by Jerod Johnson | October 06, 2023

3 Takeaways from Workday Rising 2023

Now that I'm a week out from Workday Rising, I'd love to share some of my key takeaways, both from the sessions and from my experience as a vendor and partner. First off, though, hats off to the Workday events team for creating and running an event that provides value to Workday customers, employees, and partners.

Below are three main themes I saw at Workday Rising 2023:

1. Responsible use of AI is critical

Unsurprisingly, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) were at the forefront of the conversations at Rising. During the Innovation Keynote, Aneel Bhusri, Workday co-founder and co-CEO, expressed his passion for using AI ethically, while Sayan Chakraborty, co-president and co-CEO, focused his comments on building more transparent and controlled enterprise LLMs (large language models). A lot of the questions around AI come from the quality of the data.

Workday is focused on running AI and ML on their own data, providing intelligence based on data from Workday, ensuring that the base data is relevant, valuable, secure, and helps improve the human experience. By using a curated dataset, Workday can avoid inaccuracies and hallucinations from polluting their AI/ML-driven responses.

2. Use AI to enhance the human experience

Following the CEOs, GM of Employee Experience Ali Fuller, Group GM for the Office of the CHRO David Somers, and Group GM for the Office of the CFO Terrance Wampler rounded out the keynote with some practical demonstrations of how Workday is using AI to enhance the human experience.

Fuller shared how Workday is continuing to meet critical business needs with AI and ML. As an example, the team shared how Netflix can create a new legal entity for each new show in minutes with Workday. They went further to demonstrate how Workday enables customers to rapidly build flex teams to tackle short-term projects, and automatically assign team members based on suggested skills and qualifications. The team also shared how Workday can automatically generate retail schedules based on forecasted demand, employee preferences, and even environmental factors (e.g., a car wash won't need as much staff during a rainstorm).

The point here is that Workday doesn't want AI to replace humans, but to augment human capabilities, allowing them to focus on the more human-centric parts of their jobs. If a manager can trust AI to set and modify schedules, they can focus on training and empowering their direct reports. If a content creator can trust AI to summarize an interview or presentation, they can focus on engaging the interviewee or audience effectively, creating real human connections.

3. Trusted partners are invaluable

Outside of AI, a major theme I saw at Workday rising was partnership. Bhusri and Chakraborty positioned Workday as a trusted partner for any enterprise; Workday CMO Emma Chalwin emphasized collaborative approaches to business, such as working with their trusted partners (like CData!); and vendors and customers cultivated valuable relationships in the "Innovation Hall" (Workday Rising's exhibition hall).

CData & Workday: Better together

Time and again, I had conversations with Workday customers who love everything it has to offer. I also met many customers who worked with trusted managed service providers to help them make the most of their Workday ecosystem. And I even had the pleasure of speaking with one of the 1,500 field leaders at BJ's Wholesale Club who find immense benefits from their CData connectivity solution. In a landscape of growing expertise and specialization, finding the right partner can help you make the most of your technology investment.

What's next?

  • Make sure any AI you're using is built on top of reliable data. Invest in the right tools to augment your data strategy and create the right datasets for your LLMs.
  • Use AI to enhance the human experience. Customers are still human beings, and we should aim to use AI to help bolster human connections and ease the burden on human employees.
  • Choose the right partner. No matter where your data is or how it's being used, the right partners will help you work better with Workday and meet your goals.
  • See you in Las Vegas at Workday Rising 2024!

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