Friday, 5 July 2013

Converting data into Workday - why it isn't easy some days

I wrote previously on the topic of converting from PeopleSoft to Workday.  Since then, we've gone through another conversion cycle, so I thought it would be an interesting example of why converting into Workday can take longer than you expect some days....

Like many companies, we track Emergency Contact data.  In our case, it's in a PeopleSoft system.  Nothing fancy, just whatever the new employee wrote onto the paper form, which then got entered into the system.

During fit gap, we looked at WD and yep, it has Emergency Contact data pages too, so we should be good to go.  During data mapping, we looked at both systems and defined rules of what needed to point to the various WD is where it gets interesting, when we attempted to convert the data...


What we learned during the conversion exercise

1. WD has built-in formatting on the address and phone numbers, PSoft does not.  In particular, PSoft does not offer standardization on phone numbers, and it wasn't a high priority item for the HR users to keep formatted.  So we have phone numbers that have the required number of digits, but not in a consistent format:  (555) 555-5555, 555.555.5555, and 555/555-5555, etc.  Around 80% of them follow one format though, so we can try and squeeze the data for those into one format to convert.

2. WD requires one piece of contact information for an Emergency Contact, in order to save it--either email or phone number.  We do not always have contact details, and in particular, we do not store email for emergency contacts.  Perhaps not the best from an HR perspective, as it defeats the purpose of an emergency contact, but we do have a name, and it saved just fine into PSoft.  WD demands a little more in this regard.  So above, we lost 20% of the population due to the various odd number formats, and now we lost another 10% due to lack of any contact details.

3. WD breaks apart the name fields for Emergency Contact, PSoft has in it one text field.  This is a big one for us from a conversion perspective, because similar to the inconsistent phone number formatting, we also have inconsistent name formats.  In some cases it was 'First Last' in others it's 'Last, First'.  Then, we have the additional complexity of Mexican names, where a 2nd last name is involved, which is an additional broken out field in WD.  Divining the mapping on this one was painful and I am not confident of the correctness of the data once mapped.

4. As PSoft has that one text box for names, our HR users also used it for other pieces of data, in particular where they did not have a dropdown value for Emergency Contact type.  So in PSoft rather than putting 'Joe Smith' and choosing the type of 'father' and 'Mary Smith' and 'mother', our HR users put 'Joe and Mary Smith (parents)' in the name box.  Trying to break this out in any automated fashion is impossible.

5. PSoft has a 'same address as employee' functionality on emergency contacts.  WD has something similar, a checkbox that allows you to take the emp's data.  Our consulting partner, however, cannot convert this checkbox using their proprietary conversion/load program.  They can however, load the address, etc. data.  They gave me a big explanation, due to technical web services that are called on the fly, bla bla.  The end result, however, is that we do not have this checkbox enabled in WD for our loaded data.  Manually entered data will be just fine.  As a result, we've had to write into the process documentation, that if an entry person is changing an address for an employee, they need to check the emergency contact page and click on the same address box (if address is the same), to trigger the 'linkage' and so that we do not need to upkeep two separate instances of the same address/phone numbers. 

Based on all of the above, my recommendation was to open up this area to self-service and push it out to the emps as a 'to do'.  As this data is collected upon hire and many of our emps have 10+ years of service, I am not sure of the viability of the data in any event, nevermind the above conversion issues that will result in incomplete data and additional entry steps.  Our business owner, however, is insistent that we convert whatever we can convert, as she has little confidence that the employees will enter the system and update their emergency contact details.

In Summary

Workday offers Emergency Contact pages, and the functionality is suitable for the purpose.  Like all other pieces of data in your new WD system, you need to be aware of the future WD edits as well as the condition of your data, otherwise it can end up taking a lot more time than you originally expected.

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