Collaboration can be the Key to Unlocking Effective Workday HCM-Financials Integration

Posted by Karla Lindblom on November 6, 2012

On tap today at Workday Rising, we’re co-presenting with our colleague from AIG, which is in the midst of a global, multi-year HR Transformation initiative. Our session centers around a method for improving the effectiveness of change management in large-scale transformations.

Unifying HR and Financial systems can have many advantages: Organizational and employee changes such as promotions, transfers, addresses, banking data and employment status are instantly reflected across the system, so data is more accurate and up to date. Cross-functional analysis (e.g., costs by headcount) is also available with real-time accuracy. Having a single vendor/system with a consistent user interface for employees can add cost-effectiveness and ease of administration.

But unifying the two also comes with challenges: Data security and privacy should be carefully mapped and managed. System maintenance and enhancements (lockouts, upgrades, sandbox refreshes) should be organized and communicated—neither function can operate in a bubble. Data fields (e.g., Location) should be used for a consistent purpose by both groups, to avoid contention.

Timing is also a big factor in Financials implementations. Go-Live should be planned around several factors, including quarter timing (to avoid quarter end reporting your first month in Workday) and the thrice-yearly Workday updates. Keeping the project on track then becomes critically important, as slipping the go-live date may mean adding multiple months onto the project, given the factors above.

In addition, each implementation generally comes with some customer-specific needs and challenges that must be addressed—TripAdvisor, for example, has complex multi-currency transactional requirements. We’ve found there are common critical success factors that can help ensure success no matter what the challenges are, such as:

  • Working with an experienced implementation affiliate to add “been there, done that” insights and avoid reinventing the wheel.
  • Working with an experienced implementation affiliate to add “been there, done that” insights and avoid reinventing the wheel.
  • Being flexible with current processes and project scope where possible. There may be opportunities to do things differently (and ultimately more effectively), or you may be able to defer some capabilities or functionality until later to accommodate go-live targets.
  • Involving HR and Finance representatives in each other’s implementations, so the necessary collaboration is established from the beginning.

For those of you contemplating or in the midst of a similar integration, we also offer a few lessons learned:

  • Recognize the tremendous effort required to extract, cleanse, load and assess legacy historical data. Weigh the uses and value of having the data in the new system carefully, given the effort to migrate. In hindsight, many customers report that they would have chosen to convert less history, focusing on one year of comparables, instead of multiple years of history.
  • Validate that you have a complete list of use cases/requirements early on in the project. SaaS projects are typically faster implementations and there is little time to recover should gaps be found in testing.
  • Workday enables very intuitive and user-friendly report writing capabilities, so it makes sense to decentralize report writing to better accommodate the likely high volume of new report requests post go-live and to enable your business users to support themselves.

Karla Lindblom Karla Lindblom is a manager with Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Workday Practice and served as the Deloitte project lead for Workday Financials implementation at TripAdvisor, LLC.

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