Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Good morning Workday Rising Dublin!

It's an overcast day in Dublin, but great to see the Workday energy here, from the signs decorating the airport doors to the buzz at the convention centre.

I have a full schedule of interesting looking sessions.  I mainly focused on global customer ones (as opposed to ones led by Workday resources), but did slip in the UK payroll one out of curiousity.

Like last year, I'll take some notes and share them here. 

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Divesting a population off of Workday?

Looking for some feedback from those who may have done this task before.  Please leave me a comment or send me an email if you'd be open to a short chat or email conversation if so.

Thank you.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Workday demo tenants

An interesting one I recently learned about...Workday offers what they term a 'Shared demonstration tenant' (to the named support contact at a customer site only).

It's basically a sample database with a limited number of user ids which is shared across the spectrum of Workday customers.  Workday provides this so that customers can see sample configurations, i.e. it's not for training or running a full business process, but rather for an occasional lookup, such as if you're thinking about implementing some new functionality.


  • You can use this sample tenant to access sample configurations without having to pay for your own tenant.  Remember, WD (like most other Saas providers) charges per tenant.
  • This is great if you're thinking about increasing your usage of functionality within HCM, for example, but as well if you only had HCM and were considering a complete expansion into another area such as Finance.  You can roam freely on your own, without being bothered by sales consultants filtering the information.


  • As WD says, it's only a demo tenant with limited functionality.  It's not meant to prototype the full business process.  For example, it doesn't do proxy, nor can you make your own IDs!
  • You're sharing it with lots of other customers.  If someone puts something ridiculous into it, you don't know if that comes from WD or another customer.
  • It's refreshed every Monday and potentially during the week too, if things are broken.  Work quickly!


My take:

  • I like it!  I come from a world where if you want a 'sample' set of configurations, then you're implementing a PeopleSoft vanilla database.  As we all know, databases take up space, i.e. cost, and vanilla is the first to go when we need to implement a training database.
  • You're depending on the "Named Support Contacts" to not share this log-in info willy-nilly, which I think is a reasonable assumption for such a position.
  • It provides value to customers.  You're not forced to take on the additional charges of an additional database when your usage is only going to be occasional.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Workday certification

From the mailbox, an interesting question:

Are you Workday Certified? I've read some several online posts about becoming Workday Certified and these seem to be more on the implementation partners of Workday and not the clients directly but I was curious to know if you had any experiences in that area. 

I've been following the Workday certification topic for years.  It's been a hot topic on Workday's Community discussion board, with 100+ 'up votes' from customers supporting the idea of expanding certification options.  As well it's come up repeatedly at customer forums and Workday Rising (Workday's customer conference).



  • Historically, Workday has kept certification severely locked down; you could only become certified as a Workday internal employee or a Workday partner.
  • I find it creates an interesting proposition as many of the partners take young, bright people right out of university, train them on Workday and put them through the certification process.  However, these bring minds while well educated have no practical HR or IT experience and are just starting out their careers as junior consultants.  While you may have some more seasoned certified consultants, you may also get these fresh minds, as non-partners are effectively excluded from certifying.
  • If you are certified and leave your employer, the certification will expire if you are not able to renew it as per the rules (go back to step 1 and see who can be certified.)

So what's new?


Workday is bringing out customer certifications!  It's being branded under the name 'Workday Pro,' and is specifically targeted (or limited, depending on your view) to the employees of Workday customers.  Read:  contractor or contingent workers at customers may not attend, nor can 'ordinary' independent consultants.

Workday's materials specifically call out that it's "targeted at customers who want to actively engage and work side by side with the Ecosystem on a path to develop a similar level of knowledge and expertise.I think this is a great step for customers as there are many savvy HR systems, HRIS, HRIT (or whatever other branding that your company uses) who would like to be fully engaged on an implementation rather than suffering the after effects upon go-live.

Workday is quick to call out that it's won't grant 'implementer' access, the holy grail of implementations, in particular due to the more efficient i-load functionality which beats the 'regular' Workday EIB data loading functionality, hands down.  

The nitty gritty details 


Workday has developed a certification roadmap, but is taking a phased approach with releasing the various options.  First up is reporting.

The certification process seems to be modeled upon the partner certification process:  you take the courses (in person or online), then the written multiple choice test, then agree to take the bi-annual release update training.

Side note:  I once asked our WD certified partner if she had any plans for the weekend.  She gave me a brief look at her screen, it was a series of items that she had to cover for her update training.  As it couldn't impact her billable hours on our project she was doing it on the weekend.

More thoughts


As this is a new item, WD covers various scenarios--what happens if you move companies, what happens if you don't take the update training, when does it expire, etc.  In particular I was curious as to how this would apply to me; I've taken the 3 courses listed under the reporting track (check back here for where I discussed the Report Writer class).  IF you've already taken a course, you do not need to take it again.  The only additional cost is the 1 credit fee for the written test/biannual updates.

My take


Disclaimer:  I was previously a PeopleSoft certified consultant.  I think this is a step in the right direction, the more we can empower customers to take ownership of software and processes, the better.

However...if I was my boss (who is absolutely super, the best boss in the world!), I'd question the value.  As long as you know that your employee is reasonably competent and good at their job, do you really need certification?  If anything, it just gives the employee more leverage to ask for a raise or search for another job.  Or is this a motivator for employees, to be able to become certified?  Maybe it is, if you haven't yet taken the classes.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

How to stay current on new Workday releases

Today's blog post came from the mailbox, a question from S:  How do you remain up to date with new Workday functionality?

Some key background facts:
  • WD does version updates twice per year
  • WD pre-announces upcoming release dates in advance, so you can make your plans.  The next version upgrade is known and the one after is tentatively given.  So in the case of the upcoming WD 25, the dates are known.

So how do you get up to speed on the next version?  

Primarily, the Workday Community is your source for information!

Using the example of the next release (WD 25) for example
  • June 2015 (as of the writing of this post)
  • August 2015 - WD 25 is released in Sandbox tenants
  • September 2015 - WD 25 is released to Production tenants

Prior to Sandbox release (accessible now)

1. Workday produced webinars & videos - there are a variety of recorded webinars from quick previews of specific functionality to a 45 minute overview of HCM updates, for example.
2. Workday Brainstorms targeted for release - this is a webpage where you can filter on various features such as 'mobile' or 'calculated fields' to see the customer requests that are targeted for the upcoming release.  Just because something is targeted however, does not mean that it will actually make it to production!

After Sandbox release (accessible in August)

3. Preview tenants - WD releases preview sandbox tenants in advance, so that you can try out new functionality. For example, WD25 will be in preview in early August.  In the past customers have noticed when something is not working or breaks current functionality, so this is the chance for Workday to fix it before production.

4. 'What's new' report - Once your sandbox tenant is actually upgraded there is a report you can run from inside your tenant, unsurprisingly secured under the What's New in Workday domain.

After Production release (accessible in September)

5.  Documentation updates - Once the new release is available, there is a variety of smaller documents that become available, one of them is 'What's new in Documentation' list.  It's a list in Excel that contains the new/changed documentation item, and critically it includes a link to the documentation add/change, saving you the hassle of having to search to find the updates.

Always available

6. Retired Functionality Reference - This is an Excel doc that WD provides that provides details about the retirement of features and functions, from both a future and past perspective.  I find this one quite helpful as it provides the reason something is being discontinued and its replacement, as well as the impact, e.g. you'll need to update business process X or your training materials that reference the feature.  Items on this list range from simple fields or reports to larger items like the retirement of the Headcount Staffing model (Sept 2016).  It's usually updated after the Production release of each version.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Daylight savings time in Workday

Here in Europe, we adopt daylight savings time a little differently than in the US in the springtime.  Ours only came last weekend, on the 4th Sunday in March, while friends in the US and Canada moved in the 2nd Sunday of March.  Mexico uses the 1st Sunday in April.

A few things about Workday's handling of daylight savings time:
  • The clock shifts automatically, a customer isn't needing to do anything.
  • Scheduled jobs:  when the Pacific timezone springs forward from 2 to 3 AM, any 2 AM scheduled jobs automatically start at 3 AM.
  • Overnight workers:  the system is smart enough to realize that there is a 'missing' hour in the shift, so a worker's calculated hours does not include that 'missing' 2 AM one when the clock jumps forward.
  • All of this functionality has a similar counterpart action during the autumn time changes as well.
I compare this to our current, traditional non-cloud PeopleSoft ERP world where a database administrator manually has to reset the server clock and takes the system down as a part of that process.  As we are a global PeopleSoft instance, we have people in the system from the Asian morning through to the South American evening.  Therefore our downtime is very limited--depending on the exact countries, but 9 AM in Singapore is 2 AM in London and 10 PM yesterday in Argentina so it's a rare hour in the day where someone is not online.  It's mainly the hours just after Argentina's workday ends, prior to Asia waking up.  Taking the system down at 2 AM in London to make the time change impacts the Asia daytime.  Granted it's only twice a year, but with the process re-scheduling too.

Many years ago I recall speaking to someone at RBS (The Royal Bank of Scotland) and they had a global PeopleSoft instance which also ran global payroll and due to performance plus business requirements, they were constantly running someone's payroll at some point, had other processes running or had users in the system, except for a brief, weekly half hour allocated as a maintenance window where the system could be taken down.

So overall, I like this Workday functionality; I think it's clever, fit for purpose and gets the job done easily for customers and is miles ahead of the traditional ERP functionality on this front.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Interesting blog: Workday training

Spotted an interesting blog last week by Matthew Heminger.  I had taken some of his courses back when he was an instructor at PeopleSoft and I was a PeopleSoft consultant, he's a top notch instructor.  As Matthew approaches things from his many years as a trainer, it's definitely worth a read as I think he highlights some key points.

In some ways I feel that the rapid speed of SaaS implementation (not Workday in particular, but any SaaS) makes this topic timely; as you're moving at such a rapid clip there's even less time for knowledge transfer and training as implementation schedules are so condensed.

On a related note, one of the conversation threads I've been following for years on the Workday community site is about training strategies and longer term how to keep training materials up to date as Workday continues to evolve:  processes, pages and fields change, how to keep up?  It seems to be a topic that is interesting to many people...

Having started the HR training (version 16 or 17), taking a glance through the current 24 and future v 25 functionality, it's a struggle to stay up to date.

Further, from a European perspective, the issue is compounded by being multilingual, as I'm sure is the case in other regions of the world as well for many companies.  Our training documentation (HR+manager+employee) needs to be in a number of languages. 

As an unrelated sidenote, it's interesting how many youtube videos have cropped up showing Workday and offering training since the last time I gave that a google.  It's great to see so much knowledge and talent sharing out on the internet!

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

More European thoughts on Workday

I mentioned yesterday this interesting blog post related to Workday in Europe.  I think this topic kicks up some passion from those of us in Europe who knew/worked for PeopleSoft.  With many of the same brilliant minds at Workday I think we had very high expectations, especially based on the first looks at the early versions of the software.  While I don't disagree with any of Ahmed's points (well, except for the suggestion that the UK would leave the EU and to be honest, I'm indifferent to the Wheel), his post kicked up a few thoughts in my head which complement his posting.

1. More European functionality is needed

For anyone who's ever worked with PeopleSoft, I think in some ways the international features often appeared to be bolted on after the fact.  Need a new field for France?  Ok, stick it under the French flag.  Oh, same field for Germany...and Spain, wait, no let's put it over here instead.  You only need to look at the Diversity tables in PeopleSoft to understand what I'm talking about.  Why in heaven's name did they come up with multiple tables to cover one little thing...except that it was built after the fact in a clunky manner.

So many of us expected that Workday would take those learnings and be ahead of the game.  I heard someone once say about WD:  it's PeopleSoft but with everything fixed and better.  This is why I struggle quite a bit when WD has *less* functionality than PeopleSoft on the global front.

Basic stuff like car data, contract data, for whatever reason it exists in PeopleSoft but not in Workday.  OK contract data technically exists in Workday but with only a handful of fields while PeopleSoft has 3 pages of fields.  In addition, WD contract data is seen as flawed from a European perspective--it doesn't allow for the tracking of 2 contracts simultaneously, a situation that occurs in Europe.

Further, WD is missing some basic, legally required fields, which is quite a frustration.  (Yes, I realize we can create custom fields, but I'm not sure why they're not there out of the box?)  For example, there is some EU legislation called the European Working Time Directive.  It sets guardrails about the hours an employee can be expected to work.  An EU Directive is then implemented into legislation on a per country basis.  So here in the UK, an employee can opt-out of being controlled by the legislation (so an individual can agree to work more than the 48 hours average cap).  We need an employee to decide if that is the case, and an employee has the ability to change his/her mind later at any time.

Yes, we can control that on a form, or an email or an Excel or a custom field, but having something like this in the HRMS would make the most sense.  Further, if you enabled this via employee self-service, it would be a piece of cake for the HR administration side.  However, Workday does nothing on this front, not even a yes/no box to track it.  I see this mainly on things where the US does not have a similar requirement, then WD is slow to understand the requirement and then to build it.

To put it into another perspective, if I was a European HRMS going into the US market, and let's say I did payroll too, I couldn't walk onto the scene and say, well, I know you have a 72 hour requirement to get a check out to an employee in California, but we don't have that requirement in the UK, so are you sure that you really, really need it?  Hogwash.

I think we see this play out over and over whenever there is a requirement that doesn't exist in the US.

2. The lack of payrolls really is a downer

I realize global payroll can be a bit of a pipe dream.  However, I'd like to outline a scenario that I think is very common and I've heard it from many companies both large and small:

Payroll is king.  If we cannot pay our employees properly, then everything is broken.  Our payroll system also does employee self-service to change tax withholding, address, etc. and it also stores all our training data and...fill in the blanks. There are some pretty nifty payroll products in Europe and many of them are 'payroll systems with HRMS functionality'.

When you come in with a system like WD, sure there are a lot of great advantages such as having one place to get your employee headcounts etc.  But I'm always amazed when people are surprised, that the Euros don't want to use the Workday system.  And really, why should they (beyond higher level management telling them to do so and providing the additional budget for headcount).  If your Belgian payroll system offers that you can change your address and tax code but Workday does less by not covering the tax code part, it's seen as a secondary system.

I realize European payroll can be complex as every country has their own requirements, however, this is such an area of opportunity!  I cannot tell you the number of green screen DOS like applications that I've seen through the years, old faithfuls that print out on dot matrix printers.

In particular, from what I've seen and heard of WD's Absence Management--it's seen in a favorable light from the European perspective, flexible and able to handle the myriad of differing European and company-specific requirements.  I think that is the frustration here, that WD has half of the puzzle solved, but won't take the step forward to create a seamless, integrated one stop shop.

3. An overall lack of global thinking

I realize it's a US company with big US clients, but they are never going to make any gains in say, SAP's backyard with this type of thinking.  It will merely be US multinationals that have offices around the globe who will make up WD's European presence.

For example, fortunately Workday is now delivered in a number of languages for both Employee and Manager self-service.  (No idea about how hard translations are to do as they're still struggling to provide  Malaysian, Greek, and Norwegian only comes in version 24, etc.)  Their newish recruiting product only comes in a handful of languages and the mobile app is only English or French.  Yes I realize you could access via the browser if you wanted Spanish or German, but why release all this great mobile functionality then don't enable it in anything beyond English or French?

Or, I've waxed eloquent plenty of times on the training schedule, but this sort of American mindset often permeates everything that is scheduled.  For some reason, 8 AM doesn't seem to exist in California but all the user groups etc start only at 10 AM Pacific.  I must admit, I found it amusing that the latest Compensation user group meeting has 'Global Compensation Fundamentals' as the top item on the agenda as WD is seeking customer presenters.  The timing is 10 AM Pacific which is ok for US folks but a 7 PM start on the European continent or 3 AM the next day for Australia.  I have bothered to bring this up to WD (when the topic was the global HCM group, another ironic one) as have others with other calls, but the answer is a stock 'it will be recorded, there will be more in your timezone', but there never is.

I think the frustration is that I like others work for global companies or US multinationals where the awkward timing moves around the globe.  It seems like WD puts itself and its California clients in #1 position at all times.  That may not be the true case, but it seems like the perception from this side of the pond.  Back when I worked at PeopleSoft as a consultant I did a 6 week stint between gigs working in customer support.  I had to be in the Pleasanton office by 8 AM to support East coast clients, so not sure what has caused the California-centric approach.

Overall, I continue to think that Workday has a lot to offer and I was rather impressed with some of the advanced reporting that I saw recently in a class (more on that in a different posting), but these were my thoughts on all things European today.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Another European opinion on Workday

I recently had the pleasure of attending 2 more Workday online classes.  They began at 5 PM UK time.  To start with, I had to listen to the instructor kick off the call by asking who we were supporting in the Superbowl.  I didn't give a flying fig about the conversation (as Philly was out).  Instead I was doubly irritated that I could only choose an online course that was either East coast or West coast US timezone and here we are two years after I first started ranting on the topic and Workday STILL doesn't have a proper European presence.  It's fine you have an office in Dublin, but the courses are offered in the US timezone.  In addition, the Superbowl thing was very US centric...I don't even know what to say here.  Often in a foreign county, 'you don't know what you don't know' and I think it applies here.

Either WD wants to be a global player or not...not sure which it is in the moment though.

Another European blogger has a few thoughts about Workday.  I have some further thoughts brewing on this topic, but would recommend that you give this post a look in the meantime.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Proxy access in Workday

I was recently catching up with some former work colleagues who now work in a company that uses Workday.  They were not aware of the proxy functionality in Workday, so I put together a little info, maybe helpful for someone else too. 

What is the 'Proxy' functionality in Workday?

  • It allows certain users to switch over to *acting as* another user (without having to log in as another user).
  • It is only valid in non-production environments--you configure the ones where you want to use it.
  • It allows you to set boundaries--which users who can use it, who they can/cannot log in as, etc.
  • It's been available since 22 or 23 (off the top of my head)

Why use proxy?

  • For those in the trenches having to test out/approve functionality, this is a huge time saver.  
  • In particular, it saves you the hassle of having to create accounts, reset passwords, log in again, etc. plus the added risk of having those floating around.

How do you use it?

1. Log in as normal.  If you are a user with this access, then go to the 'Start Proxy' menu and choose who you'd like to proxy in as.  Here, Logan will proxy in and act as Steve:

2.  Test out whatever functionality you want.  You'll see whatever Steve has access to see.  Note the 'on behalf of' in the corner in case you forget who you're logging in as.

3.  Once you're done, access the 'Stop Proxy' menu, Confirm and hit OK.

4. There you go, you're back to your original access.

What is the configuration behind this functionality?


Here you go. 
  • Choose which non-production environments where you'd like to enable this functionality.
  • Choose any exceptions (CEO, VP's etc?)
  • Choose the user groups who can proxy.
  • Choose which user populations can be used for proxy testing.  This one is helpful if you have certain restricted groups, such as a European Works Council heavy country that you'd like to exclude.  As well, you might want to only enable a certain sub-population if you're just rolling out a piece of functionality to a certain population.

How do I know what Proxy functionality is currently enabled?


Run the report:


  • I like this functionality a lot, I think WD got this one right 'out of the box,' instead of drip-feeding us a little preview functionality and then enhancing over 5-6 versions.
  • This is a huge time saver for people doing testing, enabling you to really see what a user sees without going through all the account creation jazz.
  • It's simple to run/stop and use.  Full points on the usability front here.
  • I haven't talked to my friends in compliance on this one, so no comments there.  I suspect that's why WD keeps it out of the Production environment, to minimize the risk on that front.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Testing report performance in Workday

As someone who supports users who write/run queries in PeopleSoft, I thought I'd share a few features that I like about Workday report writing, functionality that doesn't exist in PeopleSoft.

1. The ability to 'test' a report while building/editing it.

Best practice in query/reporting writing dictates, 'test early, test often' to ensure that you are not breaking something or building it incorrectly.  Often, when a user is building something terribly complex in PeopleSoft, however, testing such a query can take 10-15 minutes per test run, which can be a hassle if you're adding multiple criteria, expressions, outer joins, etc.  *The assumption here is that you have a large PeopleSoft database.  Small instances may not have such obstacles.

Workday delivers this 'test' button when you're building or editing a report.  In this case, I'm editing a Workday delivered sample report, Employee Birthdays:

When you test a report, it does a small run of it, delivering 10 results.  In this test output, I may notice that I have blank birthdays or terminated people in my report, thus causing me to stop and consider another data source, before I'm too deeply into the report build:

Here are the data sources, by the way.  It's been over a year since I formally took Workday report writer training and I'd say that it one of the more difficult things, to choose the right or most efficient data source for what you want to do as there are just so many of them, and many are similar.

Once you're happy with your report, when you use the 'Run' button, you'll get the whole dataset, rather than the 10 test rows:

 2. Analyzing report performance

There are many ways to build the same report in Workday.  For example, let's say that I want to run a report on active employees.  Referencing the data source screen above, I could build a report on 'All Active and Terminated Workers' and filter out the terms, or I could just build directly on 'All Workers' which would be more efficient.  Both (and a variety of other) options are possible, but some are more efficient than others.  To measure report performance, Workday has recently (in the version 20ish range) opened up some options that were previously only for Workday internal use.

So check this out...I test run my report, under the 'Test Report Performance' menu.  Here I'm running a summarized headcount report:

 I get some output, great!

Now, I can see some logs.  If I would have skipped the above step, I would not have had these available to me:

Here are the log outputs:

It's mainly self-explanatory, but if your report is running slow, you're able to analyze where the hold up is located.  For example, my report here has no sorting or filters, but potentially if you were doing a lot of filtering or sub-filtering rather than using an efficient data source, that would quickly become apparent here.

In my current PeopleSoft world, to do the equivalent troubleshooting, I'd first eyeball the query and go through the chosen fields, filters, expressions, etc. to see if anything is clunky.  I'd review the table joins and tables used, to see if they are bulky ones.  Finally, if I didn't see anything with my trained eye, I'd need to take it into a SQL tool and start to take it apart line by line to see where the slow down is occurring, potentially with a database admin to look at the server side, if I still couldn't get to the root cause.  As you can imagine, I'm pleased as punch that Workday puts these logs out there, as potentially it makes it easier for the support resources to get to the needed information and fix any issues.

After a hiatus, I'm ready to start writing again.  If you've read this far and if this has been helpful and you'd like to see more, please click any of my ads.  It's nice to know that someone is reading me.  :)

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

DayNine hiring/training Workday consultants

A former employee recently approached me to be an employment reference.  She's in the 4th of 5 stages of interviewing with DayNine for a consulting position based out of London.  I've never worked with anyone from DayNine so I cannot vouch for their work abilities or culture although I casually met a few of their consultants in the past at some of the Workday sponsored events and meetings.  Their internal recruiter seemed pleasant enough and accommodating when scheduling my time to discuss her past performance.

Interestingly, from their website:  'DayNine is a professional services firm built from the ground up to support Workday. Workday is the leader in enterprise-class, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), for managing global business.  We are 100% focused on implementing Workday.'

I find their lack of diversification quite interesting.

My former colleague is quite excited as she'd like to get to travel and DayNine will send their new employees to the US for full training.

So for those of you in the London area, as well as other areas outside of the US and looking to break into Workday, perhaps worth a look at their website.