Announcing Workday People Analytics: Leveraging the Strength of AI, Machine Learning, and Augmented Analytics

It’s been said that data is the new oil, but what if your business is built on top of a gushing geyser? In fact, it most likely is. Almost all companies produce far more data than they can analyze, and for quite a while, Workday’s goal has been to help companies extract valuable insights from their data. Starting with our built-in reporting and analytics, and then with the introduction of Workday Prism Analytics and Workday Data-as-a-Service, as the sheer volume, velocity, and variety of data grows, we’ve expanded our offerings to help our customers take full advantage of their data.

Geared toward openness and bringing non-Workday data into the system, Workday Prism Analytics is the data hub for your finance and HR teams. Earlier this summer, we took another step forward in our analytics journey with the acquisition of, a market leader in augmented analytics.

That’s why, today, we’re pleased to announce Workday People Analytics, a new application that will give executives, organization leaders, and HR business partners a view into the most critical trends in their workforce, and an understanding of the most likely drivers of those trends. It will leverage powerful artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and augmented analytics technologies to provide dynamically-created key metrics accompanied by explanatory narratives—what we call stories.

How We Got Here

First, some background. It’s important to note that Workday People Analytics works alongside our existing products. Because of the Power of One, Workday has one data model, so our applications are able to process data about people very easily. For customers of Workday Human Capital Management (HCM), Workday People Analytics will work out of the box with that data. Even for those customers who are not using Workday HCM, they are able to bring in external data from any HCM system via Workday Prism Analytics, so those insights will still be available.

That’s Great, Now What?

Amidst all of this data, we knew there had to be a better way to put high-value information into the hands of executives. To solve this, we leveraged augmented analytics, which brings together a number of AI capabilities applied to enterprise problems, including:

  • Automated pattern-detection capabilities to look for important changes a human might not see
  • Graph processing to find connections across vast datasets
  • Machine learning to predict the most important issue for you to see
  • Natural language generation to explain what is happening in a simple story

AI in Workday will search through millions of possible scenarios in data to prioritize and automatically push personalized insights, in story form, to executives on a regular basis. Stories provide a natural language explanation of what’s happening. Insights can be positive or negative—they’re simply something you should know. They dig even deeper into your data, automatically, and tell you why it’s happening. This provides the essential information leaders need to make decisions about their business.

See What Matters Most

This brings us full circle: Workday People Analytics is the first place we’re using augmented analytics. It will give executives, organization leaders, and HR business partners actionable guidance, combining dynamically-created stories with static content covering areas such as organization composition, diversity, hiring, retention and attrition, and talent and performance.


Rather than an auto-generated prediction of what may happen against a specific question, Workday People Analytics provides a narrative to guide executives where to focus across a broad domain—whether that be a specific team, location, customer, or product line. It uses machine learning to predict and surface what’s truly important. Put another way, Workday People Analytics tells you what you need to know.

For example, a people leader might receive a message that shows new hire turnover has increased overall, and that not only should they look at the sales organization in London, but also dig into compensation, as well as a specific hiring manager. The application helps leaders focus on the most important issues impacting their business, and answer high-value questions like:

  • What are the bottlenecks of the hiring process?
  • What are the top five trends in the organization’s diversity? How are we evolving as a community?
  • Which pockets of excellence can the whole organization learn from?
  • Where do we see unusually high attrition? What are the drivers behind it?

As a result, information load is reduced by a factor of 1,000—you’ll see what matters most so you can make the best decisions in the least possible time. The organization acts, innovates, and learns faster, creating a virtuous cycle.

Future’s So Bright…

Workday People Analytics is just the beginning, and we’re excited to enter a new age in data, beyond self-service and into the world of useful predictions made by AI. Starting with people, in the future, we’ll apply augmented analytics across all of Workday’s products. Workday People Analytics will be available to early adopters next fall, and generally available at the end of calendar year 2019. Sold separately to Workday HCM customers, it will be included as part of Workday Prism Analytics. We’re sure the best is yet to come.