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US enterprise software firm taps SA’s AI focus

Christopher Tredger
By Christopher Tredger, Portals editor
Johannesburg, 11 Jun 2024
Jonathan Randle, VP for the EMEA region, Workday.
Jonathan Randle, VP for the EMEA region, Workday.

US enterprise software vendor Workday has introduced new AI features in its human capital and financial solutions portfolio and plans to tap into growing interest in AI within the South African market.

AI capabilities include contract analysis using GenAI, personalised knowledge management, streamlined collections process, and a developer copilot, designed to improve developer productivity by turning natural language into app code.

The company has operated in South Africa for six years and will host its flagship event Elevate in Johannesburg on 11 June and Cape Town on 13 June.

It has 10 000 customers globally, 30% of which are businesses with fewer than 1000 employees. It has in the region of 500 customers in South Africa (mostly global operators that have invested in local presence), with 12 AI-accredited specialist partners that provide AI expertise and services to customers.

The vendor’s core business is the supply of software to enable customers to unify finance, HR, and planning on one open and connected platform.

This provides a single source of data and truth for customers, making it possible to deliver in-context, real-time reporting.

Workday’s VP for the EMEA region, Jonathan Randle, says there is a demand for technology that centralises data to make it more accessible, that helps to ensure compliance with regulation, that addresses the complexity that often arises with large-scale, end-to-end software integration.

“Globally, there is a demand for consolidation and simplification, especially in terms of AI and GenAI, and migration to the cloud… the same applies to South Africa,” says Randle.

Clare Hickie, CTO, EMEA at Workday, says, “Organisations have different challenges, including those they don’t expect, so there’s always going to be a focus on consolidation and simplification.”

Workday introduced the Extend platform to help organisations navigate these challenges, particularly as businesses progress with digital transformation.

The platform is a compilation of several development tools that enable customers and partners to develop their own applications on the platform. Through Workday AI Gateway, developers have access to Workday AI and ML services.

“The value they have is that they can leverage all the advantages from an architectural perspective, that we have already built out,” says Hickie.

Workday expects to grow its customer and partner network, and while the current focus is on South Africa, there are plans to expand into new markets in Africa.