About a year ago, I met up with Workday’s (NYSE:WDAY) co-founder and co-CEO Aneel Bhusri. We had a wide-ranging talk about the cloud and mobile (he was holding onto his iPad!). I also asked him if an IPO was part of the plan, and he smiled.
“It’s definitely in the plan.”
Well, I’m sure Aneel is doing a lot of smiling today. Workday came public on the NYSE and the shares are up about 66%.
The company is a top cloud operator for enterprise resource planning (ERP), software that helps companies manage their financials, inventory and human resources.
And yes, the company has been growing at a rapid clip. From fiscal 2011 to 2012, revenues have soared from $25.2 million to $134.4 million.
So this morning, I had a call with Aneel as well as the company’s CFO, Mark Peek. Here are some of the highlights:
The IPO Process: According to Mark, Workday was one of the first companies to use the JOBS Act, recent legislation to make public offerings less onerous. The company used the “confidential” filing provision that allowed it to handle comments with the SEC without making a public filing.
As for the roadshow, there were the typical questions about the competitive landscape, such how to go up against rivals like Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) and SAP.
But another big topic was the market opportunity. “Investors wanted to know more about our financials product,” said Mark. “Of our over 340 customers, about 30 have it. We see the market opportunity at about 2 times larger than for HR. So we are devoting about half our R&D budget to the financials product.”
Mobile First: This is the mantra at Workday. “Mobile is about how to get to your users,” said Aneel. “What’s great about the iPad and iPhone is that they are easy-on, easy-off. It means that ERP information is no longer just for accountants and HR people.”
Lessons: “There are two main ones,” said Aneel. “When Dave Duffield and I started the company back in 2005, we focused on building a large system of record for enterprises. At the time, it was a very different strategy because cloud companies were focused on the SMB market or point solutions.
“So the lesson is that if you know you have the right strategy, do not deviate from it.
“The other lesson is that it is important to find the best employees and customers. It makes things fun.”
I’m sure he said it with a smile.