The rapid rise of SAP and Oracle ERP software challenger ‘Workday’ has created a shortage of appropriately skilled HR professionals and a consequent rise in demand for interims who have them, according to Gordon Whyte of BIE Group. Whyte, head of HR interim at the specialist executive search firm, said:

“Workday is fast becoming recognised as a lower cost, all-round more attractive proposition to the traditional HR modules offered through SAP and Oracle ERP systems. Having been recognised by technology analysts Forrester as ahead of these two established players, we can expect to see many more medium and large-sized companies choosing it. HR interim managers and consultants who understand Workday, and have the required implementation and programme management skills, will find themselves in a seller’s market for some time to come.”

One HR interim manager with the requisite hands-on experience is Helen Phillips, currently on assignment as an HR programme manager at Kerry Foods through BIE Group. Helen, who worked on Workday implementations at both Aviva and RBS Insurance, adds:

“Workday is delivered through an agile methodology, which involves using small, fast-paced cross-functional and self-organising teams with lots of user interaction. This approach is counter-intuitive to IT departments in many organisations. However, the biggest challenge in deploying the software is not technical; it’s getting users to change how they work. Workday is all about line manager empowerment and self-service. This is the key attraction for companies because it creates major opportunities to simplify processes and improve service performance. But it’s a big culture shift for both managers and HR teams, who are used to being the custodians around HR transactional support in a business.”

Workday was founded by PeopleSoft veterans Dave Duffield and Aneel Bhusri. The software unifies Human Capital Management, Payroll, and Financial Management solutions and is cloud-based. The company has more than 280 customers worldwide, from medium-sized organizations to Fortune 50 businesses. The company is expected to make an initial public offering of its shares later this year as part of an aggressive global expansion plan.