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Workday, Google Cloud Partnership Counters Salesforce-AWS


Workday and Google Cloud have confirmed a cloud partnership that allows customers to deploy Workday's financial management, human capital management (HCM) and adaptive planning applications on Google Cloud.

The Workday-Google relationship essentially counters the Salesforce-Amazon Web Services partnership, along with Microsoft's business applications coupled with Azure cloud.

The stakes are especially high for Workday, considering Amazon halted a planned company-wide adoption of Workday's HR software, Business Insider reported in July 2021. Amazon allegedly expressed concerns about Workday's scalability, though Workday downplayed the story and said the canceled Amazon-Workday project involved a mutual agreement dating back to early 2020.

Workday and Google Cloud Partnership: Where Do Systems Integrators, MSPs Fit In?

Looking ahead, Workday and Google Cloud will jointly target enterprise customers. But the partnership faces question marks in the channel.

Specifically: Will Workday and Google Cloud announce joint partner program initiatives to jointly empower Workday global systems integrators and Google Cloud's growing ecosystem of MSP partners -- including selected Top 250 Public Cloud MSPs? The near-term answer is unclear.

Indeed, the initial Workday-Google Cloud announcement involves "strategic, joint, go-to-market programs that include co-marketing activities and establishing co-selling programs to increase awareness among customers and prospects across the U.S." However, the announcement made no mention of mutual partner engagement programs.

Both Wokday and Google Cloud are in growth mode, but they each face intense competition within their core markets.

Workday: Growing Revenues, Growing Competition

Workday initially carved a big niche for itself with SaaS-based HR (human resources) applications before introducing additional SaaS-based business applications. But the company now faces growing competition from entrenched rivals that have pivoted to the cloud -- namely Microsoft, SAP, Oracle -- along with Salesforce and potentially ServiceNow.

Workday's revenue was $1.18 billion in Q1 of fiscal 2022, up 15.4 percent compared to Q1 of fiscal 2021, according to a May 2021 earnings announcement.  The company plans to announce financial results for Q2 of fiscal 2022 on August 26, 2021.

Workday's partner ecosystem has experienced steady M&A activity. Indeed global systems integrators and ISVs (independent software vendors) have been acquiring Workday talent and tools to fill skills, geography and intellectual property (IP) gaps. M&A buyers in the Workday partner ecosystem include Accenture, Cognizant and Kainos, among others.

Google Cloud: Growing Revenues, Chasing and Differentiating From AWS and Azure

Thomas Kurian, CEO, Google Cloud
Thomas Kurian, CEO, Google Cloud

Meanwhile, Google Cloud continues to chase Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure in the public cloud market. The latest scorecard:

  • AWS revenue was $13.5 billion for Q1 2021, up 32 percent from Q1 of 2020.
  • Microsoft's Intelligent Cloud business was $15.1 billion in Q3 of fiscal 2021, up 23 percent from Q3 of 2020. Microsoft does not break out specific Azure revenue results.
  • Google Cloud revenue was $4.0 billion in Q1 of 2021, up 46 percent from Q1 of 2020.

The Google Cloud strategy has evolved and scaled dramatically since Oracle veteran Thomas Kurian arrived as Google Cloud CEO in January 2019. Under Kurian's leadership, Google Cloud rapidly built out an enterprise sales team, strengthened MSP and ISV relationships, and emphasized specific cloud use cases rather than generic Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

Google Cloud And Workday Partnership: Executive Perspectives

Chano Fernandez, co-CEO, Workday

In a prepared comment about the partnership, Chano Fernandez, co-CEO at Workday, said:

"The combination of Workday and Google Cloud provides customers with an exceptional public cloud experience where they can take advantage of leading innovation services from both companies, helping to drive greater value from their enterprise investments. Together, we're uniquely positioned to deliver industry-leading cloud capabilities so organizations can enhance workforce productivity and accelerate their digital transformations."

Added Google's Kurian:

"More than ever, businesses are looking for increased flexibility, openness, and choice when it comes to where their data is stored, accessed, and managed. By running Workday on Google Cloud, organizations can adhere to commercial data requirements, while maintaining the enterprise-grade security, scalability, and performance they expect from a trusted cloud leader like Google."

Memo to Fernandez and Kurian: Nice start. Now, broaden your joint go-to-market messaging to include partners.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.