But one advantage those vendors have is an actual product available for sale. And Workday will have to convince customers it can deliver a system successfully without the sort of hiccups that led to situations like Montclair State University's now-settled lawsuit against Oracle over a troubled PeopleSoft project there.
Workday has a shot, according to analyst Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research.
"The issue today with student systems is that they are currently all old," he said. "There are not too many good options. The higher education replacement market is ready to move."
Workday's upcoming product also stands to give schools a chance to save on IT resources and management by off-loading their SIS to the cloud, Wang said.
In addition, Workday has brought in a seasoned team to run the schools business, he added. Dietz, for example, is a founding partner of Campus Solutions, which was acquired by PeopleSoft in 1997 before PeopleSoft itself was bought by Oracle in a hostile takeover.
Workday is expected to discuss its plans for Workday Student in more detail at its Workday Rising customer conference this week in San Francisco.
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com