Salesforce gets cozy with Workday: "That's what customers want"

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. Credit: Dell's Official Flickr Page via Flickr

First it was Oracle. Today it’s Workday, and more such partnerships will come, said Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

This morning, Salesforce and Workday announced a partnership to integrate their products.That means developers will be able to build applications using Force.com that draw data directly from Workday, Chatter users will be able to get updates from Workday, and Workday HCM and Workday Financial Management users will be able to pull in Salesforce data.

The announcement follows one in late June where arch rivals Salesforce and Oracle similarly said they’d integrate some of their products.

“You’ve seen us make other announcements this year, here’s another one, and you’ll see more at Dreamforce,” Benioff said during a conference call today to discuss the Workday partnership. Dreamforce, Salesforce.com’s annual conference, takes place in November in San Francisco.

He said that it’s an important time for these kinds of partnerships. Products like those from Salesforce and Workday work better together, he said. “That’s what customers want. They want integration. They want vendors to have a working relationship with each other. They want us to take responsibility for implementations,” he said.

With the growth of companies like Salesforce that deliver software as a service, fewer enterprises rely solely on one vendor. That means they’re more likely to need or want to integrate products from different suppliers.

Benioff criticized vendors that are opposed to partnering. “Not all vendors have this philosophy. They’ve isolated themselves. They think they can do it all,” he said. “I think increasingly customers will have an aversion to vendors that don’t have these types of partnerships and working relationships in place.”

Workday co-CEO Aneel Bhusri choed Benioff’s thinking. “We live in an open world and customers expect their vendors to collaborate and provide a better solution for them,” he said.

He said that integration is the second highest budget item, behind business process design, for his customers that are implementing Workday. “If we can strip out the cost of integration by prepackaging the integration, it’s great for customers,” he said.

As part of the deal, both companies said they’d expand the usage of each other’s products internally. Salesforce’s partnership with Oracle included a similar agreement. That presents a bit of a problem, given that both Workday and Oracle offer human resources products.

In this case, Workday won out. Salesforce uses Oracle products but decided to go with Workday for HCM. “We have evaluated a number of packages but made the decision to go with Workday,” Benioff said.

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