Workday is one of the most powerful human capital management (HCM) and financial management solutions on the market. But despite its popularity and ease of use, it can be a little tricky for some organizations to implement.

Our consultants have decades of Workday experience and have seen companies struggle with a lot of the same issues during the implementation period. Those delays can start chipping away at your return on investment, costing a lot of extra time and money. To help avoid these issues and keep your project on track, we decided to share some of the seven most common Workday implementation challenges our experts have seen (and how to overcome them). 

Let’s get started!

Workday Implementation Challenges

1. Finding the Right Workday Implementation Partner

Even before starting a Workday implementation, many organizations hit their first road bump when trying to find the right Workday partner. There are many choices out there, so you need to look for the right fit for your organization’s needs. Whatever consulting firm you choose should have strong functional and technical Workday experience, as well as skills in the human resources (HR) and financial management space.

 When on the hunt for your implementation partner, you should keep an eye out for these desirable traits: 

  • A strong reputation of successful implementations for companies of varying sizes where they’ve carried out all aspects from planning to testing to post-go-live support.
  • Up to date on Workday’s latest products and updates.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of change management strategies.
  • Impeccable project and time management skills.
  • Ongoing support resources for approximately 12-18 months after the implementation goes live.

2. Poor Documentation

Workday is a highly customizable tool—which is a huge benefit for organizations. However, the more customizations you add to a system, the more complexities there are. Without proper documentation, your organization will eventually run into frustrating snags, making it a struggle to effectively use the tool. That’s why documentation is such a critical element of the implementation process.

We suggest documenting a standard operating procedure that explains exactly how your company will use Workday and each use case. One way to prevent a roadblock in this area is to hire a consultant to manage the documentation and ensure it stays up to date as Workday releases major updates.

This person will also be responsible for distributing the documentation and making sure it’s accessible to the relevant stakeholders. Far too many times, we’ve seen individuals save documentation on their personal hard drives, only for them to eventually leave the company and…poof! The documentation goes with them. Documentation should be hosted on your company’s intranet or a central location for easy access.

3. Data Migration

Data migration is the most common hurdle for organizations during implementation. Everyone’s familiar with the old data adage of “Garbage in, garbage out,” but matching your existing data format with that of Workday can be a daunting task. If done incorrectly, you could end up with incorrect data, duplicate data, and long-term issues uploading data in certain formats. An experienced consultant can provide best practices for data migration to ensure data “goes in” the right way the first time.

4. Budget and Time Considerations

Everyone wants to deliver an implementation project as fast as possible in the most cost-effective way. But in many cases, the organization hasn’t considered its budget and an accurate timeline for the implementation before getting started.

The first step in avoiding this problem is proper planning. A dedicated project manager can scope out the project and develop a realistic budget and timeline for your organization. (Note that this step also includes budgeting and planning for the resources needed to get the job done.) Bringing in a third-party PM to help with this allows you to take advantage of their expertise, helping to keep overly optimistic (or pessimistic) estimates in check.

5. The Testing Phase

Many companies wait until the end of the implementation project to test it, which runs a high risk of delaying everything. For example, if you run quality checks right before go-live and find an issue, it will take longer to fix if you have to make changes to the entire system, rather than if you’d discovered the issue earlier on in the process and only had to make a few changes. 

We suggest testing throughout the implementation. Trust us—it’ll save a lot of headaches down the line.

6. Updates During Implementation

It can take up to 4-6 months for large companies to implement Workday. On top of that base amount of time, you also need to factor in several major annual updates. (Remember, the implementation of Workday is just the beginning.) Depending on when you begin your implementation and how long it takes, you may find yourself in a situation where you need to make one of these updates during or just after go-live, which can make for an even more complicated situation.

The solution goes back to documentation. When updates are expected and documented, it makes for much smoother sailing than trying to navigate through stormy seas. 

7. Communication

A Workday implementation involves a lot of different teams. Organizations tend to focus on looping in leadership, which is a great start, but drop the ball by not including mid-level managers and users. (Not to mention HR, and finance, and IT, and service partners, and consultants…) Any gap in communication between these teams over the course of your project can lead to failure. Involving all stakeholders at each stage of the implementation will help to ensure the project meets the expectations and goals of everyone involved. 

Partner With the Workday Implementation Experts

These challenges might make a Workday implementation sound overwhelming, but you can mitigate these issues and any other roadblocks that may arise with careful planning and a knowledgeable guide who knows the terrain. Our senior-level Workday consulting team can help you develop a strategy that works for you and then assist you at each stage so that your project goes smoothly. 

Get in touch with us today and get started implementing Workday.