Oracle vs Workday fight between two male gemsbok

The landscape of human capital management (HCM) is more dynamic than ever, changing at a breakneck pace. From generative AI to comprehensive cloud solutions, industry titans are constantly pushing the boundaries to empower HR professionals. 

Among these developments, two names stand out: Oracle and Workday. Both have made significant strides recently, but how do they compare to one another, especially for senior HR professionals and decision-makers looking to take advantage of these developments? Let us dig a little deeper.

Embracing the AI Revolution: Workday’s Innovative Approach

Workday’s platform has supported AI and machine learning for some time now, but the enterprise cloud giant redefined commitment at the Rising US 2023 conference in San Francisco by embracing generative AI. 

This new version of technology is more than an improvement; it is a revolution, with revolutionary features like automatic job description generation, personalised content creation in multiple languages, and in-depth development plans for each employee drawn from Workday’s vast troves of information.

Workday’s strategy is squarely aimed at managers, with the goal of increasing their effectiveness. Underscoring this is the critical role of managers in team development in the face of increasing pressures and shifting workplace norms. The incorporation of AI not only streamlines tasks but also strengthens the most important aspect of a manager’s role: people leadership.

Industry analysts have praised Workday’s manager-centric innovations, including the Manager Insights Hub. Josh Bersin, a keynote speaker at UNLEASH World 2023, emphasises its importance, pointing out that it seamlessly integrates various employee data, empowering managers. Furthermore, the evolution of the ‘Ask Workday’ assistant indicates an exciting trajectory, with functionalities that have customers buzzing.

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Ethical AI

The ethical AI strategy that Workday has adopted is noteworthy. Workday’s co-president, Sayan Chakraborty, argues that generative AI has the potential to radically alter the workplace by increasing productivity and transparency in the process of adopting new technologies. 

This ethos will be palpable in their forthcoming AI marketplace, which will include collaborators such as BetterUp, Paradox, and HiredScore, and aim to provide a hub for responsible innovation.

Oracle HCM Now: A Game-Changer for Mid-Size Enterprises

While Workday expands the boundaries of artificial intelligence, Oracle focuses on the often-overlooked medium- and large-sized businesses. 

These businesses face distinct difficulties and need HR resources that are both affordable and flexible enough to handle rapid change and future expansion. Enter Oracle HCM. Oracle Fusion Cloud Human Capital Management (HCM) now has a game-changing solution for medium-sized businesses.

Oracle HCM Now goes beyond simple implementation to give users more control over their HR processes. With a focus on reduced costs and complexity, this model provides a streamlined, prescriptive process for companies with up to 15,000 workers. The benefits are multifold:

  • Quick Time-to-Value: Businesses can quickly get key features thanks to a fast-tracked implementation model and fixed-fee packages that meet immediate business needs. This agility is crucial, especially when adapting to industry shifts.
  • Oracle Cloud HCM’s adaptability allows businesses to quickly adopt new capabilities without the need for additional tools, allowing them to keep the employee experience consistent and fluid.
  • This method eliminates the need for piecemeal solutions, reduces implementation costs, and paves the way for greater operational efficiency through the use of a centralised HCM suite.

According to Quincy Valencia of Ventana Research, Oracle HCM Now is in a class of its own because it caters to mid-sized businesses and provides them with a flexible HCM suite that does more than just meet their immediate needs; it helps them expand.

Oracle vs. Workday: Divergent Paths, Common Goals

By comparing Oracle and Workday, we can see that, while both companies want to give HR professionals more agency, their approaches to doing so are quite different. 

Workday invests in sophisticated, ethical AI to improve and automate HR procedures; special attention is paid to the enhancement of managers’ functions. 

Oracle’s HCM Now, on the other hand, is all about availability; it fills a critical void in the market by providing mid-sized businesses with a powerful, comprehensive HCM solution that can be easily implemented and scaled.

Despite these distinctions, both organisations show a commitment to using technology to transform HR. For senior HR professionals and decision-makers, this signals a move towards a more integrated, data-driven, and employee-centric approach to human resources.

Understanding the specific features and capabilities of leading platforms is critical in the constantly evolving domain of HR technology. 

Below, we compare some key features of Oracle HCM and Workday, providing senior HR professionals with a detailed overview to aid strategic decision-making.

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Feature-by-Feature Comparison

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning:

  • Workday: Recent advancements in generative AI demonstrate the platform’s commitment to AI and machine learning. Workday enables HR teams to focus more on strategic initiatives by automating time-consuming tasks such as creating job descriptions and personalised employee content. The AI-powered Manager Insights Hub provides a centralised portal for managers to access critical employee data, streamlining decision-making and improving managerial effectiveness.
  • Oracle Fusion Cloud HCM uses AI to deliver personalised employee experiences and increase operational efficiency. Oracle’s AI solutions span talent management, offering predictive suggestions for candidate selections as well as workforce insights, allowing HR leaders to make data-driven decisions. However, rather than pioneering AI advancements, Oracle HCM Now focuses on accessibility and rapid implementation.

Scalability and Flexibility:

  • Workday: Known for its agility and user-friendliness, Workday provides a high level of scalability and customization. Its suite is particularly praised for the seamless integration of various HR functions, allowing for real-time, uniform data analysis. Workday’s offering is cloud-native, with automatic updates for continuous improvement and compliance.
  • Oracle HCM: Oracle HCM Now stands out for its adaptable implementation model, which is tailored to mid-sized businesses. It enables businesses to adopt necessary capabilities without overextending resources, with the option to expand features as they grow. Oracle’s extensive cloud offerings also assist larger enterprises with complex, global human resource operations.

Data Security and Privacy:

  • Workday: Workday prioritises responsible AI, with a strong emphasis on data security and user privacy. Its single-architecture approach ensures that updates and new features do not compromise data integrity. Furthermore, Workday’s upcoming AI marketplace promises rigorously vetted solutions, reinforcing the company’s commitment to secure, trustworthy AI applications.
  • Oracle HCM: Oracle is well-known for its strong security features, which include comprehensive data encryption and sophisticated user access controls. Oracle Cloud’s security portfolio is extensive, with cutting-edge technology protecting sensitive HR data and ensuring compliance with global privacy regulations.


When it comes to HCM system implementation, both Workday and Oracle offer methodologies catering to different scales and needs.

  • Workday Approach: Tailored and Streamlined Options

Workday offers two methods of implementation: “Your Way” and “Launch.” “Your Way” is designed for larger organisations that want a system that reflects their unique processes. This client-centric model allows for extensive customization, allowing distinct company methodologies to be integrated directly into the Workday framework. While this takes more time and resources, the end result is a finely tuned HCM that closely aligns with complex organisational workflows. It is the go-to solution for businesses that want complete control over their system configuration.

Workday’s response to the needs of mid-sized businesses, on the other hand, is “Launch.” This model is streamlined, cost-conscious, and less resource-intensive, making it ideal for businesses seeking efficiency and rapid deployment. It is a fixed-cost, fixed-scope method that leverages Workday’s proven best practises, guiding businesses through the implementation process with pre-established templates and timelines. Its limited customization compensates for its speed and ease of deployment, making it ideal for companies looking for a quick transition with minimal fuss.

  • Oracle HCM Method: A Prescriptive Approach for Mid-Sized Businesses

Oracle HCM takes a different approach with “HCM Now,” a game changer for mid-sized businesses. This method is prescriptive and fast-paced, with the goal of greatly accelerating the implementation process. The fixed-fee packages offered by Oracle’s specialised partners stand out here. These packages not only make costs predictable, but they also shorten the timeline, making the setup process simple. Businesses benefit from a more rapid, clear-cut deployment that avoids the unpredictability of expenses or lengthy timelines.


  • Workday: Designed based on best practises and offers less customization than Oracle. This can expedite the implementation process and simplify upgrades, but it may pose challenges for organisations requiring high levels of system customization.
  • Oracle HCM: offers a high level of customization. While this can be a significant advantage for companies needing specific, tailored solutions, it also means that the implementation process can be more extended and complex. The requirement for more in-depth knowledge about the system before the rollout is crucial since extensive customization can complicate future upgrades or integrations.

Customer Support and Community:

  • Workday: Workday takes customer service seriously and has a thriving community where users can share insights, seek advice, and access extensive learning resources. Their feedback-driven updates demonstrate a responsive, customer-focused attitude.
  • Oracle HCM: Oracle provides comprehensive support services and a vibrant user community. Their recent emphasis on enabling quick implementation and seamless integration for mid-size enterprises demonstrates a deep understanding of customer needs and industry-specific challenges.


  • Oracle HCM: Oracle’s integration strength stems from its extensive tool set and platform maturity. Oracle Integration Cloud Service (ICS) provides businesses with a comprehensive set of predefined connectors for seamless integration with both cloud and on-premises applications. Oracle HCM’s robust Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and compatibility with a variety of middleware solutions further enhance its adaptability. Another benefit is the synergy Oracle HCM offers when integrated with other Oracle products, which ensures consistent data models and improved performance.
  • Workday: Workday positions itself as a cloud-native solution, with its modern architecture serving as a key differentiator. It provides the Workday Cloud Platform, which includes a set of APIs that enable businesses to seamlessly create custom integrations with third-party applications. Workday also offers a number of pre-built connectors and templates to support integrations with specific systems, reducing the time and effort required for integration tasks. Its emphasis on a unified data model ensures consistency across integrated applications, resulting in more fluid and error-free data transfers.

In-Depth Analysis: Completeness of Solutions

Oracle’s Integrated Approach

  • Oracle has a comprehensive suite of offerings that go beyond just HCM. Oracle ensures businesses have a diverse set of tools at their disposal by including ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), EPM (Enterprise Performance Management), and other applications in its cloud suite. This suite of applications is designed to work together seamlessly, reducing the friction that can occur when using multiple, disconnected systems from different vendors.
  • Redesigned for the Cloud: Oracle has taken the initiative to redesign its applications specifically for cloud functionality. This is not just about moving existing on-premises applications to the cloud; it is about reimagining these applications to take advantage of the cloud’s advantages, such as scalability, flexibility, and continuous updates. This strategy ensures that businesses can fully benefit from cloud computing.
  • Unified Business View: Businesses gain an integrated, comprehensive view of their operations by utilising Oracle’s full suite. This unified perspective is critical for informed decision-making because it enables data coherence and real-time insights across various business functions, from human resources to finance to supply chain management.

Workday’s Evolution

  • Workday’s initial emphasis was on HCM; the company has long been a leader in the cloud-based management of essential human resource functions. In the beginning, Workday’s narrower focus compared to comprehensive solution providers like Oracle was a drawback. However, this focus has allowed for a depth of features and specialisation in HCM.
  • Expansion into ERP: Workday has branched out into other areas of enterprise resource planning (ERP), such as financial management and payroll solutions, in response to customer demand for a more comprehensive offering. However, their suite is not as extensive as Oracle’s. For example, they do not currently offer manufacturing or supply chain management applications, which are critical components of a fully integrated ERP system for many businesses.
  • Component Integration: Workday’s approach to increasing the completeness of its solution has included acquiring and integrating other applications, such as Adaptive Insights for business planning. While this broadens their offering, the challenge will be to ensure seamless integration and a consistent user experience across the suite.

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Making the Choice: Aligning with Organisational Needs

Choosing between Oracle and Workday is not about going with the best option; rather, it is about finding a solution that fits your company’s specific requirements and future goals. Workday’s services could be a better fit for companies that want to use AI technology in a responsible way and boost the efficiency of their management. On the other hand, Oracle HCM Now could be a better fit for mid-sized businesses that are having trouble scaling and are looking for quick, cost-effective HCM solutions.


Oracle HCM and Workday are two strong HR software options, and both have their advantages. Oracle HCM stands out for its scalability, security, and tailored solutions for mid-sized businesses, while Workday is the leader in innovative AI applications and offers a unified, intuitive, best-in-class platform. 

The purpose of this Oracle vs. Workday comparison is to help senior HR and IT professionals make a well-informed choice that contributes to the organization’s long-term success.

It is impossible to predict exactly what the future of work will be like, but there is a lot of room for optimism. Oracle, Workday, and other HCM vendor solutions will be essential as we move forward in this environment of unpredictability. Organisations can not only react to current demands by learning about and strategically implementing these tools, but they can also shape a more effective, empathetic, and empowering workplace of the future.

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Marcus Dasilva is the Managing Partner and Head of HR Technology at BaseLinked. He has worked as an HR technology expert for 25 years. Marcus leads the technology and automation practice, specializing in helping organizations digitally transform HR. His mission is to drive business value and efficiency through HR innovation in an ever-changing environment.
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