Workday, a publicly traded company selling cloud-based finance and human resources software, is announcing today the launch of a nifty feature inside its Workday Planning app for financial and workforce planning, budgeting, and forecasting: mobile-friendly collaborative spreadsheets called Worksheets. They’re based on technology from Workday’s acquisition last year of spreadsheet software startup GridCraft.
Workday first announced Workday Planning in June 2015 and is now making it generally available. But the spreadsheet functionality is new.
Worksheets isn’t just meant to be a standalone tool. The spreadsheets stay up to date even as data in Workday Planning changes, and when you change data in Worksheets, those changes are reflected in Workday Planning, too.
One goal is to simplify the workflow for Workday users so they don’t have to jump out of it and into a different application or browser window, Joe Korngiebel, senior vice president of user experience, told VentureBeat in an interview. And users won’t have to worry anymore about figuring out if they have the most recent version that was emailed around.
“The number of underscores shows how many revisions you have in title,” he said, surely speaking from experience. All that will be going away.
Workday Planning competes with Adaptive Insights, Anaplan, and Host Analytics. Workday invested in another competitor, Tidemark, last year. The application stands apart from Workday’s Financial Management and Human Capital Management apps. It’s possible that over time, Workday could integrate Worksheets into those other apps, Korngiebel said.
Spreadsheets themselves might not be the hippest technology out there. But Excel is a thing — the Microsoft Office software has long been thought to have more than 400 million users. There’s also Google Sheets and Apple’s Numbers, and Salesforce recently acquired Quip, which offers mobile-friendly spreadsheet capability, as well as document and team chat, for $582 million.
GridCraft cofounders Sayan Chakraborty and Terry Olkin assert that they didn’t set out to replace Excel. Then again, they ensured that people who were familiar with Excel would find it easy to get going with GridCraft. And that’s true of Workday’s Worksheets, too, said Chakraborty, who is now Workday’s vice president of software development. In fact, Excel spreadsheets can be directly imported into Worksheets.
But the GridCraft team went beyond what Excel could do. “We developed in-house a number of functions that really pushed the boundaries, around data manipulation, in particular,” Chakraborty said. One function, NOTIFYIF, let you sign up to receive a notification if a value changed above or below a certain threshold or met a condition. That feature is in development for Worksheets, along with NOTIFYIFS, which will trigger a notification if multiple conditions are met, Chakraborty said.
GridCraft was founded in 2013. It was based in Boulder, Colorado, and the team is still working from there, even though Workday has its headquarters in Pleasanton, California. Investors included Bullet Time Ventures, Cohort Capital, Confluence Capital Partners, Drummond Road Capital, Galvanize Ventures, Impact Angel Group, and Startup Studio Ventures.
Korngiebel’s blog post on the news is here.