PeopleSoft founder, Dave Duffield, has gone public with his new company's plans to build ERP solutions based on a Software as Service model. After selling PeopleSoft to Oracle for $10.3 billion, Duffy decided to take some of the top talent at his previous company to build a product to challenge Oracle and industry leader SAP. At the time of the buyout, the idea was cutting edge, with SalesForce.com being the only major enterprise application running as Software as Service. Since then, however, Oracle, Microsoft, SAP and others have been retrofitting their apps for the web. The challenge for Workday will be tough, especially with the ERP IT market's traditional conservatism. There will have to be many safeguards for enterprises to trust their resource planning to a Software as Service organization.
Duffield's group, however, does have a few advantages. For one, Workday is a small, agile company able to move quickly with customer needs and new technologies. It also has a small, but technologically advanced, customer base which can help steer their product in the right directions. The absence of legacy installs doesn't hurt either -- a major advantage of SaS.
Workday also hopes to differentiate its product with its business objects architecture (acquired from former PeopleSoft Chief Architect John Malatesta), which allows companies to easily tailor their current setup to Workday's application. SAP and Oracle require changing much of the business to conform to the software.
Workday also plans deep Microsoft Office and SharePoint (MOSS) integration, which should lure more of the small and medium sized businesses into the ERP fray. Additionally, Workday isn't in a huge hurry to break even, along with some of the proceeds from his $10.3 billion sale to Oracle, Duffield has secured $15 million in venture capital from former PeopleSoft executive Aneel Bhusri's Greylock Partners.
The curious can watch Duffield's vision overview video
, or just browse around www.workday.com