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.