HRM Concept to Workday implementation - the true value of an effective Project Manager

HRM Concept to Workday implementation – the true value of an effective Project Manager

Mon 6 Jun 2016 | Case Studies

A short case study of an Interim Project Manager – Suzanne – that showcases the importance of robust Project Management principles when undertaking a Workday / HR SaaS systems implementation.

The successful implementation of a HR SaaS system such Workday can result in impressive cost savings by streamlining HR and organizational processes, especially within multinational organizations. However, implementation of such a system is often complex and challenging. This is where the knowledge and expertise of an experienced Workday Project Manager can make a significant difference in the success of an implementation project.

Suzanne is an Interim Project Manager who has recently completed a complex Workday implementation. Her work demonstrates professionalism and a thorough understanding of client needs, an ability to foresee and mitigate risks, and find resolutions to the unique project challenges that implementing Workday presents.

Project Outline:

A multi-national organisation in the Logistics industry (operating in over 60 countries worldwide with around 4000 employees) sought to implement a SaaS HR system to improve management of their global HR function. A strategic objective was to automate their manual HR processes that had identified as being costly, inefficient, and time consuming. An example being that creating a simple headcount report would cost over £5000 in man hours and take over 1 week to compile.

An initial review of the enterprise architecture landscape identified several key problem areas including: Lack of consistent global standards and grades, Management of employee benefits; management and reconciliation of annual leave and staff absences; and inadequate HR reporting capability resulting in unverifiable HR data.

Suzanne was initially engaged by the CIO to manage the enterprise architecture review and subsequently by the CHRO to manage the RFP (request for proposal) phase, select a HR SaaS system, and oversee the successful deployment of the HRIS solution. Using best practice Project Methodology, her approach was to establish six key workstreams for the project which included: Compensation and Employee Benefits; Change and Communications; HR Data; IT; Business Processes; and Testing. Suzanne then mobilised the internal and external resources for each workstream along with appointing an approved Workday implementation Partner.

Project Objectives and Results:

Suzanne was responsible for delivering the following four objectives within a nine month period from April to December:

  1. Core HR / Basic HRM
  2. Performance
  3. Employee self-service
  4. Manager self-service

Part of the project scope was to also successfully integrate Workday’s solution with the IT Support desk, the organisation’s intranet, Learning Management System, Active Directory, Payroll, and Suzanne achieved all of these objectives due to her ability to identify possible risks in advance and mitigate them, and stay calm and focussed even when multiple challenges made the project appear to be chaotic. HR resources were limited by a low capability and the project team was small which added pressure to the individuals involved. Suzanne’s ability to manage not only processes and tasks but also the team involved is a credit to her exceptional project management skills.

“Suzanne’s ability to work in a fast-paced and ambiguous environment, with ever changing terms of engagement, and often moving targets is exceptional. During the course of our working together, I have come to rely heavily on her abilities, work ethic, absolute loyalty, and get-it-done attitude.” – Programme Manager

Her personal commitment to the success of the project was highlighted in her solution to validating compensation data and hierarchy data. Because the legacy HR system provided no way to do this, Suzanne set up individual WebEx conference calls with more than 100 managers globally and secured their undertaking to manually and personally verify the compensation and hierarchy data using a prototype version of Workday.

Her expertise was further showcased in the challenge of managing employee benefits which were vastly different globally (Due to local tax and regulatory constraints and specific types of benefits), and therefore couldn’t be accurately reflected in the system. Suzanne’s solution was to initiate an independent project to rationalise all Pension and Benefit providers in all countries to create globally consistent employee benefits, allowing for minor local variations where necessary. This solution enabled the organisation to accurately reflect employee benefits and still meet the project implementation deadlines without compromising the go-live of Workday.

Both the project and business objectives were fulfilled thanks to Suzanne’s capable project management expertise. In terms of the project, the quality of implementation, timeframes and budgets were met. The successful implementation of Phase 1 was concluded within 9 months as scheduled and Workday was delivered to 4000 employees operating in 67 different countries. Business results included immediate access to reporting functions, the creation of a solid foundation which would enable more effective regional HR management, and the opportunity for this foundation to enable the HR function to become more strategic.

As highlighted in the above results, Workday provides organisations with a robust system that can help streamline and improve many HR management functions. However, because the implementation can be complex it requires astute project management skills and a thorough knowledge of the system and the organisational needs.

If a proven practitioner such as Suzanne could add value to your Cloud HR Systems implementation contact

Hensen Associates on +44 (0) 1189 901137 or email or


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