MyDay update: building a foundation for success

University moves forward with plans to replace aging administrative systems

Washington University in St. Louis leaders are making progress on a multiyear effort to modernize how the university collects, manages, analyzes and reports the large amounts of data used to operate.

The program announced in March, called MyDay, will replace the university’s aging human resources, finance and student administrative systems with a single integrated system called Workday. MyDay also will introduce new technology and standardized approaches for critical areas, such as data governance and security, to help improve data-driven decision-making across the university.

“MyDay will help us develop more modern ways of managing and using data needed not just to operate, but to advance the university,” said Henry S. Webber, executive vice chancellor and chief administrative officer and lead sponsor for MyDay. “While the program has a number of goals, the heart of this effort is to make it easier for our leadership, staff and faculty to make strategic decisions and evolve WashU into a more data-driven institution.”

Since the executive committee of the Board of Trustees approved the effort in March, the MyDay team has been building the foundation to ensure that the new finance and HR systems will be in place in July 2020. The new student system will be implemented in the program’s second phase.

Below are some highlights of work that has occurred during the past few months.

Organizing the team; getting to know Workday

Since March, 70 people have joined the MyDay program team in a variety of roles, including project managers, business analysts, communications specialists and functional leads. Before joining MyDay full-time, the functional leads worked within university business units, such as payroll, budgets and recruiting. With expertise in these specific functions, they are well-positioned to help facilitate aspects of the Workday implementation that impact these areas.

The university also has engaged Collaborative Solutions, a Workday-certified implementation consultancy that has implemented Workday HR and finance systems for more than 500 organizations, including many higher education clients such as the University of Chicago, Brown University and the University of Southern California.

Engaging the university community

“Replacing these systems is an extremely challenging and complicated effort, and the changes will impact everyone at the university in some way,” Webber said. “Consequently, one of the program’s top priorities has been to engage members of the community to provide guidance, insight and feedback.”

To date, the MyDay team has worked with university community members in two primary ways: advisory groups and working groups.

Advisory groups were established to provide additional subject matter expertise as well as to provide input on major process or policy changes. The groups also will help the MyDay team assess the impact of various changes on the university’s schools, departments and units.

Working groups were created to ensure business units and departments are represented in the MyDay program. Members of the working groups are familiar with existing business processes, help the MyDay team understand finance and HR systems requirements and needs, and contribute to designing the new system.  Working group members also will play key roles in testing the system once it is designed.

Members of advisory groups and working groups represent the Medical and Danforth schools and the central units.

What is happening now

Earlier this fall, with the help of Collaborative Solutions, the program team and working group members began learning more about Workday, its capabilities and how they compare to those of the university’s current systems. These “discovery sessions” will help Collaborative Solutions make recommendations for setting up the new Workday system.

“Our business team spends a great deal of time navigating through numerous systems to answer questions that I believe MyDay will simplify greatly,” said Lisa DeBerry, director of business operations in the School of Medicine’s Department of Radiation Oncology and member of the recruitment, noncapital projects, and budget working groups. “As a working group participant, I now hear feedback from so many across the university. I appreciate even more that we all face many of the same issues and challenges with our current system limitations.”

Through March, the program’s functional leads, working group members and partners at Collaborative Solutions will determine the initial design of the new system and associated processes. During these sessions, the team will look at the various impacts of the new functionality, including who will be impacted by the changes and how they will be impacted. When the design sessions are complete, the project team, working group members and others will participate in a confirmation session, which will help refine and finalize the initial design. View a full Workday implementation timeline.

More than Workday

Not all of the MyDay program’s efforts are focused on Workday. One team is assessing what systems will need to integrate  with Workday in some way.  Another team is focused on understanding the various reporting needs of schools, departments and central units. In addition, a team has developed a high-level plan to develop a data warehouse, which will be a universitywide central repository of data from multiple sources to support reporting and analysis throughout the university. Work also is underway to design a support model to ensure that the university community can take advantage of the new system, tools and resources after the program is live.

Staying informed

Information discussed in the design sessions is being shared with advisory group members during their regular meetings, as well as at the regular staff meetings of some of the university’s larger central units who will see the most impact from the changes.

While program updates will be shared periodically in the Record, faculty and staff who want more frequent updates are encouraged to sign up for the MyDay Matters e-newsletter. In addition, notes and materials from all Workday working group sessions are posted on the website.

Finally, a broader community engagement event is planned for spring 2019. More information will be available to share then about the new systems’ features and functionality, as well as updates on other initiatives undertaken by the MyDay program.

The community is encouraged to ask questions and provide feedback using this form. Team representatives also are available to make presentations at departmental meetings.

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