Data conversion is tough. It’s possible to set up all your integrations perfectly and have everything in your system configured just as it should be, but if you don’t have clean data conversion at your go-live, the success of your Workday implementation can come down to a coin toss.

Luckily, we have a Workday implementation consultant who’s not only passionate about data conversion but who’s also spent a solid decade of his career at Workday. Now, we’re putting that insider knowledge to good use by helping our clients succeed with Workday. 

We recently caught up with him to get his insights on one of the most challenging and often neglected parts of any Workday implementation: data conversion. During the first part of this series, we’ll cover what you need to consider regarding your data, and in our next article, we’ll share his best practices to ensure a successful data conversion. 

Let’s dive in!

Getting Started with Data Conversion in Workday

When you’re getting started with your Workday implementation, there are two questions you need to ask yourself:

  • How will you map legacy data to Workday?
  • What data are you planning to move to Workday?

There’s obviously a lot more to the process as a whole, but figuring out the answers to these two questions is critical if you want your implementation to be successful.

Mapping Legacy Data to Workday

First, let’s start with mapping your data. You’re likely going from a relational database system to a cloud-based system with Workday. This means that everything will go through a web service that must be transformed into a CSV (or Excel workbook) or the native XML that goes right into the web service. 

Doing this correctly can be a challenge for clients who don’t understand the difference between an object model and a relational database model. Typically, we find that clients like this end up extracting data from their legacy system without knowing what the key field values are in Workday. 

To mitigate this problem, we give our clients a file with all the key fields and lookup values to help facilitate the mapping. From there, it’s much simpler to pull that into your relational database and start mapping right at the source. 

Foundation Planning

With Foundation Planning, you need to know what exactly you’re planning to move to Workday. This process starts by holding a foundational workshop with all your stakeholders and experts. Why is this necessary? Well, let’s imagine that you’re moving everything to Workday (and that there’s a place for all that data to live in the new system). Once you’ve got addresses, phone numbers, and everyone’s personal data, you’re ready to go, right? Not so fast. 

This is when you need to have an object-by-object conversation about what needs to come over to the new system. For example, if you need to create a higher record for job profiles, that could open up bigger questions about what a job profile is in Workday. 

As you work through these examples and questions in the foundational workshop, you’ll see a beautiful structure come together piece by piece. But you can only start mapping from your legacy system to Workday by having a firm foundation to work from.

Creating a Tenant 

After we’ve had our foundational planning workshop, we’ve begun mapping legacy data to Workday, our next big step is creating a tenant. We’ll start with the basics like companies, cost centers, job profiles, and the information you need to hire someone. An initial tenant build needs about 14 objects. You’ll want to get those initial objects loaded into the system in the first few weeks of the project to provide a foundation for the functional teams to go into design sessions with actual customer data in Workday. 

Next, you’ll create a configure and prototype tenant. Now you’re going from around 14 objects to 80 or 100, depending on which particular ones make sense for your organization. If the initial tenant is the data you need to hire someone, the configure and prototype tenant involves adding their compensation, benefit elections, and more. 

Next Steps in Data Conversion with Workday Implementations

We’ve covered just some of the questions to ask and things to consider when getting started with data conversion in Workday, and we understand if it all feels a bit overwhelming. But there’s no need to worry, especially when you partner with experienced consultants. 

Our senior-level Workday consulting team can help you through each stage of your Workday integration, including the ever-critical data conversion steps. Contact us today to get started. 

(And don’t forget to stay tuned for the next article in this series, 5 Data Conversion Best Practices from a Workday Expert, to learn more about best practices for data conversion!)