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…


  1. We heard from Workday sales (not actually checked this into the solution already) that it is possible to add a "lenght control".
    However I'm not sure they meant it would be a functional control inside the solution screen, so linking up to your article I understand they refer to integration control check while sending data to other systems, but it is no use since the field length control must happen while the master data is being entered in the system of record.

    Struggling to see the advantage too...

  2. AM - will be curious if you hear more on this topic to the contrary, but in our WD20 instance, there is no option to limit data entry within fields. :-/