Thursday, 12 June 2014

How to set up a Workday Custom Object

Around a year ago, I had written about my initial impressions on custom objects (Workday's 'customer defined' field options).  Still worth a read if you're looking for an overview of 'user defined' field concept in Workday.

Now that we're live in North America and into our European implementation, time to revisit the topic.

Today I'd like to focus on the logistics of setting one up, as I think this is one of Workday's strong points, the ability to easily create company required data fields.  Then later this week I'd like to look further at the nitty gritty of actually using them.

Rather than starting from scratch, let's look one up as it's the same page layout to enter or view (smart from a Usability perspective, the consistency).  You have a few options when searching, to filter.  Often we'd look by business object (similar to a 'table' in a traditional database setting, it's a grouping of related fields):

Most of our Custom Objects are tied to the 'Worker' Object in Workday.  The Worker Object is where we track something at the 'individual Employee' level.

Let's pull up the WD sample data, for the object 'Apparel'.  This is actually a useful one for us, as we are required to supply work shirts, trousers, etc. at some of our manufacturing sites, and there are repercussions if we do not provide replacements on the appropriate schedule.  If we were setting up a new custom field, WD walks us through the same pages:

Some useful things on this page, is that you can define the object name, validations, the field order, as well as specifying the security domain.  It's probably a smart idea to name these carefully, in particular, the 'web alias', as that is something that is not editable once a custom object is in active use.

Another feature I like overall about WD is the orange box you see here.  When you are on a Workday page, you can use it as a launch pad to other actions that you can perform on this 'thing' (be it a custom object, a foundation value, an employee, etc.)  Then you get a list of 'available actions' that pertain to the item that you are reviewing.  So in the case of this Custom Object 'Apparel', I can look up its integration ID, I can go report on it, etc.  Not exclusive to custom objects, but deserving of a call-out in any event.

Also on the page is the nice little summary, again on the page, I like being able to instantly see the security domains where this item is assigned.  Other colleagues doing some other tasks prefer some of the other fields summarized here.

In addition, there is a 'Usage' tab which is especially helpful if you're into reporting.  If you're planning to edit a custom object, seeing that it is currently included in a calculated field, for example, is quite helpful for impact analysis:

Last but not least, lest I always sound like a curmudgeon on Workday's lack of globalness in some areas, I must admit, I appreciate this global feature, to translate the Custom Objects into local language.  Two thumbs up!

So a few thoughts on the setup of custom objects in Workday:
  • Very easy to do online!  It's 'customization by functional people'.
  • I like the linkages and the displayed details.
  • Overall, I think this is great functionality from the setup perspective, and recognizing that there is nothing existing in the PeopleSoft front in this area, except for proper customization.
Still to come:  Actually using the fields . . . is it still so easy?  Stay tuned . . .


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