Monday, 29 October 2012

Thoughts on Workday training

I recently had the opportunity to attend the 4 day (30 hour) classroom Workday HCM Fundamentals course. I’ve attended many HR Systems courses through the years and Workday’s was similar. The instructor explained the concept and then there were exercises in the training manual to reinforce the concepts. The last day had a 3 hour exercise in which you started a full HR setup from scratch: so creating the org, company, location, job profile, grade, etc.

Overall, the instructor was very good, the materials were helpful and having one’s own sandbox to do the exercises in was quite helpful. Granted, my company paid for the course, but I felt it was good value for money, as far as training courses go. :-)

The only negative: the instructor had no ‘practical’ experience in the field–she was a top notch trainer, but if you said, ‘my company does xyz, how would I configure the system to accomodate that?’, she had no answer. In other sessions in the past, I’ve heard trainers answer, ‘well, we had a similar-sized company, and they did abc, but you could also do xyz’, that sort of thing. I heard from other colleagues who took the same course in other locations that their trainers were the same, more from a training background than an implementation background.

The other odd one, was the amount of times she had mentioned in class, ‘you don’t need to know how to do this, your consultants will set it up for you, you just need to know that the possibility exists’. Granted, we’ll have a consulting partner during implementation, however, our company tends to expect that long-term support will be done without consultants. Therefore, from a staffing perspective, we must know everything about the product that is possible. Perhaps other companies are different in this regard, although I was chatting with the pair next to me and their company is the same, lots of tasks on the current staff and lean margins so not a lot of consulting support. Back in the day of taking PeopleSoft courses, I don’t remember that same emphasis on having consultants.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Implementing Workday: future roles?

My colleagues on the other side of the pond have been going through onsite Workday HCM training, from a Workday trainer. It’s causing a lot of interesting discussions, as to ‘future roles and responsibilities’. For example, in our past world, IT administered PeopleSoft security. Then, due to some internal reorganisations, it went to HR. Now the topic is coming up again, and the discussions start: Who should adminster security in Workday? Of course, from the initial look at the software, potentially either group could do the work. It seems that Workday is built on a strong foundation of flexibility and is therefore hesitant to recommend which group should do the work. Upon discussing with other companies who have implemented it, the consensus seems to be: IT should do the role setup and administration (so the pages/permissions), and then HR should do the user administration (so assigning people to those roles). It seems like it would be a nice split from a delegation of duties perspective as well. However, not sure why wd does not recommend this as a ‘best practice’?

Monday, 15 October 2012

Workday’s User Community site

One of the things that we saw a few times during the sales cycle was WD’s community site. It’s a sub-area of the WD website which is locked down by a user id/password. Once we signed a contract with them the wheels were put into motion to get us access.

Having used the PeopleSoft Customer Connection site for many years (including as a PSoft employee), it runs on a similar concept. WD puts a lot of energy/time into it, to make it a meeting site for customers, as well as to keep them informed of information from WD: training, updates, etc.

I’ve now had a good look around the site and am well-pleased by it. Assuming that the forums are as active as the old PSoft ones, it should be good fun and networking. Also, there are various ‘groups’ in the forum, including a Europe one, so already joined that one in the hopes of getting as much information as possible as to how Europe-based customers are configuring, implementing, etc. WD. In addition, will check out the Developer area of it, as the more I can get up to speed about WD, the better.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Workday HCM jobs

One of the things that excites me, as an HR Systems professional (for 13 years and counting), is the ability to learn a new software application. To figure out all of its limitations and discover its advantages, to empower HR. I’ve had the opportunity to learn various HR apps over the years, even though my bread and butter is PeopleSoft; so looking forward to learning Workday HCM as something new and interesting, as well to have the experience of working with an app ‘in the cloud’.
One of the most fascinating things about WD is how *hot* it is in the London (and I suspect global) market. Granted, I am out on LinkedIn and such, I enjoy networking with other HRIS people and get job calls regularly. However, in the past months, WD is the only app where I’ve ever been called, having no real experience in the product, such as this one from last week:

I’ve got a Workday configuration contract and they may consider people with other HCM if they have solid configuration skills. Role is based London, flexible on rate. Do you know anybody?

(As mentioned previously, I have a super job situation and have no inclination to jump right now. However, it’s nice to know that should I ever need a new role, WD is a good skill to have on the CV.)

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

How global is workday?

Working in a large multi-national, being ‘global’ is second nature. It becomes more of a necessity than a nice to have, to have an application that supports a global population. Over the years, we’ve gone in to implement PeopleSoft and bring a group on to our current environment, thus rendering their local HR software obsolete and redundant. That being said, there’s often a flipside, that their local software is very reactive to the local legislation and requirements, and we’ve adjusted (i.e. customized) to address the gaps in psoft (where existing). From my limited viewing and analysis of workday in relation to this topic, a few thoughts:
  1. It’s a US-developed application. I’ve often made the same observation about PeopleSoft as well, so no offense is meant. When you look at the functionality from a user perspective, you can see that various pieces do not fit naturally into the flow. In PSoft, I see this most clearly in areas like the contract data pages, or the country specific flag functionality. It seems that a) it was built as an afterthought and b) it was just tacked on, rather than fully integrated into the application. I see a similar train of thought in WD, when you look at it on the surface, you can tell that it was developed for a US user base, or perhaps for US-based requirements first and foremost. That being said, it is a step above PSoft in that some of the European or Asia specific fields (e.g. religion)* are already existing, rather than awkwardly placed under the flag/setid combination.
  2. It’s not yet a ‘global’ application. Yes, I realize WD has been implemented in countries around the world. However, in some cases it seems like we’re missing some things. For example, company cars are frequently a benefit in Europe, and one’s HR system often tracks them. PeopleSoft has a few pages to this point–the car is set up, it’s applied to an individual. An individual is attached to a car plan for eligibility. It all ties together at the end of the day and enables you to have the basis of the data required by the UK government P11D reporting. When we asked WD about this, 1) they didn’t understand the requirement 2) they have no car pages, the best you can do is set up a car under the company property pages (where you won’t have the required data fields that you need, such as c02 emissions) 3) no such report is pre-existing in WD (according to the WD supplied resource doing the demo). So now we’ll be stuck, having to make an access database, or something else on the side, to support the business requirement.
  3. It will become more global over time. One of the things that impresses me about WD is their frequent application updates. As they get more global customers I suspect they will incorporate more of these business needs into their app, and they will be rolled out accordingly. Much nicer than having to wait for a major/minor release from PSoft.
  4. Asia character sets existing and integrated. Our users in Asia will be impressed with the way the Asian character sets are built into the app. We have other HR apps for other purposes (e.g. performance management) that are only existing in English or where you get only the Asian language or only the Western chararcters, that you cannot have both on the same page, but WD appears to have integrated both into their pages.
These are just a few random thoughts from the demos that we have seen, upon first glance and the limited interaction I’ve had with WD resources. It’s certainly not meant as a criticism of WD as from my HR Systems perspective, it’s more global than many apps out there. It may be that a *truly* global HR System that addresses all of the local legal requirements is a holy grail or not worth the effort, especially as you get outside of the US/Canada workspace and many locations use local payroll as a way to meet their HR data requirements. Will halt here, before I wander into the ‘global payroll’ space as that’s a topic in and of itself.

*Sidenote: we had a person from WD doing an online demo. She was skilled at WD, although not used to presenting remotely to a global (i.e. not native English speaking) audience, so she spoke a mile a minute. In addition, she made the statement multiple times, that WD is a global app, and that you can track religion for the UK as an example of its ‘globalness’. What she failed to realize is that here in the UK we don’t track religion, we have the same business requirements as in the US–the company has no business reason to track your religion, in fact it’s none of their business, and in particular you get into diversity/discrimination issues. (In Germany, your HR system should track your religion, but that’s a topic for a separate post.) The point here is that WD’s resource was not clear on basic global requirements and misspoke.