Workday’s Privacy Principles in the Era of Intelligent Technologies

Privacy continues to be front and center on the global stage, with the advent of the General Data Protection Regulation, the growing momentum for U.S. privacy legislation, and new laws in Asia and Latin America. At Workday, we welcome this renewed attention, as privacy protections have been a fundamental component of Workday’s services from our very beginning.

Much of the current discussion around privacy is driven by new possibilities unlocked by artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and big data analytics. To power these technologies, multiple data sources are brought together to generate insights and make predictions across a wide range of use cases. Over the last few years, these technologies have initiated changes in ways unfathomable just a few years ago. At the same time, however, we’ve seen some cases involving misuse of consumers’ data, resulting in questions about whether data technologies respect individuals’ privacy. But in the enterprise context, data-fueled AI and advanced analytics are quietly improving business processes, increasing worker productivity, and surfacing patterns that help business leaders make better decisions—all while incorporating strong privacy protections.

As a proponent of AI and advanced analytics, we want to reaffirm Workday’s continued commitment to privacy. First and foremost, the personal data our customers share with us is their data. We believe strong privacy protections can live in harmony with the data needs of advanced analytics and increased data-driven decision making. We also believe that privacy rights must be protected through strong legislation and enforcement that ensures ethical use of individuals’ information.

Today we go a step further, by announcing that in addition to our ongoing compliance with privacy laws and regulations, Workday will follow three Privacy Principles that reflect our core values—specifically customers, integrity, and innovation—in all that we do:

  • Put Privacy First
  • Innovate Responsibly
  • Safeguard Fairness and Trust

Let’s dive a little deeper into each of these principles:

Put Privacy First

Workday builds controls into its software and services which enable customers to configure their use of our services to comply with privacy regulations globally and provide appropriate privacy protection for their users. In addition, as data analysis and algorithmic usage become more critical to business decisions, we work closely with our customers as we build and deploy new services so that there are no surprises around unanticipated collection or use. Partnering with our customers has always been at the core of our business.

Innovate Responsibly

Workday ingrains privacy-by-design principles in every product we build, every service we deploy, and every new usage of data. In addition, Workday’s services are designed to empower customers to make more informed decisions, not to eliminate human decision-making. We believe that innovations in AI, machine learning algorithms, and big data analytics can improve our customers’ experiences, benefit their workers, and make our customers’ businesses run better.

We will continue to develop new products that help customers make better use of their data while ensuring the protection of customers’ data.

In addition, we incorporate transparency in the machine learning design process. We are clear about the accuracy of our algorithms and tell our customers how much data is needed for an algorithm to be reliable. We also implement robust practices for detecting and preventing bias in our data use and algorithms.

Safeguard Fairness and Trust

Workday respects and protects the confidentiality of our customers’ data, and demonstrates accountability through our robust third-party audits and certifications. We are often among the first to get certified to new privacy standards like Privacy Shield and the APEC Privacy Recognition for Processors. In addition, Workday commits to being transparent about how our services use personal data, including those that deploy artificial intelligence, and how we develop and vet our products. Finally, Workday commits to maintaining our Binding Corporate Rules (a detailed code of conduct around personal data) and to working closely with regulators to ensure continued compliance.

Customers, prospects, and others can see Workday’s Privacy Principles in action in Workday’s Innovation Services, which optimize and enhance the core Workday experience through use of intelligent technologies, enabling companies to gain even more insights from their data. Workday customers have complete control over the data used to power Innovation Services. And we provide a one-stop shop listing the security and privacy commitments applicable across all Innovation Services, making them easy to evaluate. By delivering Innovation Services in this way, customers can rest easy that their data is protected by the same world-class level of privacy and security that they have come to expect from Workday.

By embracing these Privacy Principles, Workday enables customers to accelerate innovation in their workplaces through new uses of data. We will continue to develop new products that help customers make better use of their data while ensuring the protection of customers’ data. The only thing more important than ensuring we protect customers’ privacy today is committing to provide even better protection tomorrow as we embrace even newer, more advanced technologies to help customers make even better use of their data in the future.