Case study: Workday implementation Turnaround for a European-wide FTSE constituent with 13,000 employees in 7 countries

Case study: Workday implementation Turnaround for a European-wide FTSE constituent with 13,000 employees in 7 countries

Tue 17 Jun 2014 | Case Studies

Read about Tim, an interim HR project lead who managed a re-structure of an HR programme to rescue a Workday implementation at risk of a three month delay.


Many organisations are still ‘finding their feet’ in how to effectively implement HR SaaS solutions. This FTSE constituent had chosen Workday to underpin a larger HR transformation initiative, and appointed a Project Lead called Tim to lead the technology implementation.


Prior to his engagement, the programme had successfully launched a pilot to 300 users, but the 9 month programme had stalled due to several challenges. One such challenge was that the programme structure was unfit for purpose and would not work effectively with Workday’s solution build cycles and deployment methodology. The other issue was the lack of effective engagement with the HR-community.

With 2 months completed of a total 5 month project phase and no significant progress made, the project was in serious risk of a 3 month delay. With phase two scheduled to deploy Workday to a further 4,500 users across 3 European countries, it was critical that the milestones were met if the project was to be deemed a success.

The Solution

To get this pioneering project on track, The HR Transformation Programme Director engaged Tim, due to his consistent track-record of delivering against aggressive timescales and experience of managing stakeholders in diverse cultures. Tim encouraged a re-structure of the project team – creating a centralised, more agile team structure which consisted of in-country HR SMEs and HR Business Analysts.

This immediately fostered more joined-up delivery activity, and allowed the business to meet Workday’s rigid timescales for solution build. It also allowed Tim to co-ordinate more appropriate project communications which cultivated stronger levels of engagement – particularly in the highly disengaged HR communities.

Going the extra mile, Tim personally met with the in-country HR Directors to further cement the working relationship, securing much needed commitment to the milestones and utilisation of in-country resource. He also gave valuable input into the Organisational Design and engaged with the Shared Services teams in the post-production environment, ensuring that payment regulations and reporting requirements were met. This significantly improved end-user adoption and benefits realisation that the organisation was looking to gain from implementing Workday.


Due to Tim’s intervention, phase 2 successfully delivered Workday to 4,500 users within 3 months – avoiding a 3 month deployment delay. He went on to deliver phase 3 of the programme, completing the ultimate aim of delivering Workday to over 12,000 employees, across 8 countries, in 9 months.

An HR Director who was one of Tim’s project sponsors has this to say about his contribution:

“The Workday programme was very complex and spanned across many different cultures. His ability to manage stakeholders, despite the cultural complexities, was pivotal to embedding the change into the business. Tim is also very delivery focused and his ‘can do’ attitude rubbed off, not only on me but in everyone who worked with him on the project. I would work with Tim again without question and would recommend him 100%”

Key Learns

When Tim had completed the project, we spoke to him about the top 3 lessons learnt from this project and what organisations should consider when implementing HR SaaS solutions such as Workday:

  • Business Change activity is still paramount
    HR SaaS implementations are in theory simpler, quicker and more cost effective than on-premise HR solutions, but they are not be underestimated. Organisations need to ensure that they have the appropriate end-user and HR community engagement plan (communications, training etc) ready to go before the implementations start. Treat them with the same ‘caution’ as you would an ERP or onpremise project.
  • Choose your Implementation Partner wisely
    Some Workday partners are better than others. You designated Project Lead and HR community need to have clarity about what they need from their implementation partner and more importantly, own the project plan.
  • Make it Sustainable
    You will have consistent updates and new functionality launched on a regular basis. As an HR or IT function, you need to ensure you have the right resources in place who can engage with the business, Workday and any 3rd parties to rollout and embed any new functionality which is released.


If you have any questions about this particular delivery or want to have an informal discussion about the services we offer, please contact me on the details below.

Jordan Mori
Associate Director
T: +44 (0) 1189 901137
M: +44 (0) 7950 021017


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