Workday continues push against Oracle, SAP in financial apps

A new Composite Reporting feature could help the cloud software upstart continue its move upmarket

Workday is betting that a new reporting engine some 18 months in the making can convince more large enterprises to use its cloud-based financial software, rather than the widely used finance applications from Oracle and SAP.

Dubbed Composite Reporting, the tool was developed in conjunction with Workday customers such as Netflix and Chuck E. Cheese, said Betsy Bland, vice president of financial management products at Workday.

When creating reports for company boards, finance employees have traditionally pulled data from multiple systems and then crunched a resulting series of spreadsheets into a single document, which is a time-consuming process, Bland said.

However, Workday's architecture holds all of the company's financial data in a single system, making it possible to generate reports on the fly, Bland said. Composite Reporting also gives employees the ability to combine multiple reports into a single view, as well as create more specialized reports, such as a profit-and-loss statement for a particular department.

The reports look and act much like spreadsheets, with features such as a grid layout and the use of formulas, Workday said. A feature called Worktags can be used to apply further dimensions to reports, such as time or region, according to a statement.

Finally, the reporting system provides identity and access management controls that govern what access a particular employee can have to various sets of information.

Composite Reporting is a "much needed" feature for Workday as it makes it easy to share and pull information together, said analyst Ray Wang, chairman and founder of Constellation Research. "A business analyst can do it."

While it's easy to use, at the same time an employee "can go nuts and create some crazy custom reporting," Wang added. "Think of this as the report writer on steroids."

Composite Reporting is part of Workday 23, which is now generally available, Bland said.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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