Aneel Bhusri talks Workday and Microsoft  (Source Workday)
Aneel Bhusri talks Workday and Microsoft (Source Workday)

Aneel Bhusri, CEO and founder at Workday, announced a new partnership with Microsoft during the keynote at Workday Rising in Chicago. Bhusri commented: “Connecting the productivity tools in Office 365 with Workday’s finance and HR applications will enable customers globally to uncover new ways to produce great work that ultimately drives their businesses forward.

“Our partnership with Microsoft is yet another example of our commitment to empowering customers to increase productivity and drive performance with Workday — all in an intuitive experience that mirrors how they prefer to work.”

Office 365 integration

The first set of integrations announced will not be available until Q2 2017 and are an interesting first step. There are three distinct integrations names as: Office 365 groups, Microsoft Flow and Microsoft MyAnalytics.

Lessening the administration load

Workday is connecting the Workday organisational structures to Microsoft Groups. This is not a bi-directional integration. Only changes made in Workday will be reflected in Microsoft Groups.  This appears strange as most integrations are bidirectional. Even with Workday doing all the work it should have been possible to relfect changes from either end.

The advantages this integration will have is that it means that other Microsoft applications immediately understand these organisations changes. These applications include email, calendars, shared documents and Microsoft Graph. It will also reduce the load on IT who often struggle to ensure people movements are correctly reflected in security settings.

Workday has linked its dynamic business framework to Microsoft Flow. This will enable businesses to extend the Workflow business automation into any application that is within the Microsoft Flow ecosystem. This will also help to eliminate unnecessary administration tasks. For example, when a new user is created within Workday,  events are triggered across all 47 applications that Flow supports. These include such applications as Dropbox, OneDrive, Slack, Sharepoint and Salesforce.

Changes are initiated in the HR system. A major benefit of this integration is that it allows the automatic creation, or suspending of IT accounts across the organisation. Removing user accounts as soon as they leave the organisation will improve IT security. Flow can also enable the creation of welcome messages and changes to IT footprint so that users become aware of new solutions and access.

Analytics improvements

Probably one of the most interesting connections is between Workday Human Capital Management (HCM) and Microsoft Graph. Employees with be able to use Microsoft MyAnalytics (formerly Delve Analytics) to understand how they spend their time and with whom. This appears to be providing the Myanalytics functionality within Workday using data from within Microsoft Outlook.

What is missing from the announcement is how much data from within Workday will also be available to Myanalytics.  This is an interesting step for Workday. Especially if it is looking to utilise Microsoft analytics tools to deliver insights within Workday Data. While Workday has its own analytics tools it could open up its data store to Power BI. it can then focus on delivering vertical industry  improvements to its software rather than reinventing analytics solutions that are available elsewhere.

A lasting partnership

Satya Nadella, CEO,Microsoft Source Microsoft)
Satya Nadella, CEO,Microsoft

This is the first set of enhancements that Workday and Microsoft will release. The inference is that more will come in time.  It will be interesting to see whether that incudes integration with  Dynamics 365 which will be launched soon. Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella commented in a video: “Our mission is to empower every person in every organization on the planet to achieve more. Pursuing this mission means forging strategic partnerships with companies like Workday. Together Microsoft and Workday are focussed on helping organisations and teams transform the way they work and collaborate and become more connected to people and information they care about the most.”

While the integrations seem initially to be one way this not how Nadella sees it. He added: “Every company in every industry holds a wealth of information in the form of organisational data. connecting office 365 to  Workday will provide customers with new knowledge and insights to understand how and when and with whom they are spending their time and take action, converting data into intelligence.”

One hopes that these integrations will become bidirectional and that Workday has joined the Microsoft Flow ecosystem. This would have made this announcement even more powerful.


With Workday Rising in full swing we can expect other announcements from Workday over the next few days. They have also announced the long awaited  Workday Planning, Workday Student and Working Learning. This announcement sees Workday deepen its relationship with Microsoft.  The initial integrations included identity integration with Azure Active Directory and the Workday for Outlook App.

This new functionality adds a new depth of integration to the wider Microsoft application portfolio. What they will deliver next is going to be interesting. Unfortunately it might not happen until the latter half of 2017, possibly 2018. This is later than many will hope for.

What comes next for Workday and MIcrosoft is important. With Oracle flexing its muscles in the cloud and Succesfactors announcing several customer wins on the same day partnerships will become increasingly important.


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