I remain fascinated by the cloud-based, integrated financial management system, Workday. At a spectator level, we at Media 1 excitedly cheer the rapid rise of Workday and its premise — and promise — of enabling financial and people data to finally live and work together harmoniously in the same enterprise system. Rationalizing people data and making it visible at the top level of the organization is key to earning a maximum Return On People. The folks at Workday seem to grasp this at a level that few others yet fully understand.
Yet, with rare exception, most Workday marketing lately appears to aim squarely at the CFO and the financial side of the equation, pretty much ignoring HR and Human Capital Analytics. Why would Workday choose to do that?
If I were to wager a guess based on our own conversations with business leaders on both sides, it’s because of the great chasm that still exists in most organizations between Finance and HR. They don’t measure or report the same things, and, for the most part, their organizational performance isn’t measured or rewarded in ways that would motivate any compelling reason to change. Financial data is considered hard and people data soft, and in many organizations the tenor of the relationship between the two functions approaches disdain. Until that changes, business climate will be more HR vs Finance than HR + Finance — a barrier to ever achieving a Return On People. The CFO will continue to be the key driver of enterprise financial system decisions, and marketing targeted at finance (like the Workday Infographic, below) will avoid muddying the water with talk about HR or People.
Unless HR and Finance take steps to reach across silos and construct ways of measuring and influencing systems decisions together, people data will remain locked in HR systems. Finance will lack visibility to people-related KPIs such as Total Cost of Workforce. And Workday will continue to face a marketing conundrum of how to promote one of its key market differentiators and most valuable business features. Too bad.