Workday shares slide following claims Amazon ditched company-wide HR system

Some customers have a 'unique set of needs' SaaSy vendor says


Updated Amazon has halted plans to roll out a company-wide HR system based on SaaS from Workday, highlighting the challenges of migrating to the in-vogue application model.

A deal between the megacorp and Workday, an enterprise application interloper, was signed in 2017 with Amazon HR veep Beth Galetti at the time declaring: "Workday is an HR cloud leader that provides an innovative, customer-focused HCM system that will support Amazon as we continue to hire employees around the world."

Three years later, the Seattle book-seller-cum-enterprise-juggernaut has changed its tune. According to reports, a migration from Oracle's PeopleSoft has come unstuck because Workday's database, an in-memory system that drew inspiration from SAP's HANA, did not scale to the needs of Amazon's increasing number of employees. In 2017, around 300,000 worked for the firm worldwide. Now it is around 800,000 in the US and 1.3 million worldwide.

Reports claim that some Amazon businesses, like streaming platform Twitch, are using Workday's HR system, but for the main part, the organisation still relies on Oracle's PeopleSoft.

In a blogpost, Workday said it and Amazon had both "mutually agreed to discontinue Amazon's Workday Human Capital Management deployment," based on a decision taken "more than a year and a half ago."

It said there was "the potential to revisit [the project] in the future" and denied the decision was "related to the scalability of the Workday system." One of its largest retail customers supported 1.5 million workers worldwide, it said.

"At times… customers have a unique set of needs that are different from what we're delivering for our broader customer base, as was the case with Amazon – one of the most unique and dynamic companies in the world," the statement said.

The Register has approached Amazon for comment.

Workday's shares slid by as much as 7.8 per cent when news of Amazon's decision broke.

It is not only megacorps that seem to struggle to implement Workday software. In the last year, two North American public-sector projects have become mired in difficulties.

The State of Maine ordered an official review of its $54.6m project to renew its HR system based on software from Workday, accusing the vendor of showing "no accountability" for its part in a flawed project which could leave the state government continuing to rely on its 30-year-old mainframe-based system.

At the time, Workday told The Register it was "committed to partnering with the State of Maine to successfully complete this project."

Meanwhile, teaching assistants at Canada's McGill University spent Christmas waiting to be paid as the institution struggled with a new Workday HR and payroll system, according to the Association of Graduate Students Employed at McGill (AGSEM). ®

Updated to add

An AWS spokesperson told The Register: "A number of significant teams within Amazon continue to use Workday. Others have specific requirements based on their unique businesses. The partnership between the two companies remains strong."

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021