Workiva Inc.: Innovation in Reporting and Compliance Solutions

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Martin Vanderploeg, President & CEO A number of global enterprises strive to foster a working environment where innovators are encouraged to experiment and cultivate big ideas. In reality, though, most businesses use innovation as a buzzword and never truly inculcate “freedom of thought” into their value system and culture. And then there are organizations such as Workiva that go against the grain and empower all employees—from C-Suite to intern—to create new products, constantly enhance operations, and take risks with ideas. It stands to reason that Workiva, the world’s leading cloud provider of connected reporting and compliance solutions, has made Fast Company’s list of 2019 Best Workplaces for Innovators. Developed in conjunction with Accenture, the inaugural list showcases 50 organizations—from a variety of industries such as biotech, consumer goods, FinTech, cybersecurity—that have demonstrated deep commitment to encouraging innovation at every layer of their operations.

Marty Vanderploeg, CEO of Workiva, attributes the success of the FinTech solution provider to a highly-collaborative product development process that involves the R&D groups working in close cohesion with finance, accounting, and operations teams, and developers and product managers meeting at regular intervals with customers throughout a product’s lifecycle. “We are proud to be chosen for this prestigious list, which includes some of the most successful companies in the world. At Workiva, we are innovative in everything we do, from how we build our software to how we serve our customers to how we treat our employees. Our innovation will continue to be a driving force in data transparency and trusted, connected reporting throughout the world,” Vanderploeg said after his company earned the honor.

"The more of these reports we can pull into Wdesk, the more synergies we get and the more effectively we’re able to use our time"

For perspective, Workiva’s cloud-based data management tools are used across 180 countries, availed by more than a third of the world’s Fortune 500 companies and government agencies. They are now indispensable tools for organizations that rely on Workiva’s solutions to create and connect data to consolidate and publish financial, performance, and regulatory reports. Serving various market verticals such as banking, government, higher education, insurance, and investments, Workiva allows organizations to transform accounting and finance, streamline risk and controls, modernize reporting, manage complex audit fieldwork and paperwork, and manage their entire ERM processes from one central location. Also, organizations that intend to build a robust policy and procedure process (as it pertains to reporting, financial planning and audit management) can do so by leveraging the all-encompassing corporate FinTech tool, i.e. the Workiva Platform.

Dynamic Platform that Transforms Processes

Built on a cloud-based architecture from the onset, the Workiva platform combines cutting-edge innovation, control, and scalability, modernizing the way organizations manage business data—aggregate both structured and unstructured data—and connect the same across various reporting and compliance outputs such as spreadsheets, presentations, and financial reports. Workiva’s “connected platform” which enables enterprises to connect data, documents, and various teams in a secure reporting and controls hub, has three distinct features that distinguish the solution from any other market offering.

Our innovation will continue to be a driving force in data transparency and trusted, connected reporting throughout the world

For starters, Workiva is a system and hardware-agnostic platform that positions companies to extract data from disparate systems across their organization before enriching the data and connecting them to all outbound reports for analysis and reporting. Since the entire Workiva ecosystem is cloud-based, the personnel involved in fine tuning the data have the option of amending the outgoing reports on-the-fly with the simple push of a button. This level of sophistication also reduces the dependence on IT teams for both data preparation and report creation.

Also, the connected reporting element of Workiva means organizations can employ an object-oriented approach to reporting and thereby reference data elements in multiple places. For example, they can use and re-use objects such as text, calculations, charts, and images, and build reports from existing (or previous) data elements rather than writing them individually. Moreover, since each data item is hyperlinked, changes are promptly updated and reflected across every layer of the platform. And finally, the third distinctive feature of the Workiva platform is its code-free automation component. Organizations don’t require IT or technical expertise to updated dashboards, workflows, and templates in real time, and essentially construct a reporting framework that can be used and reused as and when necessary. Also, the Workiva platform facilitates each department to work in their workspace, with the option to provide permissions to other units to access cross-organizational data as per requirements.

While the Workiva platform covers all aspects of connected documentation and compliance, the Wdesk is an exclusive reporting tool that unifies people, processes, and data, to deliver accurate reports required by auditors, regulators, stakeholders, partners, and leadership. By connecting “data with context” across spreadsheets, documents, and presentations, Wdesk not only increases the quality and accuracy of reports but enhances organizational productivity with built-in workflows and automation features that scale to teams of all sizes.

Delivering Success Stories across Industries

To illustrate the effectiveness of the Wdesk platform is a use case involving American Enterprise Group, a diversified insurance company that was already producing a range of complex financial reporting requirements. However, they were doing so by using word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software that struggle to format well, support collaboration, or produce professional results. Sara Lehan—the Assistant Vice President of Financial Reporting at American Enterprise—realized that her company needed to upgrade the procedure used to produce and manage financial reports and presentations. Soon enough, American Enterprise resolved their problems by switching to Wdesk. “It (Wdesk) takes the best features of those tools (we were already using) and incorporates them in a way that I’ve never seen before. It makes them function together in a package that works better for what we’re doing as a team,” Lehan said after her company leveraged Workiva’s solutions.

Gradually, Lehan and her team expanded the use of Wdesk to other functions such as generation of annual statutory footnotes and audit reports.
“All of these reports are linked together. The more of these reports we can pull into Wdesk, the more synergies we get and the more effectively we’re able to use our time,” stressed Lehan, before emphasizing on the fact that Wdesk links data and allows numerous team members to work on a solitary document simultaneously. “We are all working off one version— it’s the final version. You know who has made changes, and it makes it easy to review as well,” she added. A few years later, when American Enterprise needed to comply with the Model Audit Rule (MAR)—a new financial reporting regulation for insurance companies—Workiva facilitated their compliance.

Another noteworthy case study involves the globally-renowned Tupperware Brands Corporation, manufacturers of high quality kitchen and household products. The corporation was dealing with a monumental challenge as the deadline to start XBRL detail tagging was looming. To make matters worse, James Hunt, the newly-appointed Director of External Reporting, was still learning the ropes of his new position. After initiation discussions with Team Workiva, Hunt decided to alter the way the company handled SEC filings—switching from a national printer with an XBRL bolt-on solution to a fully-integrated, cloud-based Wdesk SEC reporting solution. It was a wise move on the part of Tupperware. Within a few months, Hunt’s team learned the new Wdesk platform and overcame several reporting complexities without missing any filing deadlines. “During the demo, I saw that the application (Wdesk) would take away a lot of our concerns, especially about XBRL. Our controller suggested we wait a quarter before we implemented the solution. But I pushed him on it, and we took the plunge right away. We haven’t regretted it since,” Hunt said after his company switched to Wdesk.

Connectivity and Data Preparation

The impressive reporting features of Wdesk notwithstanding, Workiva also offers Wdata—a data preparation software solution that essentially allows companies to “put connected data to work.” While IT teams can retain data control and governance while giving users access to the data they need, financial analysts can unify and explore disparate datasets, conduct data transformations, and leverage tooling for more insightful analyses. Also, Wdata allows various departments of an organization access to “updated, connected data” to ensure consistent and quality information is peppered across their reporting and compliance efforts.

Wdata enables companies to connect directly to ERPs, GLs, documents, sheets, and slides, simplify governance-related updates, and observe trends in their data. Additionally, the platform allows clients to view information in a variety of charting forms, analyze the data visually, and drill through the data to get in-depth insights. In fact, Wdata consists of a pivot builder that allows for simple drag-and-drop of interactions so they can be either shared or archived accordingly. It’s also possible to specify and create filters so as to search and gain easier access to the data at a later date.

Clearly, Workiva has transformed the way in which a third of the world’s biggest companies solve the most sophisticated financial challenges. After all, Workiva’s solutions are impacting over 3,200 organizations across the globe, generating over 15 million connected reports, and connecting and automating at least 5 billion linked data elements.

Despite consolidating its pole position in the marketplace, Workiva’s rich history of investing in innovations is reason to believe that the FinTech solution provider has a lot more up its sleeve.

Workiva Inc News

Workiva Announces Proposed Private Offering of $300 Million of Convertible Senior Notes

AMES, Iowa: Workiva Inc. (NYSE: WK) announced that it plans to offer, subject to market and other conditions, $300 million principal amount of its Convertible Senior Notes due 2026 (the “notes”) through a private offering to qualified institutional buyers pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended. Workiva expects to grant the initial purchasers a 13-day option, beginning on, and including, the date the notes are issued, to purchase up to an additional $45 million principal amount of notes.

The notes will be senior unsecured obligations of Workiva, and interest will be payable semi-annually in arrears on February 15 and August 15 of each year, beginning on February 15, 2020. In certain circumstances and during certain periods, the notes may be converted into cash, shares of Workiva’s Class A common stock (the “common stock”), or a combination of cash and shares of common stock, at Workiva’s election.

Workiva intends to use the net proceeds from the offering of the notes for working capital and other general corporate purposes, as well as the acquisition of, or investment in, complementary products, technologies, assets, solutions or businesses, although Workiva has no commitments or agreements to enter into such transactions.

The notes and the shares of common stock issuable upon conversion of the notes have not been, and will not be, registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or under any state securities laws, and may not be offered or sold in the United States without registration under, or an applicable exemption from, the registration requirements. This announcement does not constitute an offer to sell, nor is it a solicitation of an offer to buy, these securities, nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any state or jurisdiction in which such an offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any state or any jurisdiction.

STRONGARM Embraces Industry 4.0 and Deploys Augmentir's AI-Powered Augmented Worker Platform to Improve Manufacturing Efficiency

HORSHAM: Augmentir, Inc., a leading provider of augmented worker software for industrial companies, today announced that STRONGARM, the leading manufacturer of operator interface systems and industrial displays, has expanded the use of Augmentir's AI-Powered Augmented Worker Platform across its operations, resulting in improved technician performance and training, better insight into job status, and improved quality.

"The use of Augmentir across our manufacturing operation represents an important step for us in our digital journey and continued commitment to quality and innovation in the products we build," said Steve Thorne, General Manager of Operations at STRONGARM. "We chose Augmentir because their platform allows us to not only digitize and standardize on our manufacturing work instructions, but also to intelligently close the skills gaps when on-boarding new technicians. In addition, it's AI-based 'True Opportunity™' system enables us to gain insight into how our technicians are performing, and autonomously identifies our largest capturable opportunities across our entire operation."

STRONGARM designs and manufactures ergonomic and environmentally protected workstations for companies in a wide range of markets, including food, pharmaceutical, CPG, packaging, and transportation, with additional interface solutions for specialized verticals, including STRONGARMenergy and STRONGARMhealthcare. The company credits its long-term leadership position to its commitment to innovation. Since its 1990 founding, STRONGARM has maintained a robust "lot-size-one" offering wherein STRONGARM collaborates with clients, and then designs, innovates, fabricates, and assembles these customer-specific products, all in-house.

"STRONGARM is a great example of a small, innovative manufacturing company that was able to capitalize on the emerging trends around Industry 4.0 and digital transformation," said Russ Fadel, Co-Founder and CEO of Augmentir. "Augmentir was uniquely designed to meet the needs of industrial companies of all sizes, enabling even small to mid-sized manufacturing companies to get the benefits of Industry 4.0 today. Our SaaS-based 'consumerized' enterprise software approach makes trying, buying, and owning Augmentir simple, with free pilots, low IT support, and best in class usability."

According to Thorne, STRONGARM started seeing value from Augmentir within 10 days of their Augmentir rollout. "The process for getting our operation set up with the Augmentir platform was easy and painless, with little required IT overhead," stated Thorne. "Because the process was so easy, our technicians were able to quickly incorporate Augmentir into their daily operations, and the results were immediate – technician productivity improved, and inspection times went down. Furthermore, when one of our senior and most experienced technicians retired recently, we were able to onboard a new technician and trust Augmentir's AI engine to guide him during the learning curve to get product out the door at 100% quality so that we didn't miss shipments. Once Augmentir's AI engine determined that the worker had become proficient, it recommended that the instructions should be adjusted to enable him to complete the job faster while still meeting quality and safety goals. This has resulted in a 20% reduction in average build time in our most complex workstations." Thorne added that based on the initial successes, STRONGARM plans to expand its use of Augmentir into the manufacturing operations of their ruggedized workstations used in the oil and gas industry.

The Augmentir Platform includes complete functionality that makes it easy for industrial companies to improve their operations across a range of manufacturing and service use cases. The Platform provides software that helps guide frontline workers with augmented, step-by-step-instructions, assist workers with live remove expert collaboration, and utilizes its AI engine to deliver organization-wide insights and recommendations that focus on improving the quality and productivity of frontline workers.

Workiva Inc

Ames, IA

Martin Vanderploeg, President & CEO

Workiva created Wdesk, a cloud-based productivity platform for enterprises to collect, link, report and analyze business data with control and accountability. Thousands of organizations across the globeuse Wdesk. The platform's proprietary word processing, spreadsheet and presentation applications are integrated and built upon a data management engine, offering synchronized data, controlled collaboration, granular permissions and a full audit trail. Wdesk helps mitigate enterprise risk, improve productivity and give users confidence to make decisions with real-time data. The company is headquartered in Ames, Iowa