If you’re using Workday, you’re going to need integrations. Whether you’re connecting it to retirement, payroll, benefit providers, or something else, it’s critical that your core enterprise resource planning (ERP) system engages with all your various internal and external systems, data sources, and business processes.
For customers new to Workday, integrations come into play at the beginning of their implementation when they’re planning and designing their solution. For current Workday customers, integration solutions may need to be enhanced or newly created after adding a new vendor or tool.
In any case, customers have a variety of choices to choose from when developing a Workday integration platform. In this article, we’ll explain some of the options and weigh the pros and cons of each. Let’s get started.
What is Workday Integration?
Workday Integration Cloud is a complete, cloud-based solution for building, managing, and deploying integrations to and from Workday. It’s really just that simple. Workday’s Integration Cloud system is a total Integration Platform as a Service, eliminating the need for on-premises or cloud integration middleware support.
Simplifying integrations even further, Workday offers a variety of connectors and toolkits of differing levels of complexity based on your organization’s needs. Not much of a coder? No problem. Don’t need someone holding your hand? Workday still has you covered.
Here’s what they provide:
Enterprise Interface Builder
Enterprise Interface Builder (EIB) is on the simpler end of the spectrum, allowing users to manage complex integrations more seamlessly. It allows users to create integrations without needing to write a single piece of code. However, you do have the option to use a custom transformation should there be a need to handle more complex logic.
EIB uses a graphical interface that guides users through a step-by-step process of sending data to external applications. It can empower both IT and non-technical users to build and deploy many types of integrations in different functional areas.
- Designed for non-technical users—no programming required
- Used within the Workday application interface
- Export data out of Workday once or on a scheduled cadence
- Perform and maintain bulk files and tasks
For those integration projects where experts need to get deep into the system’s inner workings with a more complex custom integration, or where a prebuilt connector just doesn’t exist, there’s Workday Studio.
These integrations are deployed to, and run on, the Workday cloud infrastructure. Workday Studio includes a functionally rich graphical integration design environment where users can drag and drop a variety of components to build their integrations. From there, integration specialists can drag and drop reusable components to handle more sophisticated integrations.
Workday Studio Highlights:
- Designed for technical users who need highly customizable integrations to and from Workday apps
- Functionally rich graphical development environment
- Efficient process of large data sets up to tens of gigabytes
- Advanced message processing capabilities
- Customizable with Spring, Java, or other third-party services
Workday Integration Cloud Connect
Another core component of the platform is Workday Integration Cloud Connect, a portfolio of pre-built integration packages that connect external applications to Workday. Connectors are developed with Workday’s partners to provide a fully supported connection to their applications, including Salesforce, Kronos, American Express, ADP, and many more. They’re also fully hosted and managed on Workday, so you don’t have to worry about maintaining separate integration infrastructure. Even better, Workday tests these integrations with every new release, so you have the confidence that nothing should break down further along the road.
If you come across a situation where a prebuilt integration is not available, Workday has you covered with connector toolkits. These configurable connectors help you speed up the creation of a custom integration to suit your specific needs. Connector toolkits even come with processing, logic, and error-handling required on the Workday side, which means your developer will only need to write the logic necessary from the third-party system.
Workday Integration Cloud Connect Highlights:
- No additional integration strategies that require you to manage on premises or in the cloud
- Access to a library of pre-built integrations
- Reduced time needed to build custom integrations by using pre-built tools designed for Workday
- Ability for non-technical users to create integrations with technical support
When it comes to managing your Workday integrations, it’s all done within a single Workday intuitive UI. From there, you can launch and schedule integrations, view past integrations, schedule email notifications, and develop security controls.
Benefits of Workday Integration Tools
Any solution that handles financial records, payroll information, benefits, and human resources documentation needs to be proof against purposeful security breaches and accidental data loss. Thanks to its nature as a cloud-based application, Workday Integration security is kept up-to-date (without downtime). Plus, Workday uses a single security model to keep an eye on processes, data, and devices, ensuring nothing gets overlooked and your organization is able to balance high security standards.
We mentioned above that one of Workday’s strengths is how easily accessible its applications are on mobile devices, and that fact applies to integrations as well. Workday integrations make it easy for users to keep an eye on their dashboards no matter where they are, what web services they have access to, or what device they use to log on.
While a data scientist can be useful to have on the team to interpret your company’s data, a platform that can make info digestible for most everyone is even more useful. (That’s where Workday’s integration tools shine.) By presenting real-time information and agile updates in a clean, easy-to-understand way, Workday allows your team to make the most of your integrations.
Companies sometimes become a victim of their own success, growing so large (or so quickly) that the systems they set up in the past prove too constraining in the future. That’s why Workday’s cloud-based nature, in addition to its easily adjustable dashboards, is so valuable. The solution gives organizations the flexibility to more easily adjust their integrations as their needs change over time.
Common Workday Integration Challenges
Integrating Workday into your current IT environment can require a major investment in time, resources, and money.
One trend we’ve seen in the integration space is businesses using point-to-point solutions to connect and synchronize data between Workday and other systems, services, data sources, and APIs. Point-to-point connections are perfect until you need to make changes…which require an experienced developer…which can slow down the process and leave connections vulnerable to breakage. Lack of reliability and scalability make point-to-point integrations a less-than-ideal solution for this sort of project
Let’s dive a little deeper into two of the most common integration issues.
Not Enough Time for Testing
One bad practice we’ve seen customers repeatedly adopt is not planning enough time for testing. You’ll pay for this shortcut when the integration goes live in production, and all those mistakes start causing downstream issues with other integrations. We suggest putting in the hard work at the beginning. Plan for testing all the scenarios that could come into play so you can update the logic and integration to handle those scenarios. This will save you a tremendous amount of time, effort, and headaches.
Not Including Subject Matter Experts
Our Workday consultants have helped many clients plan and implement Workday integrations, and another common (and significant) challenge they’ve seen is not having all the industry experts involved in the project from the start.
The subject matter experts within the company are the individuals most knowledgeable about the current process, which makes them vital when it comes to developing the requirements to test the integration and manage their team’s Workday Integration training plan. Without these people involved in the project, you’re only going to wind up with a weaker product, leading to extra time, money, and other workforce resources down the drain.
Benefits of Third-party Workday Consultants
If your organization requires new integrations, getting them set up will take a lot of time and resources. Try to put this on your current staff, and they’ll be working overtime to manage their full-time job and the new project, which is a quick way to get burnout, frustration, and potentially increased turnover. Bringing in a third-party consultant, however, allows you to effectively manage your staff’s workload, keeping them engaged in the process without spreading your resources too thin.
Quality consultants have years of experience working with a wide variety of clients, which means they bring insights from different companies and industries when they work on your project. Seeing how other businesses do things means they can offer suggestions on best practices that are proven to work, common mistakes you should avoid, and out-of-the-box solutions to problems you might be too close to see.
Time and Money Savings
An experienced consultant can save organizations a lot of time. (And we all know time is money.) If you come across a problem during your project, it’s likely a consultant has seen something similar and can fix it fairly easily. In contrast, your staff could spend hours researching what the problem even is before they can tackle the issue.
Tips and Tricks from Workday Experts
As difficult as it may seem to get Workday integrations up and running, it doesn’t have to turn into a nightmare. Here are a few of our favorite tips to share with clients before they get started.
Get the Team on the Same Page at the Get-go
The timeframe of the project needs to be right for everyone involved. So set those expectations early and communicate them thoroughly and regularly throughout the integration. This will lead to a more collaborative team effort and higher chances of success.
Conduct Training at the Right Time
We’ve seen clients start training too early in the project, which may seem like a good idea, but the problem with that strategy is that it’s a bit like taking a language in high school. Unless you’re using it all the time, what you’ve learned isn’t going to stick. While training is key, it needs to be fresh. Workday offers a lot of great training, but an advantage of third-party consultants is that can offer personalized training that best suits the unique needs of your company.
Workday Integration—The Bottom Line
You have many choices when developing your enterprise cloud applications, including your Workday integration framework. Choosing the right one is important for long-term success and maximizing your Workday investment. We believe that Workday’s packaged integrations and their range of options for any scenario provide fewer risks and greater rewards.
How Can We Help?
Managing integrations can be tricky, but working with a third-party Workday expert like our senior-level Workday consulting team can help. We offer a range of integration services to help support you and your team. We’ve included a sample profile of one of our top-notch Workday Integration consultants to help you know what to expect when partnering with us.
Surety Senior Workday Integration Consultant
- 5+ years of Workday experience
- Certified with Workday integrations, Core Connector, and EIBs
- Very familiar with HCM and Benefits integrations
- Experience in the healthcare industry
- Designed and built Cloud Connectors, Enterprise Interface Builders (EIBs), Studio integrations, and Core Connectors integration templates
Interested in learning more about how Workday Integration Tools can help you? Want to learn more about how Workday Integration partners could help you? Ready to get started on your next Workday project? Contact us today to get connected with one of our Workday certified consultants!