Monday, 7 April 2014

Implementing Workday: size does matter!

Last week at the Workday Rising conference, one of the most interesting things for me was to hear from other customers:  what functionality they are using, what is their support model, and what is their roll out schedule.  It seems that WD marketing and sales has done a good job of spreading the idea that the software can be rolled out perfectly on a very fast timeline.  Our own CIO was on a call explaining the new 'we're going cloud for all applications' strategy and made the statement:  those business processes, the ones that are taking you 6 months now to design, those will take 6 hours in the new world!  Actually, I'm discovering over time, that's not really the case.

There was an interesting presentation by a small WD customer, 500 employees, industry = wealth management.  They had rolled out HCM plus Financials in 12 weeks, then brought in expense management quickly, and are further augmenting their HCM use.  I compare it to a session on the same day by a large pharmaceutical company of 130k employees who explained their global roll out strategy.  They started with Asia and were going West to Europe and Latin America and finally finishing up with the US.  It was an interesting concept to me, as the bulk of the companies and people that I know start with the US and head East to Europe.

This pharma explained that they were on SAP and their US office was happy with it, so they were going to get the rest of the world on board first, although they did have to do some workarounds, such as putting in some shell records for US managers of employees in the non-US regions, in order to be able to approve goals etc.

They started WD implementation in 2012 have launched Asia countries (including payroll interfaces for some) and are working their way around the globe.

They also made the statement that they were two weeks from launching SAP in the UK and pulled the plug on the project, which sounds quite similar to us, except we were 1 year into a PSoft upgrade.

I mentioned last year, on our US implementation, that the project launch encountered a delay, so that the US launch was in December instead of October.  We're now going through re-sizing efforts on the Wave 2 Europe launch.  Rather than launching Europe for Jan 2015, we're now splitting the group up, with some countries to keep January but others to delay.

This certainly isn't to blame WD as a software application (which is being done internally in my organization as people seemed to think this was a 'magic' software that would fix all of our HR process issues) and they're now seeing the same issues on a new software platform.

It's currently my thinking that especially where you have a large and decentralized environment and you are injecting any sort of standardization or HR Transformation as a part of the mix, implementing WD is the same as implementing a traditional's a multi-year effort due to all of the change management and factors outside of the software.  When you're a small company with Excel-based processes or on one Finance, one Expense system, you're able to make that 12 week implementation schedule as you can more readily fit the mold of standardize, change, launch.

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