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.

1 comment:

  1. Vendors with payrolls embedded have a greater likeihood of meeting more localization needs. See Making Sense of HCM’s Global Race for the Cloud goo.gl/joqQtv