Embedded Analytics for Financial Management in Workday 19

We recently announced Workday 19, which delivers great new capabilities in Workday Financial Management. I’m particularly excited about our continued work in the area of embedded analytics, a unique offering from Workday that demonstrates—and delivers on—our focus on innovation.

The legacy approach to analytics is to extract and analyze business data in a separately licensed business intelligence system, but our approach frees customers from all that cost and complexity. Workday delivers analytics embedded directly within business processes, and customers can configure these analytics to suit their organizations’ specific needs. With this capability, managers across our customer organizations gain deeper insights into day-to-day business events in an easily consumable interface from both desktops and mobile devices.

None of this can be done without the right model for capturing business data. A critical component to our model is Worktags, which my colleague Mark Nittler wrote about in an earlier blog post. Worktags are keywords assigned to events (such as an invoice, an expense report, or a product launch), and they complement a comprehensive set of core reference objects we’ve defined within Workday, including company, customer, ledger account, business unit, product, project, item, supplier, and employee. A Worktag itself can be a customer, supplier, product, and more, and its sole purpose is to help organizations gain insights about events associated with those objects.

Creating robust associations among Worktags and objects is key to delivering rich analytics. With each Workday update, we have expanded these associations. In Workday 19, we’ve added Worktag associations to the objects of sales item, revenue category, and custom organization. For finance and business managers, this provides deeper insights about the sale of an item, for example, because of the expanded number of auto-populated Worktags now associated with that sale, including customer, region, and salesperson. This follows work we’ve done in past updates to expand Worktag associations for the objects of customer, project, cost center, and grants.

In Workday 19, embedded analytics play a starring role in our new expense report dashboard. A business manager can gain insights into expense reports using the Worktags that were initially tagged to the reports, yet can also select additional Worktags that can be associated with yet another set of related Worktags. Then the manager can view report totals not just by employee, but also by, say, customer or sales channel.

The screenshot below shows the multiple ways managers can view the cost of expense items in Workday 19 by expense type. The expense types in the “View By” window are a combination of Workday objects and associated Worktags.

All Worktags are sticky—their associations are carried throughout the lifecycle of each transaction. But sticky doesn’t mean rigid; they can be changed or added at any time, and the marketing and operations departments can use Worktag sets that are different from those used by the legal and human resources departments.

This is a true evolution from the traditional approach to bolted-on business intelligence software. I joined Workday late last year, and having worked in the area of financial applications development and strategy for more than 20 years, I believe Workday’s approach to embedded analytics is one of the most significant improvements to the traditional ERP information constructs I have seen.

We know our customers will value these new capabilities in Workday 19. Embedded analytics are a critical and distinct differentiator for Workday, and an area we’ll continue to expand upon as part of our ongoing investments in Workday Financial Management.