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Workday Looks to Help IT Fill in the Business Process White Space

Mike Vizard

Workday wants to make it simpler for IT organizations to consistently fill in the gaps between the software-as-a-service (SaaS) application software it provides as a cloud service.

A Workday Canvas Design System recently announced provides IT organizations with a set of tools that enable them to build applications that have the same basic look and feel of Workday applications.

Workday CTO Joe Korngiebel says the goal is to enable internal IT organizations to create applications spanning multiple business processes that are a natural complement to Workday applications.

“We want to make it easier to fill in the white spaces between our application,” says Korngiebel.

While there’s a lot of focus these days on digital business transformation, Korngiebel says not enough attention is being paid to the design of applications. End users are not going to accept new applications that are either cumbersome to use or require them to navigate multiple user interfaces, says Korngiebel.

Korngiebel says The Workday Canvas Design System leverages the open application programming interfaces (API) exposed by Workday to make it simpler for IT organizations to deliver a set of applications that provide a consistent user experience that organizations using Workday human resources and financial applications already widely employ.

Without some consistent approach to design, Korngiebel notes, end users become susceptible to business process transformation fatigue, which results in applications not being as widely embraced as developers might have initially hoped.

There’s no doubt then that when it comes to digital business process transformation, IT organizations are struggling to find where SaaS applications end and their own custom application efforts begin. Many of those efforts are being led by so-called “citizen developers” who are essentially business analysts working within line of business (LOB) organizations that have the skills required to develop applications using, for example, low-code platforms. The challenge most of those citizen developers face is that most of them have little experience when it comes to designing an application that any of their colleagues would actually want to use.


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