Monday, 22 April 2013

Workday's merit process

We were recently reviewing some setup in our test Workday tenant, done by our consultants.  As a large, global company we have everyone on a year end merit process, with increases effective as of January 1st.  In order to accomplish this process, we need to start in Sept/Oct, as there are various approval chains and roll-up reporting.  As well, we then need to deliver files to payroll systems in time for them to process these updates too.

The consultants were suprised that we start this process prior to January 1.  As well, WD appears to want you to only think about merits AFTER the period has in our case, as of January 1.  When you are running the various processes within WD and automatically selecting your employees, we seem to be running the risk that someone terminating in November will get caught up in the process in WD and we cannot get them out of the pool.  (As opposed to our current process where they will get manually removed when it's still in Excel or excluded via PSoft functionality). 

In WD it's not smart enough to exclude them along the way, but instead the manager will need to allocate a 0% increase to the person.  It's not the end of the world, but the functionality could do with being a little more flexible as to how companies have structured these processes.  My guess is that we are one of WD's largest customers so it's the first time they are seeing such large-scale processes.  Smaller companies surely have a more lean and nimble timescale when having fewer employees to process and maybe do more things closer in to the actual effective date.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Workday's Compensation functionality

While I can see many echoes and/or improvements in the various pages of Workday when compared to PeopleSoft, from a front end functionality perspective, Compensation appears to be an entirely different kettle of fish.  The whole structure and setup of comp plans, bonuses, etc. in WD seems to have been created from scratch, or based on a totally different system or model.

From a user perspective, it looks quite nice, especially when they do the demos showing a manager with international employees, with all the bells and whistles of currency conversions and comparisons enabled.

From a setup/maintenance perspective, I'm not yet sure if it will be a major upkeep effort or an improvement. 

Monday, 8 April 2013

Workday field lengths

One of the most interesting features that I’ve noticed so far in Workday is the fact that fields allow the user to enter unlimited content. There are no ‘field lengths’ like you might see in a traditional database. Name, Position Title, Org Title–doesn’t matter–unlimited text.

Coming from a traditional relational database environment, this is fascinating! However, I am struggling to see the advantages of this feature. In particular, if you are interfacing to any downstream system, most will have field lengths. Then, your interface is either truncating the field and losing data, or it’s blowing up the downstream system by sending data that is too big to insert. Or worse–you’re truncating to downstream systems but having a longer value in WD reporting, so a ‘mismatch’ of data, leading to distrust in HR data. Or you’re stuck with having to run audit reports to find incorrectly entered data after the fact in order to have it shortened…rather than just being able to impose data lengths on the field in the first place.

I am struggling to see the advantage of this feature…

Monday, 1 April 2013

Thoughts on Workday training – a few months later & Configurable Security Fundamentals

It’s been a few months since I’ve had time to write here, but time to change that.  :-)

I had put some thoughts together back when I was first taking the Workday training courses, here and here. I’ve since taken a few more courses and am now sending my staff to the HCM Fundamentals course that I took, so a good time for a look back. I’ll start with the courses I’ve taken in the meantime…

The Configurable Security Fundamentals class
This is an ‘online only’ course, like a few of Workday’s offerings which are not offered in a classroom setting. As always, you can find more details about Workday courses here. It’s 10 hours spread over two days, so five hours each day. It explains everything about setting up Workday user security: configuration, security groups, domains, business process security, etc. The agenda was full and the class kept moving.

Sidenote: the format/structure for online courses appears to be the same. You receive a pdf manual a day or two before the course, along with log-in details to *your* tenant, as well as technical details of logging in so that you can test your computer in advance. On course day, you can log in via the pc for both the online course plus voice, or you can log in to view the presentation and dial in separately to the call via phone. I’d say 90-95% of the people used the pc for audio. Overall, there were around 20 or 22 people attending normally.

The structure of the online courses is similar to the classroom training, the instructor walks through a powerpoint, explains the concepts and then you get to work through the exercises in the manual in your tenant.

The good
  • no travel costs
  • even though it’s online, it’s still a full schedule, similar to what you’d get in a classroom environment. The pricing structure reflects this as well: it’s the same 600 USD per unit, whether it is in-person or online. Sidenote: I noticed that when I took the course in October 2012, it was 8 hours total, they’ve since increased it to 10 hours, so perhaps others found it to be too quick.
  • the instructor will stay on an extra 30 min beyond the end of the class on day 1, in case you have questions. As well, this is offered for 30 min before/30 min after on day 2.
  • the instructor can log into *your* tenant, so if you have messed up an exercise, they can try and sort you out while people are working on the next one or on a break.
The bad
  • there is 30 min at the beginning of day 1 of ‘meet and greet’, similar to if you were in a classroom session. With 20 people saying what their role is, it began to drag a big.
  • the instructor has pre-set expectations of how quickly the class should move. Not having the face to face contact perhaps can be an impediment to ‘reading’ if people really understand things.
  • In this course, the instructor in addition walked through the exercise before you were unleashed to do the exercise. As an occasional instructor myself, I found that a little odd, to be shown the concepts, an example and then the actual exercise itself, she did it. We then replicated the exact same exercise. So in the back of my head, I wonder if it’s too difficult, the exercises ‘as is’ to be in an online course, as the HCM course I took did not follow this heavy hand-holding.
  • scheduling - this one deserves more of a read-out…
I know I start to sound like a broken record here, but Workday’s scheduling is not indicative of a global player. Considering it’s an online course, I would expect a little more flexibility in the offer times, but once again, it’s 9 AM California time or 9 AM New York time, and on a Thurs/Fri rather than other days. For those of us in places around the world, that begins to get old very fast. My security class had a 5 PM start in the UK, so I worked a full day and then got online for another few hours of intense training.

Taking a short look today (Apr 25, 2013), Workday is offering three security sessions in the coming weeks, two in May and one in June. All three of them are on Pacific time, 9 AM-2 PM, although at least on a Mon/Tues or Tues/Wed. Looking at my handy timezone calculator, that looks like the following around the world:

San FranciscoThurs Apr 259:00 AM Thurs Apr 25  2:00 PM
LondonThurs Apr 255:00 PMThurs Apr 2510:00 PM
ParisThurs Apr 256:00 PMThurs Apr 2511:00 PM
SingaporeFri Apr 26midnightFri Apr 265:00 AM
TokyoFri Apr 261:00 AMFri Apr 266:00 AM
If you are a US-based company, with only US customers, then that is perfectly fine. But considering that Workday keeps claiming that they are global in nature, I find this to be appalling, in particular when you consider that these are online classes, so they could occasionally put one in a European or Asian timezone, even though that might mean that the instructor is doing odd hours for the two days. For whatever reason, Workday insists on putting everything into the California timezone. OK, timezone rant now over…

Overall though, I’d say the security class was quite good. I’m not sure if you’d need to send your entire team there, or rather, send one person who will bring back the manual. If you have that plus access to a test tenant, you can start to play around with security to understand how it works, while reviewing the manual. In addition, I’d recommend that you check out the Workday Community, a lot of people post questions/issues related to security, and often through reading those, you can get some ideas of pitfalls and how certain setups may make your security maintenance more difficult.