Finance, Human Resources | February 28, 2018

Oracle vs. Workday: 5 Things You Need to Know



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, HR is managing payroll using an outsourced provider that doesn’t integrate with your on-premises HR system.

Then along comes a cloud provider like Workday who promises to simplify all of it for you. They talk about pulling together finance and HR and making everyone’s lives easier.

Sounds great, but what about sales? Or marketing? Or customer service? Or supply chain?

What you need is a complete suite—one that is innovative, proven, and can scale with you as your company grows and expands. Oracle is a trusted cloud provider that can give you all this. So, if you’re considering Workday for finance and HR, here are five things to think about first.

1. Functionality vs. Marketing

A recent report from Nucleus Research found that Workday’s functionality doesn’t live up to its marketing messages. Among the comments from users:

  • “The analytics were lacking versus other vendors we looked at.”
  • “Workday was lacking in depth on time and attendance.”
  • “They don't want to do advanced scheduling.”

Other users noted that the Workday user interface appeared to be “all show, but no go.” Workday positions its products as simple and easy to use, but simple doesn’t always mean powerful. An organization that is competing for the best talent needs a cloud that offers both—which brings us to our next point:

2. Simple, or Powerful? Why Not Both?

Workday has built its reputation on being simple and user-friendly. But while simplicity is important, it’s not enough. Today’s rapidly-changing business environment is more complex than ever, underpinned by emerging technologies, overwhelming amounts of data, and the need to connect the business as a whole.

Finance and HR professionals need a system that is designed for the future of work while addressing complexity under the covers—a system that is simply powerful. Oracle delivers a simple, powerful and unified cloud across all lines of business—one that is:

  • Effortless: Visually beautiful and easy-to-use for employees and managers.
  • Personal: Delivers an enriched, meaningful experience to each user, with AI, chatbots, and role/task specific recommendations.
  • Adaptable: Supports continuously evolving business models and delivers actionable insights by pairing predictive analytics with workforce planning and financial modeling.
  • Complete: Designed from the start to support the entire employee lifecycle.
  • Connected: A unified cloud, delivering innovation and insights, and linking every part of the enterprise to propel business outcomes.  

3. Innovation Matters, Especially Now

Emerging technologies are set to change the way we live and work in unprecedented ways—artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), the Internet of Things, blockchain, chatbots, and the list goes on. Oracle is at the forefront, delivering cutting-edge innovation in the next wave of cloud computing; we’ve already started embedding AI/ML into our cloud.

Meanwhile, at Workday’s 2017 annual conference, there were no announcements related to AI/ML, intelligent bots, conversational user interfaces, IoT, or any industry-specific functionality.

Why does this matter to your business?

It’s because emerging technologies have the potential to automate tasks that, in the past, required large investments in money and human resources. Organizations can use chatbots to recommend supplier discounts and optimize cash flow; they can uncover new insights by mining huge amounts of data with AI/ML; they can offer a better work-life balance to their employees. In short, they can build the business of the future—creating tomorrow, today.

Simply being “in the cloud” isn’t enough anymore to set your business apart. The cloud is now table stakes. What matters is the speed of innovation that a cloud provider delivers: updating their cloud several times a year with the newest, most competitive advantages available.

Workday simply lacks the vision, domain knowledge, expertise, decision science, and compute capabilities to turn such innovations into action at the same speed as Oracle. It’s clear that Oracle has a better vision for the future.

4. Industry Leadership Position

Recent analyst reviews of Oracle Cloud applications have been glowing, particularly in finance. Overall, Oracle Cloud applications have been named a “Leader” in 28 different analyst reports, while Workday has only been named a leader in three. I think these numbers speak for themselves.

5. You Can’t Run Your Entire Business on Workday—but You Can on Oracle

Over the years, Workday has talked about “the Power of One,” meaning a single system for both finance and HR. The truth is, it’s a bit more than “one.” Workday has made a number of acquisitions to fill out gaps in its functionality; even at that, Workday will only do so much, and it may not be enough (as discussed above).

Moreover, Workday only sells 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. Such integrations make it difficult to know which vendor to call when there’s a problem. 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 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 also offers Platform as a Service (PaaS) so that you can 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.

Organizations running their business in the Oracle Cloud have streamlined processes, empowered employees, made their teams more nimble, increased customer satisfaction, and fueled growth—just take a look at our thousands of success stories.

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

Want to know more? Take a quick tour of Oracle Cloud for finance and HR.


Steve Cox leads go-to-market strategy for Oracle ERP Cloud and Oracle EPM Cloud. Cox joined Oracle in 1997. Prior to his current role, he held various management positions within Oracle product marketing, consulting, and development.

Cox holds a master's degree in business administration from the University of Bath. He is the author of Modern Best Practice Explained, an ebook articulating the next generation of business processes needed by organizations embarking on digital transformation.

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