Getting more value out of Workday with Workday Extend

Every Workday customer has at some point struggled with the limitations of configuration only. Whether it was when you had to comply with local regulations, when your business colleagues came with a request unique to your organization or when your organization’s priorities did not match with Workday’s roadmap. With the introduction of Workday Extend this will no longer be an issue.

Remember when Steve Jobs introduced apps on your phone, and how it changed our lives forever? Workday is now doing the same thing with their new platform, Workday Extend. With Extend it is possible to build custom apps and deploy them in your tenant.

Having the ability to add on custom apps, while leveraging Workday’s Power of One, is a game changer in my eyes. Of course with new innovation comes with new challenges. New discussions will arise, for example: what is the balance between custom vs. off the shelf functionality, what kind of governance structure do you need, and what kind of technical skills  will your team need? On this website we are exploring such topics. Sharing knowledge from unique perspectives and to provide useful insights into the world of Workday Extend.

So...What is Extend?

All Workday customers have at some point faced the limitations of two dreadful words, ‘configuration only’. For example, local regulations could not be covered, your organization may have a unique requirement, or maybe you just had a really good idea, but it was just not possible in Workday. We’ve all been in at least one of these moments. But, what if there was a solution to this? Something that could make those fist-wrenching moments of frustration turn into new exciting opportunities...

In comes Workday Extend, where you can build complete new experiences, tailored towards your specific needs.  The great thing about Extend, is that it all stays within Workday. Meaning that you leverage the power of one, the same look and feel of Workday, and the same data and security model.

Sounds interesting, but why should I care about Extend?

For starters, with Extend it is  possible to simplify your (HR) IT Landscape. That one application you still use to manage sickness outside of Workday, why not rebuild it in Workday? No longer do you need to maintain complex integrations, synchronize security roles, your users can now do everything in the same system and last but not least, it also works on mobile! 

Does your organization have a unique people process, but unfortunately one that Workday did not support? With Extend, you can not only build things for HR or Finance, but also build apps that support your core business. One of our clients needs to send CV’s of their employees for potential projects, so we built the Document Generator that in this case allowed them to download and modify CV’s, populated with Workday data. These kinds of apps are great for adoption, but also expand the idea of what Workday is, and how it can support your core business.

With time moving at the speed of light, organizations are feeling increased pressure to amp up their agility in order to keep up with the new pace of business. At the start of the COVID-19 crisis, we saw the need for a return to work planning tool that also supports business continuity. Within a few weeks we were able to build our CONTRA app that supports businesses with a challenge they had never faced before! 

Another problem we have all faced at some point, is sending internal emails to big groups, where you have no idea if the email distribution lists are up to date. For us this was an excellent use case for Extend, because in Workday your people data is always up to date. With our Enterprise Mailer, you can send out corporate branded mass email communications, to dynamic audiences. For example, do you want to send an email to all your managers in Brazil, or a newsletter to everyone with the job profile Sales Account Manager? As you can imagine this app was a huge benefit for our client to quickly send targeted emails to their employees during the COVID-19 crisis.

Current State of Workday Extend

Workday Extend became generally available in May 2020, after a few years of early adopter programs. As PwC, we were lucky to be a part of the early adopter program both as a client (we are using Workday ourselves), but also as a partner where we worked with one of our clients to build apps. In this period we also joined several hackathons where we could experiment (including with some of the upcoming features of Extend). This helped us in building a diverse library of apps with several use cases and helped us gain significant experiences to support clients with a variety of use cases. 

Shortly we will talk about Workday’s ambitious roadmap for Extend. For example, Workday’s vision is to create an app store in the coming years, where you can simply download an app and deploy it in your tenant*. However, in the present moment it is recommended to work with an implementation partner. With them you can either look at their current app library, or work together to build a bespoke app for your organization. 

We would encourage you and your team to think about use cases you have for Extend. What kind of limitations did you run into during or after your implementation? Was there a Workday module that almost met your needs, but some critical aspect was missing? What kind of systems could you potentially replace with an app? Or how could you utilize your Workday data to better support your core business?

If you have any questions regarding Workday Extend, feel free to reach out to ( 

*As always safe harbour applies. There is no release date or time frame given for a Workday Extend app store.

Contact us

Rick Leunisse

Senior Manager, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)65 373 30 48