Cloud human capital management software is big business, and as of this week, Workday Human Capital Management ($WDAY) is reaping the benefits of being a current category leader. Q1 results from the company showed revenue gains of over 33% and non-GAAP first quarter earnings of 43 cents per share, up from expectations of 41 cents per share.

Workday CEO Aneel Bhusri cited 30% increases in subscription billing as the main source of revenue increases, a clear sign that the company is retaining its most valuable asset: customers.

But those customers have choices, and review trends show softening love for Workday over time.

As of today, Workday's average review score is a still-healthy 4.2 out of 5. That's not at the top of the category; that honor goes to Oracle Netsuite HCM. But Oracle's software only has 2 peer reviews compared to Workday's 397, a clear sign of popularity for Workday in the space.

However, competition is fierce and plentiful. Gartner lists 52 products in its cloud human capital management software category. Workday is currently the most-reviewed software in that category by far with 397 peer reviews.

Among those 397 reviews is a potentially worrying trend: the average review score for Workday, which was once an almost unanimous 100%, is showing signs of customer dissent. Weekly averages from 2015-2017 hovered in the 90-percent rage. In 2018, weekly averages dipped as low as 80%.

While that may not be cause for panic, especially coming off of strong numbers and subscriber retention, it's important to look at the space as a whole given the fact that customers clearly have choices.

Ceridian Dayforce, with 295 peer reviews, has seen a somewhat similar decline in review scores as of late. It too reported positive numbers for its first quarter, with revenue of $132.8 million, up 27.6% year-over-year, and, on a constant currency basis, up 28.6% year-over-year.

So where might potential upset come from in the competitive cloud human capital management space? These things are slow moving, given expensive subscriptions and slow moving companies, but with 177 peer reviews and an average score of 4.4 out of 5.0, Bamboo HR appears to be making a bit of a move, at least when it comes to recent review score percentage movement.


To say that Workday — given its sector leadership and strong track record — will let its momentum slip through its fingers would, of course, be foolish. To wit: the company has been on a hiring tear since early February, increasing openings from 422 to 648, an increase in openings of 54%.

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