At Workday DevCon 2023 last month, the company detailed an expanded partnership with AWS that makes it easier for developers to natively integrate AWS platform capabilities into their Workday Extend apps, and new machine learning (ML) capabilities to enable developers to augment their apps with insights from Workday-curated large language models (LLMs). Workday executives also shared its top development priorities, led by artificial intelligence (AI) and ML.
The hybrid in-person/digital event, attended by over 2000 developers, highlights the crucial role that Workday developers play in creating and driving an ecosystem of innovation across HR and finance; officials emphasized how developers do this by creating products that solve real-world problems, improve efficiency, and enhance user experience.
Workday and AWS officials said they have developed native integration from Workday Extend to AWS, so Workday developers can efficiently and securely leverage AWS platform capabilities including AI services, Lambda, S3, and Amazon EventBridge when building Extend apps.
Workday and AWS demonstrated integration between Extend apps — which run within Workday’s platform — and the aforementioned AWS services for DevCon attendees.
The two companies are building on their decade-long partnership with joint go-to-market initiatives in the US, EMEA, and Asia Pacific Japan, according to Matt Grippo, GM Cloud Platform at Workday, and Scott Rosecrans, Vice President of Applications Sales and Strategic Business Development at Amazon Web Services (AWS), who discussed the partnership in a joint presentation.
Workday positioned new ML functionality as supporting the “future of work” theme that has been a major focus for chairman and Co-CEO Aneel Bhusri. In a keynote conversation featuring Bhusri and Co-President Sayan Chakraborty, the two emphasized how AI and ML enable people to focus on delivering business results while AI handles tedious, repetitive tasks.
To achieve that objective, Workday is offering APIs to its ML platform that developers can use in applications they build to accelerate their business. The company released three new capabilities for its ML platform:
- Skills extract API, which leverages Workday’s Skills LLM to enable developers to extract relevant skills from text
- Document intelligence, which leverages Workday’s curated ML models to help users extract business relevant fields from business documents like invoices, receipts, and generic documents.
- ML Forecaster, which enables developers to build curated forecasts based on historical or third-party data such as labor statistics or climate data.
The Workday leaders’ insights build upon over seven years’ work the company has done building AI and ML through a platform-first approach. They closed their discussion by observing the transition to a skills-based economy and what that means for the future of work. With an aging workforce and rapid technological change playing out in parallel, organizations need to understand — and optimize — their internal skills, they said.
Workday Investment Priorities
Three top company executives — Jim Stratton, SVP and Chief Technology Officer; Shane Luke, VP AI and Machine Learning; and Dave Sohigian, Global CTO — presented their vision for helping developers innovate through the Workday platform. To that end, they outlined three key investment areas:
- Embedded AI and ML
- Platform interoperability
- No/low-code development
Luke highlighted Workday’s focus on data quality, rather than just quantity, and the use of federated learning. He also reinforced Workday’s commitment to trustworthy AI and ML, ensuring transparency and ethical treatment as developers build their apps.
The company underscored its commitment to no/low-code by announcing general availability of its App Builder browser-based no/low-code tool for collaboratively building Extend apps. Also now generally available is Graph API, which leverages GraphQL technology to provide a single pane of glass for developers to discover and access Workday data.
Carl Eschenbach, newly appointed Co-CEO of Workday, emphasized the need for customers, and the developers building apps, to innovate faster than ever before, with businesses moving from best-of-breed to best-of-platform approaches — unleashing opportunities for developers to tailor Workday software to their industry- and company-specific needs.
Eschenbach exhorted developers, saying they are the drivers for the next chapter of growth for both Workday and their own businesses, and highlighted the importance of the community being ready to help their companies prepare for the changes ahead. In fact, he sees a future in which Workday and developers collaborate to increase the value of the Workday platform and build the future of work.
In all, DevCon presented a bullish outlook driven by innovative products, compelling partnerships, and a strategic vision for how technology can help people advance their skills to remain competitive in the future of work.
Eschenbach further shared that powering the careers of developers who understand Workday and are building capabilities is crucial in order to move business forward. In closing, he reiterated that Workday’s community of partners and customers will continue to increase the value of the Workday platform and build the future of work.