Workday Acquires Machine Learning Startup SkipFlag

Scott Ferguson
Scott Ferguson
Scott Ferguson, Managing Editor, Light Reading

Workday, which is best known for its SaaS-based applications, is acquiring SkipFlag, a startup that uses deep learning to help enterprises make sense of the large amounts of data they collect each day.

In a Medium post announcing the deal, Workday CTO Joe Korngiebel notes that the deal is allowing the company to expand beyond software-as-a-service in the human resources and financial planning fields and into more cutting-edge technologies.

"SkipFlag joining Workday is yet another step in our journey to continually invest in areas such as machine learning, advanced search, and natural language processing  -- further powering our products to be faster and more intelligent so our customers can access even better insights when and where they need," Korngiebel wrote in the January 16 post.

(Source: iStock)
(Source: iStock)

Financial details of the acquisition were not released.

Although a startup, SkipFlag has roots in enterprise software and deep learning. Co-founders Peter Skomoroch and Sam Shah each worked at LinkedIn Corp. , which was acquired by Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) about two years ago.

SkipFlag uses a combination of machine and deep learning, along with artificial intelligence, to organize a business's internal data, even if it's written in company jargon. The goal is to turn this unstructured data, whether it's in emails, support tickets or instant messages into more useful intelligence for the enterprise that organized in a database.

In his post, Korngiebel noted that Workday plans to incorporate these technologies into its core SaaS offerings.

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While Workday has traditionally sold its SaaS HR and financial apps to small and midsized firms, the company has seen that expand over the last year. In 2017, the company announced that Amazon is now a customer. (See Workday Delivers Amazon as Latest Customer.)

One of Workday's biggest rivals in the HR and financial applications fields, Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL), is also busy building out machine learning and AI capabilities not only through the apps it offers, but through its cloud infrastructure as well. (See Oracle Adds Machine Learning, AI to IoT Cloud.)

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— Scott Ferguson, Editor, Enterprise Cloud News. Follow him on Twitter @sferguson_LR.

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