Gucci Westman used augmented reality for her "Lauren Hutton on Safari" look at Hellessy.

Workday Ventures has unveiled a $250 million fund that is aimed at developing start-ups that are focused on emerging technologies from artificial intelligence, machine learning and blockchain to augmented and virtual realities that can be applied to the enterprise.

“Our investment in Workday Ventures reinforces our commitment to staying at the forefront of enterprise innovation,” said Aneel Bhusri, cofounder and chief executive officer at Workday.

The news comes shortly after the enterprise cloud application for finance and human resources revealed its plans to open up its cloud platform to devise new opportunities for both its customer and partner landscape in order to further the influence of Workday’s core services.

“The investment in Workday Ventures builds on this effort and the company’s continued extensibility journey, making its people and technology expertise available to emerging companies exploring new use cases and innovations that will shape the next generation of enterprise technology,” a company spokesman said.

New companies to the Workday Ventures portfolio will have access to Workday executives in order to foster the development and delivery of software solutions at scale — in addition to creating sustainable business models, the spokesman said. The companies will also be available to Workday’s existing customer base, which currently touts over 26 million users.

The debut of the fund signals to prospective portfolio additions the pertinence — and necessity — of solutions that deliver intuitive, real-time analytics to inform business strategies. What’s more, as augmented reality becomes more commonplace within consumer and corporate familiarity, the frequency of deploying blind decisions will be relinquished.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning is increasingly paramount for brands and retailers to deliver seamless omnichannel experiences for shoppers that are also capable of collecting previously unavailable insights on consumer behavior and preferences. Workday Ventures’ latest fund underscores the urgency for merchants to incorporate these technologies in order to navigate the current, challenging retail landscape.

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