August 2, 2021
Welcome to Protocol | Enterprise, your comprehensive roundup of everything you need to know about the week in cloud and enterprise software. This Monday: Workday's Amazon fiasco, gaming goes subscription, and AWS continues to dominate.
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In 2017, Workday hit the jackpot. Amazon, one of the world's most valuable and prominent companies, was going to become a customer. And not just in a single division — across the whole enterprise. It was the kind of announcement IT vendors drool over.
But Amazon ultimately abandoned the projectafter what appeared to be a difficult, and ultimately failed, implementation effort.
The news came as a bit of a shock, given Workday's prominence in the business software industry, as well as the fact that the project came to a halt over a year and a half ago and didn't become public knowledge until this week.
Still, the rumored reasoning behind Amazon's decision — that Workday's database couldn't scale fast enough to support the pace of hiring, according to an anonymous source who spoke to Business Insider — is a devastating blow for a vendor that labels itself as cloud-native.
The whole rationale behind the cloud is that the services can be scaled up rapidly and easily. And for a vendor that specializes in HR tech, accommodating a dramatic rise in a customer's workforce seems table stakes by this point.
It's the kind of criticism that, a decade ago, one may expect to be leveled at Oracle or SAP. That's why it's so surprising to see.
And the damaging announcement comes as Workday's list of competitors grows longer and more prominent. The company is dominant in human resource management systems, or HRIS, but is weaker in other areas.
The reality is that organizations need a ton of different programs to work together to support HR, like payroll and talent management, for example. And it's going to be very difficult for a vendor like ServiceNow or Salesforce to offer the full suite of services that Workday can.
Now, we get the rare chance to see just how impactful a very public, negative user experience will have on one of the largest enterprise tech vendors.
— Joe Williams
Singapore is fast becoming a global hotbed of tech innovation. It's easy to see why. Nearly 80 of the world's top 100 tech firms have set up outposts there, including Google, Facebook, Stripe, Salesforce and homegrown unicorns like the super-app Grab.
Join Protocol's Biz Carson for a conversation with Atomic's Swathy Prithivi, Accel's Rich Wong and Asana's Oliver Jay during our upcoming event: Going Global: How Tech Companies Expand Internationally August 10 at 9 a.m. PT / 12 p.m. ET Learn More
Gaming goes subscription: Protocol's Nick Statt has a fantastic deep dive into how the gaming industry is responding to the increasingly cloud-first paradigm and the challenges ahead in making subscription a reality.
Finding purpose: In 2021, Cisco added a new responsibility for Chief People Officer Francine Katsoudas. As chief people, policy & purpose officer, she would be tasked with holding Cisco accountable for adhering to its stated mission. If you're confused about what that really means, this Q&A from Protocol's Amber Burton will help.
Business leaders say they choose Singapore for its modern tech infrastructure, strong government support, robust pipeline of talent and pro-business regulations (the World Bank ranks it No. 2 in the world for ease of doing business). Plus, its location in the heart of Southeast Asia serves as a launchpad into the bustling Asian-Pacific market.
Thanks for reading — see you Thursday!