine learning, or digital assistants, is not as strong as competitors like Oracle.

2. Your Business is Unique

In the world of cloud applications, customizations are the enemy of innovation. One of the biggest benefits of software-as-a-service is that the cloud provider updates the software on a regular basis. If you’ve changed the underlying code, an update can cause your painstaking customizations to break.

Yet businesses invest a fortune to stand apart from competitors. Your business applications should support those efforts—not undermine them. Rather than customizing your cloud ERP or HCM applications, you can extend them using platform-as-a-service (PaaS). With PaaS, you can build new capabilities that live outside of your core applications, meaning you can upgrade your SaaS environment without affecting your extended functionality.

Oracle offers its own cloud platform to let you build extensions for your Oracle Cloud applications. Workday’s platform is still in limited availability; until it is generally available, customers who would like to expand their Workday applications must use a set of third-party integration tools.

3. You Can't Run a Business on Slideware and Solution Gaps

Analyst reports reveal that Workday is missing some mainstream capabilities that Oracle offers today—and, in many cases, has offered for years. ERP users looking for quote-to-cash, order management, or inventory valuation tools won't find these capabilities in Workday; neither will HCM users looking for HR applications with complex scheduling requirements, HR case management, HR Help Desk, Advanced HCM Controls, HR Risk & Compliance, or work-life solutions.

From financials to planning to supply chain, working with Workday means living with solution gaps—or, if you're lucky, with incomplete functionality and partially integrated acquisitions. Again and again, customers have a choice: Get the capabilities they need from Oracle Cloud, or settle for the possibility that Workday will eventually move this missing functionality from slideware to software.

4. You Need to Be Ready for Future Growth

As your business grows and scales, existing technology and business needs will change, and new ones will emerge. Some firms will need to integrate external data sources; others will need access to cloud platform and infrastructure capabilities. Still others will want more flexible cloud deployment options and contracts.

Workday’s focus is on finance and HR software. For lines of business such as sales, marketing, customer service, or supply chain, you’ll need to connect Workday to systems from other providers. Eventually, you’ll end up with an IT hairball that’s nearly impossible to untangle.

In contrast, organizations can (and are) running their entire business on Oracle Cloud: finance, HR, customer experience, supply chain, and more. Oracle Cloud Applications all run on the same data model and use the same interface—so that both the data and the user experience are consistent across lines of business. Oracle PaaS lets you extend these capabilities if and when you need to—something that smaller cloud providers can’t match. And we offer Data as a Service (DaaS), so that you can combine anonymized third-party data with your own data to discover unforeseen trends and insights.

As business needs change, companies can add new capabilities with Oracle—without developing a cloud hairball that ties up growth in knots.

5. One Fact Is Worth a Thousand Promises

It's increasingly clear that Workday has a lot riding on its future roadmap—about capabilities, completeness, and giving customers a clear path to scale, compete, and succeed.

Maybe Workday will deliver on that roadmap—or maybe it won't. Either way, when your business runs on Oracle Cloud, you can stop betting on a vendor's promises, and start depending on hard facts:

The examples go on and on. It simply comes down to this: Oracle delivers. Workday is incomplete.

Organizations running their businesses in the Oracle Cloud have streamlined processes, empowered their employees, made their teams more nimble, increased customer satisfaction, and fueled growth—just take a look at our thousands of success stories and analyst reports across the domains of ERP, EPM and HCM.

We can’t think of a more ringing endorsement than that.