While university leaders continue to make progress with MyDay, the multiyear program to modernize how Washington University in St. Louis collects, manages, analyzes and reports the data needed to operate the institution, the go-live date for the university’s new Workday human resources (HR) and finance system has been delayed.
Last fall, when the program completed its first draft of the new Workday HR and finance system, Jan. 31, 2020, was set as the deadline to review key project milestones and determine if both the university and the system would be ready to go live July 1. After careful review, program leaders decided the system needed to be more fully developed and tested to meet the university’s quality standards.
Extending the project timeline will require approval from the Board of Trustees. The MyDay team is recalibrating the project plan and expects to recommend a one-year delay. The program will take this new timeline recommendation to the board this summer, with an official announcement afterward.
“Much of the implementation has been proceeding well,” explained Henry S. Webber, executive vice chancellor, chief administrative officer and executive sponsor for the MyDay program. “Some aspects of the system, however, are not yet working as we had hoped. We would rather delay and get it right than go live with a system that isn’t ready. And now with the shift to remote work and other impacts due to COVID-19, the extra time becomes even more necessary for both the program team and university as a whole.”
The two biggest factors causing the delay have been data accuracy and integrations. When the university’s HR and finance data were initially converted from the old systems to the new one, the accuracy of that conversion was significantly below what was anticipated. Additionally, more time is needed to ensure that Workday properly integrates with other systems both within and outside the university.
“We started this project because we needed to improve how the university manages its operational data,” Webber said. “Accurate data and effective sharing of data between systems are fundamental to achieving that goal.”
Work progresses despite COVID-19
Despite remote operations, work continues to progress. The training team continues to move forward with developing training plans and related resources, which will be made available to the university in early 2021. The development of the university’s new data warehouse, which includes Cognos e-training offerings, also continues.
The next draft of the system will be ready in early June, which will allow the HR and finance project team to begin a new round of testing. The team will continue to need academic and administrative units’ participation at various points throughout the implementation. Due to COVID-19, many departments may not be able to fully participate in these activities. In response, the team is regularly assessing outreach plans to determine where they can shift or modify work without significantly compromising progress.
“The work has been demanding and will remain so,” Webber said. “While we still need to stay the course, delaying will allow us to create a system that reflects the hard work that everyone is putting into it.”
New Workday educational resources available
The MyDay team has added new information to its website to help staff and faculty become more familiar with HR and Finance concepts in Workday. The site includes an updated resource section, which includes a range of video demonstrations and an expanded Frequently Asked Questions page.
For those interested in staying informed about the MyDay program generally, and the Workday HR and finance implementation specifically, sign up for the monthly MyDay Matters newsletter and review past articles.