What Every HR Department Must Do in Workday to Ensure a Smooth Start to the New Year

There are five main activities that need to be done in Workday at year end  / beginning of the year to ensure the smooth running of a business. These simple tasks are often overlooked – particularly by those new to Workday – but can have a negative impact if not done.

There are five critical tasks that Workday companies should undertake around the year-end / new year time frame. Individually, these are simple tasks but can significantly impact your HR operations if not completed in time.

Year-end activities come thick and fast, and it is easy in the last month of the year to forget to undertake some essential tasks. FinServ Consulting has identified five essential tasks that every HR department must complete to guarantee a smooth kick-off to the new year. Lack of action on these tasks could create unnecessary errors or preventable breaks in your operations, causing a lot of unneeded January headaches.

These five areas are:

  1. Scheduled Processes – (integration, reports, alerts) and Period Schedules (payroll, time off, time tracking) must be reviewed and set up / extended manually. Scheduled processes can be set up in advance up to five instances in a new year. Period schedules can be set up for up to two years in advance.
  2. Delegation Review – A review of delegation assignments ensures that they are correct and that expiration dates are extended. This will avoid the Workday inboxes of executives filling up with tasks that generally would be delegated.
  3. Compliance Activities – Review what compliance requirements are pending for the new year, including mandated data purging and verifying employee compliance with company policies.
  4. Corporate Document Updates – A review of employee documents like the corporate handbook, benefit plan documents, and company policies will ensure that they are updated and properly linked to in Workday.
  5. Time Off Calendar and Balances – Update the upcoming holiday calendar to ensure that employees can successfully request time off. In addition, review time-off balances that are carrying over to ensure accuracy.

 

#1 – Scheduled Processes and Period Schedules

Scheduled processes allow you to automate processes on a schedule (i.e. daily, weekly, monthly), such as an integration with your medical benefits provider or payroll processor. These schedules are typically set up in advance but must be maintained annually. They cannot be scheduled indefinitely and can usually be set for up to five scheduled instances in the following year.

Suppose your payroll file is not sent to your payroll provider because it is no longer automatically scheduled in Workday. In that case, the HR team risks a highly visible and potentially catastrophic mistake.

Period Schedules standardize the sequential periods you use to track absence or payroll. These period schedules also need to be entered and maintained manually and can be entered up to two years in advance.

Not setting your future period schedules can prevent employees from requesting time off or prevent you from processing the next pay run. Like the Scheduled Processes, not maintaining Period Schedules is an easily preventable error.

 

#2 – Delegation Review

Tasks are often delegated in Workday, usually to assistants of senior executives. Senior executives are generally crucial control points to granting approvals for time off requests from their subordinates or approving high-value expenses and invoices. Executives usually do not have the time or inclination to go into Workday consistently and approve these requests.

Delegating these tasks to assistants allow the tasks to be completed in a timely and consistent manner. These delegations do have expiration dates and need to be reviewed annually. Letting delegation settings expire can result in a senior executive’s Workday inbox being flooded rather than the tasks going to the correct delegated employee for processing. If the executive is not looking at their Workday inbox, critical invoice payments may not be approved, leading to unnecessary late payment penalties. For example, Market Data vendors’ unpaid invoices may lead to unnecessary late fees or, even worse, denial of critical data that the business requires.

As administrative permissions have time limits, it is easy to set them and forget them until something goes horribly wrong.

 

#3 – Compliance Activities

Data purging and employee compliance are two of the essential resets needed at year-end / beginning of the year. This means verifying that everyone has signed the required employee and corporate policy documents such as the employee handbook, Covid / return to work attestations, restricted trading policy attestations, and other necessary documents.

As these documents are disseminated throughout the year, it is easy to lose track of whether they have been reviewed and signed off on by all employees.

The time surrounding the new year is a natural time to conduct a holistic overview of the status of the firm’s overall policy attestations. For example, employees may be required to attest to understanding the code of ethics or conflicts of interest policies. Ensuring that these policies are enforced and that enforcement is tangible is key to assuaging any concerns of regulators or potential investors.

This time is also an excellent time to review how well the firm is in compliance with data retention and purging regulations. For example, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) stipulates that personal data is collected for legitimate reasons and is only kept if needed. Because of these regulations, companies will need to place greater scrutiny on terminated employees and their personal data. The HR or compliance departments must be vigilant in reviewing this data and determining if there is a legitimate reason to continue storing it in Workday.

 

#4 – Corporate Document Updates

Corporate documents such as employee handbooks, benefit plan documents, and policies can get out of date quickly as policies evolve, such as Diversity and Inclusion and Remote Work policies. In addition, the companies’ benefit providers often change, or the company changes the plan offerings themselves. The document file itself can change from content updates to file name changes or file location changes. Once this happens, the reference link in Workday may no longer work and inevitably lead to errors during any attestation process or during an employee onboarding.

Checking that the latest document versions are set up in the system should be part of any end of year to new year process. Multiple or outdated versions of documents can cause problems; ensuring that only one version – the latest – exists is essential.

Performance review templates are another area to double-check along with offer letters and other templates used throughout the year. These templates can change. Since they impact all employees and prospective hires, it is critical to be consistent and accurate in what is shown. If these templates link to external documents or are set to send information to vendors, it is vital to make sure that the links still work.

 

#5 – Time Off Calendar and Balances

A simple task that can cause many headaches is ensuring that next year’s calendar includes the correct dates for holidays. Different localities and regions may have special holidays, and observed holidays change from year to year. These are not automatically loaded into Workday; they need to be set up every year manually. This is particularly important for companies with international offices where the holiday dates may differ.

The time around year-end is also a good time to get ahead of nuances in the calendar for the upcoming year to give you more time to be prepared to address any employee concerns. For example, most financial services firms follow the stock market’s holiday schedule. At the end of 2021, the stock market is not observing New Year’s Day 2022 as a holiday since it falls on a Saturday. Usually, the holiday would be observed on the preceding Friday. But, because Friday is a key accounting period (year-end / quarter-end / month-end), the stock market will be open. Try explaining that on New Year’s Eve when this calendar quirk dawns on your employees.

Another critical activity for year-end is to check your employee’s time off balances due to carry over. Carry-over balances should be checked for accuracy; this will ensure that your time off eligibility and carry-over rules are correct and that an unexpected employee type / setup is not breaking the time-off rules.  Unused time off that can be paid out will need to be appropriately reviewed and loaded into payroll.

 

Conclusion

Overall, it is best never to assume that these essential tasks have been completed. Much of what needs to be done annually is common sense, but HR and Operations teams often overlook these additional inputs / actions in the crunch of a busy fourth quarter.

FinServ Consulting has found that many clients outsource support for these activities after they have experienced one of these painful events.

Whether you choose to seek our support or not, we hope these top tips help you avoid any adverse effects on your company’s operations. Getting to grips with these tasks early and on an annual basis will save a lot of time, energy and headaches in the coming year.

To learn more about FinServ Consulting’s services: info@finservconsulting.com or (646) 603-3799.

About FinServ Consulting

FinServ Consulting is an independent experienced provider of business consulting, systems development, and integration services to alternative asset managers, global banks and their service providers. Founded in 2005, FinServ delivers customized world-class business and IT consulting services for the front, middle and back office, providing managers with optimal and first-class operating environments to support all investment styles and future asset growth. The FinServ team brings a wealth of experience from working with the largest and most complex asset management firms and global banks in the world.

HCM for Asset Managers: Find the Right Solution for Your Firm

An HCM solution is an integrated system that automates HR functions combined with finance, planning, and analytics and allows for employee self-service capabilities, thereby reducing labor costs, optimizing business processes, and increasing efficiency. Companies that transition from manual processes and disparate legacy systems to modern, cohesive digital workforce management technologies can realize up to 15-25% cost savings related to HR and IT spend.

Most current HCM solutions are offered as a cloud-based, SaaS delivery model and include modules for payroll, HR, time and labor management, and recruitment. This type of solution does not require an expensive hardware investment and constantly updates software to the latest version while maintaining secure backups. These systems are monitored at all times and provide the utmost reliability. An added plus for asset managers is that the solutions can be customized to suit the size of any company and grow as the organization grows.

At FinServ Consulting, we have experience working with firms of various sizes in the alternative asset management industry to select, implement, and/or upgrade their HCM systems. While there are numerous benefits of having one comprehensive, integrated HCM, there are other options available on the market such as lite solutions that meet basic needs without all the added features that may not be necessary for some firms, as well as point solutions that cater to the industry’s unique needs, like complicated compensation structures. FinServ can help assess your company’s specific requirements to identify what to be aware of in terms of missing features, implementation issues, and cost-benefit analysis of different HCM options.

 

Benefits of a Consolidated HCM

Attract and Grow Talent

Recruiting top talent and keeping them engaged is no longer just HR’s responsibility—talent objectives can have a significant financial impact on growing a financial services business. Implementing a new HCM system can help enhance performance management processes to eliminate bureaucracy and encourage meaningful conversations between managers and employees focused on performance improvement. In addition, better compensation data and visibility of top talent allow managers to make more well-informed decisions regarding performance and rewards.

Some clients in the alternative asset management space that FinServ has previously worked with used manual spreadsheets to manage staff performance, as well as recruiting and other functions in some cases. However, by opting for a consolidated HCM system, these organizations were able to use more sophisticated workflows to provide employees with more meaningful feedback. Also, they could track and monitor operational outcomes and staff development across the company to ensure a payback from their HCM investment.

Make Better Informed Decisions

Asset management firms in the current environment face increasing regulatory scrutiny, such as GDPR, AIFMD, and Form PF, and constantly evolving standards. In order to meet the new generation of demands, these companies need to make well-informed investment decisions with visibility into all business lines. However, this is a difficult task when the data required to deliver these insights is housed in disparate legacy systems with varying formats and level of detail. This is where having consolidated HCM comes in—a single system for finance, HR, planning, and analytics can offer the necessary foundation to gain better insights, save time on data aggregation, and proactively solve business problems. A digital solution of this type can help improve business margins, provide competitive differentiation, attract and retain customers, and identify lucrative areas for growth.

Harness the Power of Modern Data

Today’s financial companies have an unprecedented amount of valuable data across their organization. However, many are still not able to access this data due to isolated, unorganized, and inaccurate legacy systems. The data warehouses that are typically accessed by business intelligence tools to create reports or perform financial analyses hold data that was accurate at the time it was loaded and refreshed from legacy systems, resulting in a high likelihood that it is out-of-date and unreliable. As a result, financial services firms often turn to add-on custom software solutions to try and achieve real-time data extraction, but these products often produce further challenges because they require continuous maintenance to keep up with the changing needs of the business.

Implementing a contemporary, consolidated HCM system allows firms nimble access to the real-time data that is necessary for constantly changing business needs. These solutions include technologies, such as cloud computing, open APIs, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, that make insights transparent and accessible across lines of business.

Build Organizational Agility

Being agile is key to an asset manager’s long-term success and there are several factors at play in building organizational agility:

  • Adaptable: A flexible technology foundation is essential to be able to change organizational structures and processes in response to regularly shifting business needs.
  • Skilled: Financial services firms, among others, face a widening skill gap and must find ways to upskill their workforce.
  • Empowered: In order to perform at the highest potential to meet evolving consumer expectations and drive success, employees need full access to data to make business decisions.
  • In Control: The need for measurement and control goes hand in hand with agility and speed. Asset managers must measure more relevant KPIs to learn from what works and what doesn’t when it comes to new digital revenue streams.

There are common obstacles that firms must overcome to meet the guidelines above, including inflexible legacy technologies, bureaucratic organizational culture, and a lack of relevant employee skills. By using a comprehensive HCM solution to add intelligence to business tasks, financial firms can move past these challenges and employ integrated, real-time planning in order to build organizational agility and realize their digital growth aspirations.

 

Choose the Right Solution

As mentioned previously, there are many HCM offerings available on the market and it is important to select the right one to meet your firm’s unique needs. There are several factors to consider, such as the needs and priorities of the business, size of the firm, and desired metrics and reporting abilities. FinServ Consulting has experience working with asset management firms to identify and implement a suitable HCM solution. We can help you make the right decision and take full advantage of the capabilities and rewards that the new solution will provide.

 

Summary

If you are interested in establishing or improving your firm’s HCM platform, FinServ Consulting is the right partner to help you reach your firm’s strategic objectives.  Throughout our 15 years of existence, we have proven that our deep industry knowledge combined with our project management and overall best practice methodologies can be an asset to your organization. To further continue the conversation or to discuss more of FinServ’s capabilities, please contact us at info@finservconsulting.com or give us a call at (646) 603-3799.

About FinServ Consulting

FinServ Consulting is an independent experienced provider of business consulting, systems development, and integration services to alternative asset managers, global banks and their service providers. Founded in 2005, FinServ delivers customized world-class business and IT consulting services for the front, middle and back office, providing managers with optimal and first-class operating environments to support all investment styles and future asset growth. The FinServ team brings a wealth of experience from working with the largest and most complex asset management firms and global banks in the world.

Implementing Workday – What Your IT Staff Can Expect

If you are considering implementing Workday for your Human Capital Management (HCM) and / or Financial system needs, then you are likely aware that Workday is a Software as a Service (SaaS) application – centrally hosted and consumed over the Internet as a Service. The SaaS model will save your organization time and money on the maintenance tasks typically associated with an on-premise software installation. What it won’t do is absolve your IT staff from all Workday responsibilities, rather your team’s responsibilities will shift.  Depending on your organizational structure, this role can stay solely within IT or it can be split between IT and the Business.

Let’s review the traditional on-premise software model and how your staff supported it.

 

On-Premise Software Support Responsibilities
  • Procure, install and maintain hardware such as Application Servers, Web Servers and Database Servers
  • Maintain multiple environments for Production, Development and Testing
  • Set up redundant environments for Disaster Recovery / Business Continuity purposes
  • Monitor hardware and environment health
  • Install and configure the Application
  • Install system upgrades and apply patches

 

With Workday, your IT Staff largely pivots away from the infrastructure maintenance to an application maintenance and integrations focus. Your staff would support Workday’s “Delivered Value” as defined in the Workday Technology Illustration below.

 

 

 

Let’s examine each “Delivered Value” item to determine how they translate into responsibilities for you and your staff.

 

 

Web Familiar Experience

Workday’s main user interface is through the Web Browser and will be how your users primarily interact with Workday (there is also an App).

Enabling your users to access Workday will be dependent on your staff and this can include the following application Maintenance and Support tasks.

  • Adding and configuring New Users in Workday including Single Sign-On (SSO) set up
  • Disabling Terminated Users
  • Setting login and password expiration settings
  • Monitoring New Releases and reviewing their corresponding System Release Notes
  • Using Business Analysis to plan and manage projects for Enhancements and Additional Component Activation
  • Keeping abreast of major functionality changes that will benefit your firm such as Workday Prism Analytics
  • Configuring and Testing System Changes
  • Troubleshooting User Issues and Managing the Issues to Resolution
  • Administering your Workday environments (tenants) – Production and Staging to manage system refreshes and upgrades

 

 

Enterprise Reporting

Workday will become the Golden Source for your firm’s Human Resources and Financial data. Naturally, your users will want to take advantage of this and will want a comprehensive set of reports. Building these reports will require your staff to understand how Workday stores the data and how to extract the data using specific report types.

Furthermore, you will also need to think beyond Workday to consider how HR and Financials data in Workday can augment and complement the data in other areas of your firm. At many of our clients, the strategic vision in consolidating all of the firm’s data involves another tool, usually a Data Warehouse.

  • Building Matrix Reports
  • Building Advanced Reports
  • Building Composite Reports
  • Understanding the available set of pre-configured reports
  • Planning how Workday data can be used throughout your firm

 

 

Integration On-Demand

Central to Workday’s functionality is the ability to communicate your data with both internal and external parties. Internally, you may want to have Workday interact with your internal CRM system such as Salesforce (typically for deal pipeline or other customer management). Externally, you will want to have Workday interact with your various Vendors for Procurement Punch-Outs, Banking Transactions, Benefits and Payroll. This data flow is done via Integrations / API Calls that were initially set up during the initial Workday deployment by the Workday Integrators.

Maintaining the Integrations, API Calls and related File Transfer Infrastructure will fall on your staff and the responsibilities include the following:

  • Mapping out both internal applications and external vendors that will interact with Workday
  • Monitoring Integration Runs and Troubleshooting Errors
  • Collaborating with Vendor Contacts to determine the root cause and resolve
  • Building custom Integrations in Workday Studio (if standard integrations do not meet requirements)
  • Configuring and maintaining a File Transfer Server (if necessary) with secure file protocols such as SFTP, SSL, SSH, etc.
  • Supporting file encryption with keys such as PGP keys
  • Configuring the Firewall to white list Vendor IPs to allow the Vendor to connect to your File Transfer Server

 

 

Configurable Business Processes

Business Processes allow you to define and create your firm’s workflow in Workday. For example, to hire a new employee, each firm will have their own steps to initiate the hire process, enter data, run background checks, obtain approvals, etc. This process is taken from your firm and then re-created in Workday.

Your staff will need to develop their Business Process skills to support the business in the following manner.

  • Investigating and Resolving Business Process Issues
  • Creating and / or modifying Business Processes
  • Tracking approvals given for Business Process changes through the Request Framework or other internal tool
  • Reviewing and Analyzing the Business Process for risks due to Key Man Dependency, Separation of Duties, Improper Access Granted, etc.

 

 

Summary

Implementing Workday will require your IT staff to be fully committed and involved in the implementation from the beginning. This is critical for a successful implementation and a seamless operational support transition. Your IT staff will not be as focused on Physical Infrastructure but rather on Workday and the systems / components related to Workday. IT’s role is critical for segregation of responsibilities and allows your firm to successfully address audit points and regulatory concerns.  This post is designed to guide and instruct you on the changes to come to you and your staff. FinServ has advised multiple clients on supporting their Workday implementation, augmenting their support staff and improving upon existing processes. FinServ is an experienced Workday integrator with the deep industry expertise needed to configure Workday optimally for your firm. For help in implementing or enhancing Workday, contact FinServ at info@finservconsulting.com or give us a call at (646) 603-3799.

About FinServ Consulting

FinServ Consulting is an independent experienced provider of business consulting, systems development, and integration services to alternative asset managers, global banks and their service providers. Founded in 2005, FinServ delivers customized world-class business and IT consulting services for the front, middle and back office, providing managers with optimal and first-class operating environments to support all investment styles and future asset growth. The FinServ team brings a wealth of experience from working with the largest and most complex asset management firms and global banks in the world.

Artificial Intelligence for Human Resources

Artificial Intelligence – The Next Internet

Today, the term Artificial Intelligence (AI) has gone main stream and has become the focus for the next stage of technological evolution. In 1996, Bill Gates said about the Internet:

“The Internet is a revolution in communications that will change the world significantly. The Internet opens a whole new way to communicate with your friends and find and share information of all types. Microsoft is betting that the Internet will continue to grow in popularity until it is as mainstream as the telephone is today.” –Bill Gates (Time, 16 September 1996).

This sounds awfully familiar to how AI is being described today as to how it will reshape our lives. In the Business.com article “3 Reasons Why AI is Beneficial to Business“, AI is described as:

“Artificial intelligence (AI) is regarded as one of the most impactful technologies in the word today. It is transforming the way the world works by spurring innovation in every sphere of the planet. There are many advantages of AI, from the capability of making any function work faster to improving how the world runs.”

Much like how the Internet was described in its genesis, AI is being described in a similar grandiose fashion where I am not being told anything specific in terms of benefits nor am I being told of the practical usage of AI. For example, how is AI going to exactly make me and my clients work more effectively? Specifically, how will this make the HR space function more efficiently? How can HR utilize AI to add value to their work and to their firm?

 

Think Small

To identify the areas where AI can help HR immediately, it helps to think small. Find smaller ways to improve your work processes that you can implement with minimal change. Changes that affect multiple groups and the whole organization will run into stiff cultural resistance and incur greater risk. For example, AI has been a trending topic recently in how it can improve the Recruiting process from scheduling to follow ups to candidate interaction.  However, we have seen that Recruiting processes can be difficult to change due to ingrained processes, legacy systems, multiple internal and external involved parties, etc. Furthermore, if AI is not implemented correctly for Recruiting, it can potentially lead to employment law violations.

In a notable misstep for AI, Amazon recently disclosed that they abandoned an internal effort to have AI review and process candidate resumes as the AI learned gender bias and showed preference toward male resumes. Reuters reported that:

In effect, Amazon’s system taught itself that male candidates were preferable. It penalized resumes that included the word “women’s,” as in “women’s chess club captain.” (Reuters, Amazon scraps secret AI recruiting tool that showed bias against women)

Effective AI should be thought of as an “add-on” that can enhance your work by taking on mundane tasks, guiding you through tasks, offering advanced data analysis to complement your work, etc. We have selected 3 areas where an AI “add-on” can have a big impact to HR and be implemented quickly.

  1. Chatbots
  2. System Training
  3. Retaining Talent

Chatbots

Chances are that you have already encountered many of these Chatbots on your daily websites from shopping sites to your utility provider’s site. The Chatbot AI prompts you to ask questions which they then answer without an actual representative interacting with you. Well, this is coming to the workplace as well and HR is in a prime position to benefit.

On the popular collaboration and messaging app, Slack, the add-on, Niles, can listen and learn from your questions. For example, you can ask Niles, how much would it cost to switch from the Low to High Medical plans or how many vacation days can I carry over? Niles can answer these questions freeing up your time for more complex tasks. And what if Niles does not know the answer? Well, you would have to give Niles the right answer and Niles would learn from this.

System Training

As more and more HR departments implement HCM systems, there comes a learning curve to learn how to use the system. For the most part, users have been trained through on-site sessions and user guides. But how much knowledge does the user really retain after the training is complete – not enough to complete the task seamlessly. User guides have issues as well in terms of finding and using the correct guide and their overall static nature. You can always ask your HRIS Administrator for help but that depends on if they are available and it may take time away from their other tasks as well. AI in System Training is designed to overlay on top of the system for a seamless experience and interact with you as you do your task. This on-screen experience is on demand and contextual.

WalkMe, a digital adoption platform, offers AI training that sits on top of the Workday UI. It can guide you step by step to complete your tasks and this becomes really powerful when taking the context into account. For example, you are no longer following just the steps to transfer an employee from the New York office to the London office. WalkMe would recognize the context that you are performing the office move task in – the employee is transferring, not just moving. You could be prompted to perform related tasks such as updating a home address, converting salary to the local UK salary or updating the retirement benefits. And if you have never done these steps or forgot how to do them? WalkMe has got you covered..

Retaining Talent

When employees leave, it causes strain on the organization’s employees and the organization itself. Employee morale can suffer. The organization can encounter the adverse effects from lost industry and institutional knowledge and the necessity to kick off recruiting a replacement. Recruiting itself is arduous and time consuming and there is no guarantee that the replacement is a good fit for the organization. But what if you could  potentially prevent this or at least be prepared when someone inevitably leaves? AI can scan and analyze employee behavior and cues and identify those at risk for leaving. With this knowledge, potential issues can addressed before they become issues and the transition plan becomes a proactive exercise rather than a reactive exercise.

Veriato, a user behavior analytics and employee monitoring software company, offers AI platforms designed to identify employees that may be leaving. By tracking the employee’s behavior from their computer activity, tone in emails, keystrokes, internet browsing, etc., a baseline is created for that employee. The AI can monitor and detect deviations to the baseline that would indicate if an employee might be leaving. For example, the AI may detect a change in tone to a negative tone regarding the company in emails or disengagement from work through reduced work activity.

Summary

AI is being touted as the next great solution much like the Internet was in its early days. To take advantage of AI now, start small and practical. Small improvements can be implemented quickly with less organizational resistance and risk. The benefits of AI will be realized quicker and will help you present tangible benefits as supporting arguments for implementing AI with a larger organizational impact. FinServ has helped many of our clients evaluate their current processes, implement process efficiencies and select technology that best fits the organization. For help in evaluating where AI can benefit you and implementing it, contact FinServ at info@finservconsulting.com or give us a call at (646) 603-3799.

About FinServ Consulting

FinServ Consulting is an independent experienced provider of business consulting, systems development, and integration services to alternative asset managers, global banks and their service providers. Founded in 2005, FinServ delivers customized world-class business and IT consulting services for the front, middle and back office, providing managers with optimal and first-class operating environments to support all investment styles and future asset growth. The FinServ team brings a wealth of experience from working with the largest and most complex asset management firms and global banks in the world.

Move Your SaaS, to Optimize It!

Common Reasons SaaS Applications Aren’t Being Optimized

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a method of software delivery and licensing in which software is accessed online via a subscription, rather than purchased and installed on individual computers. These web-based solutions make it convenient to perform business on any computer, tablet or smart phone. Applications can be as simple as Microsoft Excel (via Office 365) or they can be more complex to allow business lines to manage their data and business processes, securely. The software and servers are maintained by the vendor, which makes these applications attractive to business lines such as Human Resources, Finance and the IT folks that normally support these groups. However, if the software isn’t configured correctly during the initial implementation or maintained to keep up with frequent version updates then you aren’t optimizing your SaaS and getting the best return on your investment. Following are common reasons why we see firms not optimizing their SaaS applications:

  1. Over-purchased Functionality – Often, as part of the original software license negotiation process the client purchases more functionality than can reasonably be implemented in the time-frame budgeted. Sometimes functionality is rushed and rolled out just for the sake of putting it into play, whether it was designed correct or not. In other cases, functionality is shelved for later so that the core implementation can be rolled out to meet the project deadline and budget. Implementation projects are typically scheduled to complete in time for an old system to be replaced and/or just prior to the business having to enter their busy season. As a result, any functionality not completed usually gets placed on the back-burner and in some cases it never gets implemented.
  2. No Maintenance Program – The SaaS vendors change the software with each version upgrade, release schedules varying by vendor but some releases happen quarterly. As the software change, chances are so does your business. Each version release should be viewed as a mini-implementation project. Some changes are forced on all users whereas some are optional and they need to be configured in order to take advantage of them. If the business isn’t actively monitoring the functionality that is being released, reviewing it against their business needs and activating the optional enhancements, then the software isn’t being maximized.

 

Helpful Things to Know About SaaS Applications

  • Usually software license fees begin when the contract is signed, not when the software is implemented in production. There is a negative return on investment until the system is implemented and being used. A delayed or extended implementation continues to eat into the return on investment.
  • These applications are typically highly configurable, they are not custom. The application is designed to work for the masses so in some cases functionality doesn’t work as desired. Fully understand your business needs and match them to the system functionality to ensure it will work for you before you purchase it.
  • The software is maintained by the vendor, however new functionality and changes to existing functionality are released on a scheduled basis. Some functionality is forced on all users whereas some functionality is made available through additional configuration. Make sure you have the resources who know your business and the technology being used.

 

Recommendations to Optimize Your SaaS

  • If you are negotiating a contract with a SaaS vendor, consult with an experienced implementer to confirm the reasonableness of implementing the modules being purchased. A high-level discussion of your requirements can help determine if a module will work for your firm. Also, be careful of biting off more than you can chew. Don’t purchase modules that you can’t implement in the near term as you don’t want to pay recurring license fees on software that won’t be used. An experienced implementer can guide you on the core functionality that needs to be implemented at first and what functionality can be implemented later. In most cases it’s best to work with the core functionality first to help you understand it better, before venturing into new features.
  • If you haven’t been maintaining the software version releases, develop a plan and assign the proper resources who know the business and the software. If you don’t have an internal resource who can be assigned to this, there are several vendors who offer this service. However, the best practice is to assign someone internal to your organization who knows your business.
  • If you haven’t reviewed the system functionality in 12 months, consider hiring a vendor to perform a gap analysis and/or operational assessment to review your current business needs compared to the current system functionality and best practices.

To learn more about FinServ Consulting’s services, please contact us at info@www.finservconsulting.com or (646) 603-3799.

About FinServ Consulting

FinServ Consulting is an independent experienced provider of business consulting, systems development, and integration services to alternative asset managers, global banks and their service providers. Founded in 2005, FinServ delivers customized world-class business and IT consulting services for the front, middle and back office, providing managers with optimal and first-class operating environments to support all investment styles and future asset growth. The FinServ team brings a wealth of experience from working with the largest and most complex asset management firms and global banks in the world.

Engage Your Workday HCM Users

When a customer implements Workday Human Capital Management it’s often an exciting event for the Human Resources team but can be an underwhelming experience for the firm.  For Workday Human Capital Management customers we’ve seen them struggle to increase user engagement. Implementing Workday is a significant investment so it can be frustrating if there isn’t a sense that it’s used firmwide. Customers that have Workday Financials or Payroll in addition to Workday HCM tend to have higher user engagement. It’s much more frequent that an employee will log into Workday to submit an expense than to update their home address. For those HCM customers that are looking for ways to increase user engagmement, FinServ has a few tricks that have worked for our clients:

 

  1. Explain the impact. Oftentimes the best way to get employees to complete the task you’re asking of them is to explain why you need them to do it. For instance, if you explain to an employee that they need to complete all their tax forms before they can be paid, you’ll likely have a much higher rate of success among your employees.

 

  1. Create a winner. A sure way to increase user engagement is to create an incentive for employees. For example, you can hold a raffle for those employees that enter information you’ve requested. Our clients have had success when asking employees to update their education or career history and entering employees into a raffle for completing their profile.

 

  1. Make the ask easy. Of course if you want your employees to use the system (and like it too) you’ll want to make sure their experience is painless. We suggest leveraging Workday functionality at every opportunity. For instance, if you want employees to update part of their profile, leverage the business process Distribute Document or Task. This will send the task, like updating your Education history, directly to the worker’s inbox so they can easily execute the task without having to navigate to their worker profile.

 

  1. Lastly, include ample instructions. There are many opportunities to include instructions and we encourage our clients to be very explicit. For instance, if you distribute a task, include a customized instructions on how to execute the task. For very detailed instructions, we include a link in our email notifications that brings an employee to a PDF with screenshots on how to complete the task. When creating the task in Workday you are also able to include instructions that will then appear in the worker’s inbox.

 

FinServ has helped many clients increase their user engagement and demonstrate the ROI for their Workday HCM platform. We also work with clients to plan their annual Workday initiatives, build new functionality, and maintain their system security. To learn more about FinServ Consulting’s services, please contact us at info@www.finservconsulting.com or (646) 603-3799.

About FinServ Consulting

FinServ Consulting is an independent experienced provider of business consulting, systems development, and integration services to alternative asset managers, global banks and their service providers. Founded in 2005, FinServ delivers customized world-class business and IT consulting services for the front, middle and back office, providing managers with optimal and first-class operating environments to support all investment styles and future asset growth. The FinServ team brings a wealth of experience from working with the largest and most complex asset management firms and global banks in the world.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting… a Workday Financials Implementation

Getting Started

After a long selection process, your company decided to go with Workday Financials. You have been sold on the “power of one” and are really looking forward to re-designing your financial processes and finally having a good answer for your auditors. The pre-sales teams have come in and have demonstrated solutions to your current problems. But now the realization sets in….This is going to be a lot of work!
Hopefully, your company has also spent time selecting the right integration partner and have augmented their staff with dedicated internal and external project individuals. A critical first step, is an internal one, spend time thinking about how you want the process to look or what reports you want to produce. This will allow your firm to answer important questions from Workday or the integration partner more effectively.

Workday Methodology

Workday has a formalized methodology and whether your integration partner is Workday themselves or a certified partner, you will find the process to be regimented. The first step in the process is called the Foundation Alignment Sessions (“FAS”). You will be given workbooks to populate which detail your current process. Workday, or the integration partner will ask questions to guide you on how you want this information to be stored in Workday. It is important to note, that a process review is not part of this process. Changes to future processes will be based on decisions made outside of alignment sessions. During the sessions, you may be asked questions to which you don’t know the answer. You may also answer questions having not fully understood the ramifications of the decision. That said, there is still time at this point to re-visit these decisions.

The FAS will cover everything from financial accounting, budgets, expenses, customers, suppliers, banking and any other process or “SKU” that was purchased from Workday. Every session will focus on a business process which is the approval flow associated with the transaction, as well as the key worktags that will need to be populated.
Upon completion of the FAS, the integration partner will conduct a walkthrough of the Workday environment in what is called customer confirmation sessions. This is a chance to fine tune the configuration and make additional decisions.

Testing

After these sessions, the configuration team will update the system and deliver a unit test tenant, at which time, you will be responsible for producing unit test scripts. Upon successful completion of the unit tests (and subsequent updates to the configuration), there will be user acceptance testing (which essentially strings together unit tests) and data conversion. These efforts can be time consuming and should not be underestimated.
A separate wortkstream is needed for managing interfaces (called integrations) and could be with banks or other third-party applications. Additionally, IT is typically involved in SSO and potentially user roles and security. Communication, training and hand holding can be expected.

Go-Live

Your original assessment that this will be a lot of work turned out to be true. However, what you can expect is a powerful platform capable of detailed and flexible analytics to support both your financial and management reporting requirements. Many processes that took you hours or days will be reduced to seconds or minutes. The user community will be capable of self service, which will free up your time to do more value-added activities. Most importantly, the information will be consistent, accurate and necessitate less time with auditors and regulators.FinServ Consulting has been providing technology and business solutions to financial services firms for over 15 years.

For more information on how we can help or guide your strategic direction, please contact us at info@finservconsulting.com or 646-603-3799.

 

About FinServ Consulting

FinServ Consulting is an independent experienced provider of business consulting, systems development, and integration services to alternative asset managers, global banks and their service providers. Founded in 2005, FinServ delivers customized world-class business and IT consulting services for the front, middle and back office, providing managers with optimal and first-class operating environments to support all investment styles and future asset growth. The FinServ team brings a wealth of experience from working with the largest and most complex asset management firms and global banks in the world.

How to Prepare for Workday’s Upcoming Semiannual Release

It’s a new year and Workday’s Semiannual Release is fast upon us. As always we recommend thoroughly reviewing the Announcing and Feature Consideration documentation and review the notes in the Release Center prior to the release date, March 9th, 2019. With new features available in Preview Tenants starting on February 2nd, your team can get a jump start on reviewing and testing the new release features to ensure there are no major impacts to your tenant. Here are a few tips that have served us well with past clients:

 

  1. Prioritize the features. The first action we recommend customers take is to review all the release features and prioritize which items are High or Low impact. It’s important to identify which updates may directly impact your tenant or indirectly impact other systems. Use the tools Workday provides, they offer a spreadsheet that categories each new release feature. It’s a quick and easy way to understand all the release features. In this semiannual release the Workday Inbox worklet is being retired and there  are new updates for Payroll integrations. We’d label the Workday Inbox worklet as Low Impact since the Inbox now is featured directly on the Home screen. For those clients with a third party payroll system, the Payroll integration updates could be a High Impact so it’s important to review the release notes and thoroughly test.

 

  1. Adjust your project plan. In a previous post we wrote about the importance of creating an annual Workday project plan. Once you’ve identified how the release will impact your tenant, make sure to adjust your project plan so that it accounts for the time you’ll spend testing the new features. Ideally, you factored the Release into your Workday project plan but make sure you adjust appropriately if other initiatives need to take a backseat while you prepare for the semiannual release.

 

  1. Enlist help. Enlist the help of your team and other users to make sure that you’ve adequately tested the functionality. It’s okay to have one person lead the Semiannual release preparation but we recommend spreading the testing among your Workday team and other employees at the firm. You’ll want to make sure you test every scenario and examine all the details, which is doable with the help of others.

 

  1. Communicate to your Super Users. If you’ve identified items that will impact your tenant or new features your team could leverage we recommend getting the word out as soon as possible. In past releases we’ve seen updates to functionality that seem minor, like modifying the way a phone number is entered into Workday, create a lot of noise for your other infrastructure teams.

 

FinServ has experience advising clients on Workday’s semiannual release, including assessing which features will impact the client’s tenant, recommending new features to adopt, and testing existing functionality and integrations. We also work with clients to plan their annual Workday initiatives, build new functionality, and maintain their system security.  To learn more about FinServ Consulting’s services, please contact us at info@www.finservconsulting.com or (646) 603-3799.

About FinServ Consulting

FinServ Consulting is an independent experienced provider of business consulting, systems development, and integration services to alternative asset managers, global banks and their service providers. Founded in 2005, FinServ delivers customized world-class business and IT consulting services for the front, middle and back office, providing managers with optimal and first-class operating environments to support all investment styles and future asset growth. The FinServ team brings a wealth of experience from working with the largest and most complex asset management firms and global banks in the world.

Creating Your Workday Project Plan for 2019

As we head into the new year, FinServ has been working with clients to develop Post Go-Live Workday project plans. To best prepare for 2019 your Workday team will need to develop a plan that includes additional functionality rollouts, annual system maintenance, and preparation for Workday’s system releases. FinServ has worked with clients to develop their post Workday Go-Live project plans, below are a few steps we recommend:

 

  1. Start with your laundry list. It’s best to first hold a brainstorming session with your team to write down every Workday initiative including new functionality, system enhancements, maintenance, and data improvements that your team wants to accomplish both in the short term and the long term. We recommend assigning each task with an estimated duration for how many collective hours it will take your team to complete each task.

 

  1. Identify which of these items require a business decision or further discovery. Oftentimes clients will put action items onto their plan that are unrealistic or end up not making sense for the business. For instance, if you want to leverage manager self-service, take the time to speak with your managers to make sure that they are interested in this functionality and have the bandwidth to train and test. Oftentimes an initiative like manager self-service  is put on the plan and it either gets pushed to be completed later on in the year or doesn’t happen at all because your team quickly discovers that the functionality won’t meet the manager’s requirements or the managers simply don’t have the time to dedicate to the initiative. Be selective as to which action items do make it onto the plan so that you set your team up for success. 

 

  1. Don’t underestimate system maintenance. Anyone familiar with Workday knows that Workday requires a fair amount of daily maintenance. If you’re a growing firm your team will likely spend a big chunk of their time creating new bespoke roles, security groups, or segmented security for new members of your team. For example, you may have a new HR member join your team and you’d like to give them Workday that excludes visibility to your HR team’s Compensation data. This type of request would require a new role and a lot of testing before you’d be able to assign the role to the new user. There are also the semiannual releases that your team will need to plan around. Each semiannual release comes with many new features that need to be tested to make sure they don’t impact your Workday environment or have any impact on other integrated systems.

 

  1. Get the business’s input. It’s important that this plan doesn’t just work for your Workday team but it works for your HR / Finance teams and the other department heads. Once you have a draft of your project plan sit down with other parts of the business to get their input. It is important that you have their support and oftentimes you may discover other use cases they may have for how their team can better leverage the system. 

 

  1. Review annually. As you near year-end it’s important that your team reviews the plan and determines how successful they were at executing against the plan. It’s also important to track how accurate the plan was compared to what was accomplish throughout the year, you may be surprised by how many unexpected tasks came up throughout the year (one of our clients created more than 20 new security roles).  Once you’ve reviewed the plan it’s time to start the process all over again for the new year! 

To learn more about FinServ Consulting’s services, please contact us at info@www.finservconsulting.com or (646) 603-3799.

About FinServ Consulting

FinServ Consulting is an independent experienced provider of business consulting, systems development, and integration services to alternative asset managers, global banks and their service providers. Founded in 2005, FinServ delivers customized world-class business and IT consulting services for the front, middle and back office, providing managers with optimal and first-class operating environments to support all investment styles and future asset growth. The FinServ team brings a wealth of experience from working with the largest and most complex asset management firms and global banks in the world.

Have a Workday Enhancement Request? Here’s How to Submit It

According to a 2018-2019 Sierra Cedar HR Systems Survey, 25% of respondents reported that Workday “always” meets their needs and 70% of respondents reported that Workday meets their needs “most of the time”. Those are lofty satisfaction numbers for sure and in the chart below, this reflects Workday’s inclusion in the upper echelon of Human Resource Management Systems (HRMS).

But what about when Workday does not quite meet your needs? Since Workday is a SaaS (Software as a Service) system, you are dependent on the functionality that is provided, and you could not customize the system even if you were so inclined to do so. Consider the following examples that we have seen with our clients where the existing functionality did not align with the business needs.

  • While creating Feedback templates for the Performance Management process, we discovered that you could not add Quantitative Scoring on the templates. The templates only allowed open text boxes that are typically used to support Qualitative feedback
  • Enabling the Team Time Off Calendar for Managers to view their team’s Time Off schedules generated unexpected results. In the Calendar, all Contingent Workers were shown as well even though they were not eligible for Time Off. Including the extraneous data cluttered the Calendar, particularly for the Managers with large teams and Contingent Workers. The existing configuration options do not provide any ability to remove Contingent Workers from the view
  • Delegating Managers’ Time Off Request capability to their Executive Assistants proved difficult as we could not perform a mass data upload. The mass data upload would have been performed via Enterprise Interface Builder (EIB) and unfortunately, an EIB to do this was not available, making the initial data load (and future data loads) more difficult than expected

Running into scenarios where functional changes are desired is not unexpected and Workday provides mechanisms to actively and passively solicit client feedback and requests. As such, let Workday know about any frustrations or enhancement requests and your voice will be heard. Workday offers several channels to submit and solicit requests that you should take advantage of.

Workday Community

  • Post or vote on Brainstorms (product enhancement ideas). Be detailed in your Brainstorm and provide the business case you are trying to solve. The more votes your (or any other) Brainstorm gets, the more traction it gets, and Workday will be more likely to meet the request
  • Subscribe to topics of interest so that you will be notified of any new posts relevant to the topic. You will be notified of the latest posts from fellow Workday customers and posts from Workday. Who knows – another customer may provide a work around for your issue or you may see a Workday request for specialty group participation such as:
    • Design Partner Group – actively influence the enhancement design and product road map
    • Early Adopter – become an early user/tester before the enhancement is officially released
    • Product Surveys – provide feedback on pain points on specific features such as Identifying Incorrect Accounting Transactions

Customer Success Manager (CSM)

  • Your CSM is there for you, use them. Let them know your pain points, the business case behind the idea and have them be your advocate
  • Express interest to your CSM about partnering with Workday for the enhancement. With enough traction for the enhancement and your known interest, you can be selected to be a part of the design process/Design Partner Group
  • Participation in the Design Partner Group is limited, so be sure to give your CSM plenty of reasons why you should be a part of the group
  • Express interest in becoming a Fast Follower where you will be one of the first to implement the enhancement after it is officially released

 

The Bottom Line

While Workday will meet most of your business requirements out of the box, there are pieces that are not quite there and often times you are not quite sure how to get Workday to listen to your request. FinServ has been through these situations before with our clients and we know how to work through the Workday support channels. We can help you craft a thorough enhancement request and actively manage/monitor the request. And while the request is being considered, we can help design and implement any work around that will support your business needs in the interim.

To learn more about FinServ Consulting’s services, please contact us at info@www.finservconsulting.com or (646) 603-3799.

About FinServ Consulting

FinServ Consulting is an independent experienced provider of business consulting, systems development, and integration services to alternative asset managers, global banks and their service providers. Founded in 2005, FinServ delivers customized world-class business and IT consulting services for the front, middle and back office, providing managers with optimal and first-class operating environments to support all investment styles and future asset growth. The FinServ team brings a wealth of experience from working with the largest and most complex asset management firms and global banks in the world.