Workday Elevate: A quantum leap on information systems


Workday has no doubts about the benefits of tools such as AI and machine learning.

During a keynote address at Workday Elevate, country MD Kiv Moodley presented valuable observations about how Workday is supporting its clients in comprehending their employees’ strengths and weaknesses, as well as identifying areas where skills enhancement is necessary. 

In addition, guest speaker John Sanei provided insights on the Quantum Era, emphasising the importance of innovation and agility in finding solutions. Furthermore, during a panel discussion, Workday clients shared their experiences and success stories in implementing AI and other emerging technologies within their businesses.

He was addressing IT professionals, who had gathered at the Marriott Hotel in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg’s most trendy and vibrant corner, for an afternoon of well-curated insights from thought leaders with both local and global acclaim. 

“Elevate is when our community comes together: our customers, prospective customers, partners, colleagues, and leaders, in the hopes that they will all walk away with some useful knowledge for their workplaces,” he explained. 

Kiv, who is a motorsport enthusiast, explained that similar to a Formula One driver who starts at the back of the pack and must fight his way to the front, leaders can take the same strategy into the working world. 

He added, “Leaders must be resilient and capable of weathering the storm. Resilient organisations thrive, not just survive, and that's what we want to do for our partners and customers.”

He used Workday Skills Cloud as an example of one of the tools they use, which is embedded with machine learning and allows you to understand the skills and capabilities of your entire workforce, improve your people strategies and meet the demands of your organisation by easily upskilling, reskilling, redeploying, and employing new personnel.

Renowned broadcasting legend Leanne Manas, who was the MC for the day, couldn’t resist the urge to play around with the world’s most talked about and fascinating AI tool and chatbot, ChatGPT. She cleverly asked ChatGPT to write a closing on the topic of Kiv’s opening address, and it did exactly that – quite well, in fact. 

However, what particularly impressed the guests was how Leanne read it out so eloquently, that it was as if she wrote it herself – and proving Kiv’s point that AI implementation today necessitates human interaction.

Not about being smart
After a very thought-provoking and insightful keynote, Kiv did an excellent job of introducing the guest speaker for the afternoon, globally acclaimed futurist and author John Sanei. 

John was a very fitting addition to the panel of speakers as he is an expert in transforming the way people think – a very relevant weapon when trying to succeed in a world amid economic uncertainty. 

According to John, our yearning for stability has significantly influenced our education and training. People feel that getting the necessary qualifications and a job will guarantee stability, but he disagrees. 

“The future is about being wiser and more adaptable, not how smart you are,” he added.

He went on to argue that in the Quantum Era, following your individuality and valuing creativity and invention, being dynamic and adaptable in an ever-changing work environment, and new agile skills to handle difficult challenges in small teams are more important than IQ. This is a very different approach compared to our forefathers’ Agricultural Era, which required a strong awareness of the changing seasons and working hard hours every day.

He also spoke about fragile optimism and agile optimism, which have nothing to do with the outcome, he says, but everything to do with process. He added that the global trend now is ignoring the process and focusing or rushing into the outcome.

John captivated the audience with his original usage and dynamic blend of human psychology, quantum science, business strategy, and futurism.

World-class technologies
With lots of food for thought, it was time to move on to the panel discussion, where CIOs and HR leaders discussed how Workday's world-class technology had made a meaningful and beneficial impact on their respective organisations.

“The role of the CIO has evolved from what it was 10 years ago. Today, the CIO is purpose-driven and taking the organisation on a journey of what is possible,” one CIO commented.

While another IT leader discussed the impact that breakthrough technologies can have. She said that her business is addressing legacy system difficulties using technology such as AI and analytics. 

“IT has really had to step up, and it has; for example, we have now achieved our milestone of moving into the cloud,” she added.

The event closed with engaging breakout sessions, hosted by Workday’s principal solution consultant Jannie Malan, CTO EMEA Clare Hickie and finance product specialist Kirenga Rwigema

After attendees had the opportunity to air their views in a more intimate group setting, it was time to listen to the soothing sounds of award-winning saxophonist Ayo Solanke, and enjoy  cocktails and networking.

Related articles

Warren Hero joins SARS as new CDO

The 2023 CIO Awards winner will be responsible for designing the South African Revenue Services’ business model for antifragile digital transformation.

CIO Day: are you the CIO of the future?

On 15 May, South Africa’s leading IT professionals will gather to discuss how the role of the CIO has evolved in an age where technological innovation propels business transformation.