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Workday's $10 Billion Plan to Outsell Oracle in HR Software

To reach the milestone, the company will have to convince businesses to switch over from Oracle and do their bookkeeping in the cloud

Employees work together at their desks at Workday's offices in San Francisco.

Employees work together at their desks at Workday's offices in San Francisco.

Photographer: Michael Short/Bloomberg

Last December, in a large building resembling a warehouse in the Bay Area suburb of Pleasanton, California, 2,400 Workday Inc. employees or “workmates” gathered for a day of raucous festivities. An employee band, cheekily misspelled Wrok Day (as in Rock Day), played songs like Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” and Hall & Oates’s “You Make My Dreams.” Some in the crowd waved glow sticks and cheered. But the most rapturous applause at the event was reserved for a number: $10 billion. In his speech to the troops, Aneel Bhusri, the co-founder and chief executive officer, said the 14-year-old upstart was targeting that annual sales milestone in as many as six years, up from $2 billion last year.  

“We can get there,” he said as the crowd cheered. “It’s achievable under almost any scenario.”