Workday Review

Flexible solution with many valuable features like Business Processes, Human Capital Management, and Financial Management


What is our primary use case?

I am a consultant. I configure and consult with clients who ask me about solutions, how to use products, how to help them to implement the solutions, how to improve the deployment and performance, and how to give them the solutions they need. Workday is one of the better solutions we can provide.

How has it helped my organization?

Workday gives us another option for providing solutions to our clients that they need for managing and improving their business practices.

What is most valuable?

The feature I think that is the most attractive is the security. But there are other features that are valuable as well, such as the BP (Business Processes) — like the social security business processes — the HCM (Human Capital Management) modeling component, Absence (for monitoring time and attendance), Payroll (for payroll processing), Financial Management (core financial management) and the Benefits module (self service employee benefits management). All of those take care of essential business needs.

What needs improvement?

In essence, I think that all areas of the product have the potential to improve even if they are good already. At the same time, from one release to the next, Workday makes the effort to improve the product. The company has two updates per year. The product is always getting better with each release. If there was anything specific that I thought of that I would improve, it would be the Benefits domain and the advanced computations.

What clients seem to respond to as being in need of attention and want to see developed for the program is apparent in the community cooperation. Workday uses the community to brainstorm and collect feedback and drive innovation. To work with brainstorming, you go to the community and you create a brainstorm (propose an idea and enhancement), and then people in the community vote on it. You get votes and rankings based on response to your ideas. I think Workday is quite proud of the large percentage (40% or so) of what comes out in their releases comes from brainstorms and client feedback. There are tons of things that people propose and say they want in the product in upcoming releases. Workday does this for the customers and suggestions do get put into the product. I've never heard of something like this being done with any other product.

There are other enhancements that go untended that have been languishing for years. I am interested in one feature now and the development just is not spending the time to fix it. They are good but they are not perfect. You can see that they are trying to meet client needs. Using that as an example, you can only put a certain task in certain BPs. Additional data can only be an action item in a few business processes like Hire, Change Job, etcetera. The idea is that users would like the option for the additional data to be available in other areas.

Another example is the default field in Questionnaires. People have asked that the field not be required as a default. Little things like this you can workaround, but it's the little things that are kind of nice. On the other hand, little things get less attention in brainstorming so they get less attention in development.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using the solution for five-and-a half-years

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I would say that it is a very stable product. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I think it is extremely scalable if you have the money for it. You can have 5 employees using it or you can have 300,000 employees on it all using Workday globally. Scalability isn't a problem.

How are customer service and technical support?

The customer service is pretty responsive and there is also a pretty good community. The Workday community is a closed user community guided by Workday but mostly comprised of user contributions. There are Workday contributions, questions, guides, administrative discussions, support — all that sort of thing. Users really invest time to help each other and it is a great support system. No other product has something quite like that. The Workday technical customer support system is in addition to and above-and-beyond that. It really provides a broader opportunity to learn and contribute.

How was the initial setup?

The installation is complex. There are two reasons for this. One is that you need a Workday partner to implement the setup for you. In order to be a partner, you have to have an organization or group of consultants who are trained by Workday to implement the product and support it. It is a closed environment and Workday keeps everything pretty much in check. It is complex in the fact that you have to have somebody — either Workday or a Workday partner — implement it for you.

The deployment will usually anywhere from three months to 12 months or more. It depends on the number of users or the number of modules and how complex the expectations are for the implementation. All the different flavors of how complicated an organization wants the implementation to be — all that becomes a factor in the length of the deployment.

The number of people required for maintenance on Workday varies around the same sort of desire for complexity. You usually have at least one person in-house to watch the implementation and you will have a contract with somebody to supply you with support. That might be a partner contracted for 800 hours a year or whatever the specific terms might be. Then you "lose it as you use it" or you have an ongoing maintenance contract with somebody.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Licensing costs are tiered. When you add different modules, it adds to your cost. For example, you can pay for Payroll functionality or you pay for the Benefits module. The more pieces you add, the more you pay.

I can't say what a particular company may value or see as a true return on investment. I would say that it is expensive — it is the most expensive one out there. In my opinion, you would get a clear return on investment. Different businesses would account for that in different ways.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Our clients like to look at some of the bigger names like PeopleSoft, Ceridian's Dayforce, and maybe a few other major competing products. Workday beats them all. In my opinion, they are leaps and bounds above the competition. Part of the reason is that it is built with modern technology. It has no legacy coding in it at all.

What other advice do I have?

I've been in the HR/Payroll product domain for about 25 years, so I've been involved in the development of Ceridian's applications and other companies as well. I know a lot about other products and competitors.

Workday is a bit different, but I love it. You get used to it. It is like back-in-the-day when HR and the payroll system used to be the determining factor in whether you got to have a company laptop or not.

One piece of advice to anyone considering this as a solution is to implement it properly. Spend the time and do it right the first time. Don't rush the requirements, don't skip steps just to get to a stage of deployment. Do your requirements properly. Consider everything beforehand. Don't leave things till later that you should do now. It will be worth the extra time that you invest. That is really true for everyone and every implementation, but especially for Workday. Trying to go back in after the fact and change things is just really complicated and it is a real pain. Skipping steps to get it implemented is a big thing that we notice that clients do.

We have often had to go back and fix something that a client overlooked or looked past. There's always something changing, there's always something that wasn't done correctly. There's always some tweaking afterward. The more tweaking you avoid by doing it right, the less you pay to get it fixed.

After releases, 99 percent of the time it is great and it will not introduce issues. In my experience, it is really rare for issues to crop up or that those issues are so extreme that a client will have to roll an upgrade back. I find that the releases are really well-tested and well-managed. They have two releases a year and in those two releases, they are usually pretty good at getting new features out there.

On a scale from one to ten with one being the worst and ten being the best, I would rate Workday as an 8. Having had 25 years of being involved in the development of other Ceridian products, the development of some other products and having to work with PeopleSoft as a customer, Workday is right there with the best of them.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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