Case Study: Interim Workday Programme Manager Safeguards £1.1million Investment

Case Study: Interim Workday Programme Manager Safeguards £1.1million Investment

Tue 5 Dec 2017 | Case Studies

If your organisation is implementing Workday but isn’t sure if the proper preparations are in place, you may find this case study of particular interest.

Hensen Associates are currently working with an Interim Workday Programme Manager who safeguarded £1.1 million in his current assignment whilst avoiding unforeseen costs of over £120k.

This case study contains the fine detail of how this impressive result was achieved.


The Interim Workday Project & Programme Manager in question is called Declan and has been deployed as Project Lead on over ten successful Workday implementations since 2011. In two of his recent assignments he has acted as a consulting partner during Phase Zero for two separate global financial services organisations.

What makes Declan special is that he underpins a strong technical understanding of Workday with an excellent track-record of project delivery – which means he knows the long term pitfalls of Workday programmes and how to avoid them in the crucial preparation stage.


The organisation in question is one of the world’s largest insurance companies, with over 2000 employees in almost ten countries. At the tail-end of their new HR system procurement process, and with Workday slightly edging SuccessFactors as the favourable solution, it became apparent that here was no Workday knowledge within the organisation and they had never implemented a Cloud solution previously.

Although the internal Head of Projects knew that there were pitfalls in deploying cloud HR technology, she simply did not know exactly which obstacles could hinder the successful implementation. Without this knowledge, unforeseen additional costs put a strict budget of £1.1 million at risk, as did potentially unachievable outcomes and poor stakeholder buy-in. Accordingly, the Head of Projects engaged Declan to launch the programme.


Declan’s first task was to sanity check the existing business case and project plan. In his analysis, he discovered that the business case benefits outlined were mainly reliant on headcount savings, along with a project plan to deploy Workday within five months – a highly unrealistic timescale for a 2,000 employee organisation with two separate HR systems.

Furthermore, the implementation timescale essentially invalidated the commercial objectives of the business case, as the headcount would have remained unchanged for a much longer duration. In addition to this, if the quality of the implementation had been poor, the headcount savings would probably not have been met at all.

In order to turn the situation around, Declan drew upon all his years of Workday experience and expertise to propose, lead and deliver the following three projects:


Along with the Head of Projects and HR Director the decision was made to implement Workday across their entire employee base, but with only the core HCM module along with the critical Payroll interfaces. Crucially, during this decision, Declan highlighted the risk of integrating with further systems in future. This enabled the Head of Projects to gear the selection of an implementation partner with strong integration experience to offset the lack of internal capability which Declan highlighted. With Declan’s guidance of just implementing Workday core HCM first, this would allow for a more nimble implementation and avoid spiralling costs of a multiple module approach.

Salary Information

Declan engaged various HR and business stakeholders and ascertained that salary information was of primary importance to employees. Accordingly, he created a six week project plan for the internal HRIS team to ensure that all salary and organisational role / position information was collated into a central spreadsheet in a Workday friendly format. This data cleansing exercise meant that it would be simple to provide the employee data during the Workday prototype build phases – in effect maintaining the integrity of the implementation timescale and budget.

Change Management

With the decision to implement Workday being driven by the Head of Projects, Declan consciously encouraged the HR Director to become ‘the voice’ of the project in the business. Due to the organisational impact on HR headcount and changes to HR service delivery as a result, the rationale for change needed to be driven by HR. To start this process, Declan helped the HR Director crystallise the key messages to both the business and HR function. This achieved the aim of ensuring that the HR Director was engaged throughout the programme and able to manage change resistance more effectively.


The results of Declan’s work are nothing short of staggering, where he:

•   Safeguarded £1.1 million and validated the new project plan activity by achieving ‘organisational readiness’ through HR/Pay Data cleansing, Workday module prioritisation and upfront reviews of Payroll/Workday integrations;
•   Extended the existing implementation plan from 5 to 8 months – avoiding potential additional costs of £120k;
•   Put HR at the centre of Change Management activity for the Workday implementation, giving the project a credible voice;
•   Recalibrated the business case to a realistic HR headcount saving, so that the programme under-promised and over-delivered;


Declan is in the final stages of handing over to an internal project team and will be free to interview w/c 1st January 2018. To find out more about him, or to discuss any related HR technology initiatives in your 2018 strategy, please email or call Hensen Associates on 01189 901137.


To download this case study, please click here.