Workday’s (NYSE:WDAY) co-CEO and co-founder, Aneel Bhusri, pulled off one of the hottest IPOs last year. The offering price was $28, which spiked 74% on the first day of trading. The shares are now at $52.38.
Founded in 2005, Workday is a cloud-based provider of ERP solutions. And the growth has been sizzling. In the latest quarter, revenues soared by 99% to $72.6 million.
I recently had a chance to interview Aneel. No doubt, he had some interesting things to say. Here’s a look:
Q: What’s your take on the cloud for the new year?
A: The debate between the cloud and on-premise is largely dead. The cloud has become mainstream. Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) proved it for CRM. We did it with HR and financials.
Big legacy players are embracing the cloud, as seen with the recent deals. Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) is pitching Fusion and SAP (NYSE:SAP) is pitching SuccessFactors. For Workday, our competition is not against the legacy technology anymore.
So it will be about whose cloud is better. Is it mobile? Does it use Big Data? The advantage will go to those companies who started from the cloud.
Q: You are also bullish on tablets, right?
A: The iPad is an amazing phenomenon. It is disrupting the enterprise. If you are an average employee, you can do anything for HR and Finance on the iPad. Keep in mind that — by the end of the year — Workday managers and supervisors will be able to run their operations off an iPad.
Tablets are more intuitive than a PC or laptop. They also have more real estate than a smartphone.
So going into 2013, there will be a big focus on tablets for cloud vendors. I also think Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will pay more attention to this trend.
Someone will figure out the right set of hardware for Windows Phone 8 as well. It’s going to make it. I have a Surface and I generally like the features, especially the keyboard.
It could even be HP (NYSE:HPQ) that figures it out. And I actually think the company will have a good 2013. Besides the hardware opportunity, HP is doing interesting things with cloud infrastructure. The company can be an alternative to Amazon.com’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) web services.
Q. How will the economy impact tech in 2013?
A: Talking to CIOs, there is cautious optimism. The big concern remains what is happening in Washington.
But the cloud and Big Data may do well regardless of the fiscal environment. In 2008, Workday grew by 50%.
In a slower economy, companies look for more value. The cloud provides this. So does Big Data. Keep in mind that this technology relies on commodity hardware and open source software.