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Preparing for Workday Deployment

You have decided on Workday, what next?

Workday have ripped up the rule book not only in the way ERP is used but also in the way it is deployed. What constantly surprises customers is the fierce pace by which any project proceeds - there is no time to catch your breath. Where all projects, irrespective of vendor or platform, need to be well prepared, this is even more so with the speed of a Workday deployment.

Typically, once you decide on Workday, it will take several months to sign contracts and appoint partners. Scroll down to our high level guide on how you can use that time wisely to be as prepared as possible for your deployment.

illuceo also offer a 'Workday Readiness Kit' which can provide a low cost start to your project to make sure you are as well prepared as you can possibly be. Packed with over 40 templates, as well as online discovery tools, the kit represents excellent value. Want to give it a go? Simply click the button to try our discovery tool, and we will send you back a sample 'Scope Statement' for your project.

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7 steps to be ready

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Step 1 - Partner Selection

Led by: Workday Project Manager

The illuceo Workday Readiness Kit contains templates to rapidly develop EOI and RFP documents.

This guide assumes you have mobilised some resources to undertake a Workday Readiness phase prior to formal project start. As a minimum, on a day to day basis, you will need a Project Manager and Functional and Technical Leads. By the end of readiness, you will also need to have assigned a Change Manager, a Test Manager and, possibly, one or more Business Analysts (BA) depending on the size of your project

Your approach to resourcing, and whether you initially assign internal resources, or go to market for specialists, will depend on availability and business approach. However, bear in mind that the Readiness activities illuceo suggests are intensive and require full commitment - we do not believe success will be achieved if attempted on a part-time basis.

Finally, don't forget your readiness team will need access to decision makers - the sponsor, a business lead approachable at any time, and key contacts.

A word about Procurement
Many organisations will have a dedicated procurement function and this will likely have predefined processes and templates, especially for 'systems' that the organisation wishes to deploy. Experience has shown that such pre-existing approaches do not always fit with the procurement of Software as a Service platforms. Remember, there is no 'IT', per se, to deploy - no servers to be procured; networks to be implemented; no external threats to be minimised. Engage early with your procurement function to ensure they are ready to adapt their way of working if they have not come across SaaS procurement before.

You may do your own research, or you may receive advice from Workday, and arrive at a list of potential system integrators. If this list is more than 3, it may be worth considering an Expression of Interest (EOI) process. Contact each of the integrators, provide a high level description of your project and timelines, the latter particularly focused on the process by which you will make a final selection. Your EOI needs to ask questions of respondents that will allow you to select those for the next stage. For instance, you might ask for a statement of their capability in Workday and, possibly, your industry; you may ask them to confirm their resource capacity should they win the contract (nothing worse than selecting a partner who then has problems resourcing your project).

If Readiness is a 12 week phase, any EOI needs to be concluded ideally within 2 weeks of start and certainly no more than 3. At this point, you need to know who your 2 or 3 prospective partners are.

A Request for Proposal (RFP) is the general way to start a partner selection process.

illuceo believes that the typical RFP consisting of 100's of pages of information and scope is outdated. We would suggest the RFP process is stripped right back to achieve what you really want from the process - which partner has the best capability to deliver your project at the best price. Provide partners with a high level overview of your business; your scope and your timelines. Ask them to take that and present back to you their relevant experience; their approach and their cost base (rate card). Hold a 1 day beauty parade, with written, supporting documentation presented at the end of each presentation.

Make your decision but at this stage only designate a 'Preferred Supplier' who will work with you to get a detailed Statement of Work drafted. You should advise rejected partners that if the preferred supplier does not work out, you will come back to them.

By simplifying the RFP process and moving to a preferred supplier, you should be able to greatly accelerate the selection process, and there is no reason why you couldn't do this in 2 or 3 weeks, especially if an EOI made partners aware that this is the process. In the meantime, while you have been running the selection process, a lot of the other steps will have been building up the detailed requirements with which you and the preferred supplier can work together on a Statement of Work (SOW).

Step 2 - Functional Discovery

Led by: Workday Functional Lead

The illuceo Workday Readiness Kit contains a number of templates to define your requirements succinctly.

Customers can develop a Workday Scope Statement that can be used at 2 levels. Create an outline high level scope that simply lists the various components of Workday to be deployed - nearly always HCM Core, and any others such as Absence, Basic Compensation, Payroll etc. This will be useful in supporting your EOI and Strategy papers, for example.

Then, use a discovery process, such as a scope questionnaire, to go into greater granularity with the various countries and/or legal entities in scope of your project. Each will respond to the questionnaire with details such as: how many holiday plans they have; how many sickness plans; how many salary schemes etc. All of this information should be collated into a scope statement that will be a guideline to be used in documents such as an RFP, a Statement of Work (SOW), or a Project Charter. Note: this step isn't trying to understand the detail of everything, that comes next, but gives the first ideas of the size of the undertaking.

The scope statement provides the basis for the Functional Lead to start detailed discovery. This should start with Core HCM. illuceo recommend the creation of a 'Functional Specification' that lays out in simple terms the requirements of the customer, without needing to know how this is technically delivered in Workday.

The Functional Specification (HCM Core) should focus on:

  • Organisations - Providing lists of who reports to who to create a 'Supervisory Organisation'; locations; companies (entities); cost centres and hierarchies; matrix organisations; countries and regions. In other words, any structures used currently
  • Staffing Model - Position or Job Management; your job catalog; how you group jobs for reporting
  • Compensations - Details of salary and hourly paid schemes; bonuses; merit awards; allowances and one time payments that are paid etc. All of this cross-checked against your payroll system!

A second core specification relates to Worker Data. The Workday system contains numerous data types that come with delivered values that you can, if required, tailor to fit your orgnanisation. For example, how you define your employees - Regular, Temporary, Seasonal, Fixed Term or Intern, and you may wish to keep these values or add, amend or delete to your needs. The illuceo Workday Readiness Kit provides a lot of information regarding worker data, but you can also ask Workday to provide guidelines on what you need to think about and prepare before your project gets under way.

Workday delivers hundreds of pre-configured Business Processes (BPs) that your organisation can amend to suit your needs. A report can be run by Workday that lists these BPs, and it is a good idea to review this list and decide what is in scope or not and create a Business Process Catalogue, which will then guide you in your design sessions.

Particular attention should be paid if your organisation has non-standard business processes. Maybe there is a way you achieve a particular objective that is unlikely to be repeated elsewhere and, as such, unlikely to be delivered in any standard product. If this is the case, create Business Process Exception documents that detail, as comprehensively as possible, how the process works. This will then give your partner a heads-up on any possible challenges they will face in your deployment, and may even allow them to start prototyping solutions earlier to reduce risk.

Absence is often included in any initial Workday deployment because being away from work, and tracking it, is fundamental to most businesses. Global organisations may easily have 100's of policies across the globe, each needing to be configured as a plan in Workday. Starting to gather as much information as possible, as soon as possible, will be critical to keeping the project on track. Create an Absence Functional Specification to not only list those plans, but also consider and document:

  • Calculations - Rules and formulas to be applied
  • Balances - How they are maintained, added to and if there are any carry over rules
  • Validation - How an entry to a plan is validated
  • Eligibility - Which workers a plan is relevant to
  • Integration - Does a plan depend on other data, or is its data used elsewhere
  • Globalisation - Think global and how, if possible, you can consolidate

Finally, repeat the information gathering for each of the other components you plan to implement. This may be none, some or all of: Advanced Compensation (Merit, Bonus, Stock); Benefits; Learning; Payroll; Recruitment; Talent.

Take the same approach as Absence, and think about all of your existing policies. Start to document what they are, how they calculate, what workers they relate to etc. The more you can find out and document, the easier it will be to complete workbooks when the partner takes you through the design process.

Step 3 - Technical Readiness

Led by: Workday Technical Lead

The illuceo Workday Readiness Kit contains a number of templates to speed your data ETL process design.

The Technical Lead should start the process of Data Discovery - what data do you hold and where. Ideally this will be undertaken from the perspective of what Workday needs, and where you find it in your systems. To do this, you will either need Workday to provide information about data gathering workbooks, or use advice from specialists e.g. illuceo Workday Readiness Kit.

If you can't get your hands on such information, at least start collating schemas on the systems you do have, and if there are multiple, try to create a data dictionary of where equivalent data is held. At least then when you do get the Workday information, you will be able to map target and source fairly quickly.

Once a Data Discovery process has been initiated, the Technical Lead should turn their attention to an IT Impact Analysis. Many IT departments will have their own approach and templates for this, and although IT involvement in Workday projects is limited, experience shows that the sooner IT are involved, the better. While much of what an IT Impact Analysis achieves is aimed at IT compliance, as a minimum the Workday project needs to understand how and when it integrates to other systems. This could be identity management/Single Sign On (SSO); upstream and downstream systems.

A Foundation Tenant, aka P0, allows the partner to build a tenant that contains delivered configuration aligned to some basic data from your organisation. This can be useful in design workshops as it will help the organisation to see the concepts being explained in a context they understand.

Building an initial tenant only requires about 15 pieces of data, much of it obvious - employee id, manager id, name and contact details etc. Start to identify how a simple data set can be obtained across your organisation, and where multiple systems exist, how it can be collated.

Once the Technical Lead is confident about being able to provide a basic data set, attention should turn to devising a repeatable Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) process. For a start, investigation is required to look at the consistency of data held and, if inconsistent, to start front or back-end activity to cleanse it.

Next, technical resources will need to start working on extracting data. Even if data for a worker is stored in multiple tables in the legacy system, try and create an extract process that will output a single row of data for each. This will then give you an ideal platform to format the data per Workday requirements when a better understanding exists.

Step 4 - Key Decisions

Led by: Workday Project Manager

The illuceo Workday Readiness Kit contains a detailed white paper that discusses options for key decisions that will impact project planning.

There are many decisions that will be made during the project. Most of these will be functional, in that the Workday partner will explain a concept, and the options available (and probably a recommendation), and the organisation will decide how the concept is to function for them. However, there are some decisions required that will impact project planning and affect timelines, or resources, for example. As such, these decisions may not be able to wait for the partner arrival, and at the very least the organisation should start considering them and, where possible, making decisions. In summary, you should consider:

  • Type of Go Live - Hard Launch (Production Day); Soft Launch (Short HR Only); Supersoft Launch (Extended HR Only)
  • Scope of Go Live - 'Big Bang' or Phased
  • Post Go Live Support - in-house or outsourced (AMS); warranty periods
  • Design Authority - structure
  • Design Principles - creating rules for design
  • Historic data - scope and whether it will be stored as History from a Previous System (advised) or transactional (heavy overhead)
  • Test Approach - understand Customer Confirmation Sessions (P1) and End to End Testing (P2) and define how, at a high level, these activities are to be used
  • Parallel testing - if required, defining how it will happen, when and by whom. Note, parallel tests are always more complex; effort hungry and, as a result, more expensive, than many projects imagine
  • Language Translations - will configuration data be translated in-house by the project team, or outsourced to 3rd party translation services
  • Data Privacy - how will you ensure you are meeting data protection regulations such as GDPR? Will this be a project in its own right, or come under ownership of Workday project?
  • Target Operating Model (TOM) - in scope of project, or project in own right within a wider programme

Step 5 - Establish PMO and Tools

Led by: Workday Project Manager

The illuceo Workday Readiness Kit contains a number of guides on the tools you need and the functions they need to manage.

The Project Manager should use the Readiness period to ensure that all the basic building blocks of a project are in place. These will vary from customer to customer, and may depend on the governance processes and management tools that are already used. Some ideas are provided below, but should not be regarded as exhaustive.

Create a Project Timeline graphic that represents, at a high level, the deployment and its key activities. An example format is included in the illuceo Workday Readiness Kit. Once created, the graphic will be used many times in the project - for briefings, strategies and presentations, and is a very effective communication tool regarding how the project will be approached.

Similarly, creating a Project Brief will become a useful project asset, used to describe in a bit more detail what you are trying to achieve.

The Project Manager will, at this point, have sufficient information to start writing the Project Charter. Most partners will want to see this asset created as an important tool of Governance. The charter represents the statement of work without commercially sensitive information.

Risks, Assumptions, Actions, Issues and Decisions will, ideally, be recorded in a RAAID Log. This tool is essential for the project as it not only records day to day interactions, but provides a valuable audit of what occurred. It is imperative that it is available to all project team members, and this may present technical challenges with regard external 3rd parties. The Project manager needs to work to make this key tool available to all.

Effective Test Management tools will be critical to project success. Workday projects typically involve team members who are both inside and outside the organisation; work on and off site and may be spread around the globe. As such online tools that allow accounts to all involved are essential. The sooner the tools are available to the project, the better and this is not something that can be considered in a half-hearted manner.

2 types of tool are required:

  • Test Scenarios - a tool to record all test scenarios, which allows you to organise them by test cycles and testers. Each tester then has their own set of test scenarios and fully understands what tests they should execute and when.
  • Incident Management Tool - a tool to record issues associated with tests eg faults and changes that are required. Ideally the tool will include fully configurable workflow that allows stakeholders to track issue progress (and be aware when the issue is assigned to them).

Many customers already use tools, but if you need to find something yourself, illuceo recommends Jira Software with the Zephyr add on.

A Collaboration Site needs to be established that will allow documents to be shared with all members of the project team, including the external partner. Ideally, such a site will also have functions that will enable better communication within the team eg shared calendars, contact lists, announcements etc.

SharePoint is an ideal tool for collaboration, and a conversation with your IT department should identify your organisations preference, and the process of setting up the site can begin.

Finally, there will be a requirement from the partner to establish an SFTP Site. This will create an environment where all sensitive data, usually held in workbooks, can be shared between customer and partner. It is Workday contractual policy, with customers and partners, that this is the only way that sensitive data can be shared and is reportable if breached.

The Workday Project Manager should start a conversation with the IT Department that this will be a requirement, and establish the process for enabling it.

Step 6 - Testing Preparation

Led by: Workday Test Manager

The illuceo Workday Readiness Kit contains a sample Test Strategy and Master Test Plan.

A Test Strategy is created to define how the customer will satisfy themselves that Workday has been delivered correctly and is fit for purpose. The strategy provides the framework that will govern all aspects of testing from kick off until the final application is handed over to the customer and its production support. In a multi phase project, the strategy extends to that final day of delivery, not the initial move to production.

It is worth being aware that most Workday projects adopt a scenario based testing approach and NOT a scripted testing approach. Fully scripted testing simply requires too much effort and takes too long to support in the rapid deployment methodology of Workday. The intuitive nature of Workday also allows scenario based testing to be embraced.

Many customers may already have Test Strategy templates that they can utilise, but bear in mind that these may not fit SaaS deployments. Workday uses a single line of code which, from a technical perspective, is being tested thousands of time a day by live customers. The project's responsibility is not to test that Workday works, but that the way it has been configured matches your business rules. Testing is therefore much more straight-forward than if you were developing your own software, or deploying an on-premise product that gives you your own customisable code line. Essentially this is one of the many benefits of adopting SaaS and the customer should take full advantage of that, and not make something more complex than it needs to be.

An initial Test Plan should be created linked to a significant project milestone/deliverable. Most commonly the first Test Plan will be linked to the initial go live of Workday (assuming a multi-phase project is in flight). However, Test Plans could, if required, be even more granular for example an initial one that covers Customer Confirmation and then a second one that will cover End to End testing, both milestones of the initial deployment.

Each Test Plan is derived from the Test Strategy. Much of the content will be the same (saves the reviewer switching between documents), but it focuses specifically on the test phase being planned and is more detailed.

It's too soon to start developing Test Scenarios. However, the test manager should start thinking about how the scenarios will be created and how they will be loaded into Test Tools that the project plans to use. Using a test tool sandbox as a play area may provide valuable insight into the process of scenario documentation.

Step 7 - Initiate Change Management

Led by: Workday Change Manager

The illuceo Workday Readiness Kit contains a templates for Impact and Stakeholder Analysis, as well as a CCT Strategy and Communication Plan.

Introducing Workday is often more about Change Management than the technical challenges of introducing a new platform. Indeed, Change Management may sit outside the Workday project as a project in its own right. The following is not intended to tell Change Managers how to do their job, but more as a way of telling a new customer some of the activities that MAY need to be planned, and started these during Readiness.

Change Impact Analysis is often a good starting point - if you don't have any idea how Workday will affect your stakeholders, it won't be possible to come up with a coherent plan to address any concerns or issues. Use the Business Process Catalogue created by the Functional Lead (see Step 2) to create a list of all key tasks that will be different with Workday, with a brief description of how each will work. You can then ask key stakeholders e.g. country leads or business entities to say how each change will impact them, and in particular any issues this will create. Collated responses can then be categorised against impact (e.g. level of impact; users impacted etc) to form the basis of an action plan to resolve.

Stakeholder Analysis will allow you to understand where your potential champions are, and equally where resistance may be met. Identify individuals and groups in your organisation and build them into a matrix where you record their level of influence; the impact they can have on the project and the impact the project will have on them. Also include their levels of engagement with the project, both currently and desired etc. Once you have gathered all the information, decide and plan where actions are necessary to resolve any issues identified.

A Change, Communication and Training (CCT) Strategy will be a significant project deliverable that will probably take longer than the Readiness stage to draft and agree. In reality, it probably needs to be signed off by the end of the Plan Stage in the Workday methodology. However, that does not mean that it should not be started as soon as possible, probably once the analysis above has been put in motion. Particular attention needs to be made to any proposals that will impact the overall project plan - these need to be considered thoroughly during Readiness as they may impact contracts being raised with the partner.

Similarly, although there is no need for it to be signed off before the project formally kicks off, it is a good idea to make a start on a Training Plan. Particular focus should be made to identify project team members who will need to attend Workday training, and given availability of courses, this should be booked as soon as possible. Most deployments kick off with around 4 weeks of detailed planning (Plan Stage) and then move straight away into design (Architect Stage) which start with workshops where customer attendees should have been Workday trained. So time is of the essence if the project is to avoid any delay because of lack of training.

Finally, the Change Manager needs to put together a Communication Plan as, after all, communication will start as soon as the Partner joins and the deployment kicks off. Being prepared and ready to communicate will mean the project is never on the back foot with regard letting stakeholders know what is going on. One of the first outputs of the communication plan could be an Elevator Pitch - a 1-minute introduction to the project that all team members can use when describing the project to someone new. This can ensure consistency of message by all of the team, both verbally and in written introductions to documents.