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Why Workday?… is like baking a cake!

Who doesn’t love a rich, moist, freshly baked cake? And who doesn’t love a modern HR and Finance system that accelerates your organization into the future? Believe it or not the two require nearly exactly the same thing. In this first of a series of articles, we’ll explore how your road to a modern HR and Finance system is analogous to a number of common life experiences – campouts, baking, and more.

Let’s be clear about one thing – this is not a story of Pillsbury ready-made cake mix and canned frosting. Anyone can do that. Sure it tastes good at first, but half an hour later you’re regretting the decision (kind of like you regret your current system, right?).

No, this is a story of how to do it right. This is a tale about homemade, organic cake from scratch – one customized to your exacting standards. So how does this tasty treat come to fruition you ask? Well it all starts with PLANNING – what’s the occasion? Is this a wedding cake, a child’s birthday cake, or a casual dinner cake? These all demand different results, for example:

  • a wedding cake needs to be light and airy, calling for an elegant design – angel food with fondant


  • a birthday cake deserves to be rich and fudgy like a devil’s food or red velvet with buttercream frosting

  • and a weekend dinner with friends or family calls for something like a bundt cake

The point is this: the type of cake you want drives the tools you need for the job. In the same fashion, you need to plan your Workday deployment BEFORE you sign your contract with Workday and your implementation partner. The type of project you need should drive who you want to partner with and what resources you need.

Here’s what I mean:

  • if you’re a small organization with simple needs, you’re a probably a bundt cake and you need a Lifecycle Deployment Program (LDP) partner like Mercer or Meteorix (part of IBM)

  • if you’re a medium sized organization with a fair bit of complexity, you’re red velvet and you need an experienced and mature mid-tier partner like Collaborative Solutions or Appirio (now part of Wipro)

  • And if your organization is very large, global and highly complex, you need a partner with worldwide resources and strong change management capabilities like Accenture or Deloitte

OK so how do you go about creating this cake, especially if you’ve never done it before (let’s face it, not many firms out there are implementing Workday for the second time)? More appropriately, what if you’re so busy gearing up for the event that you can’t bake the cake yourself, then what? You HIRE A BAKER (project manager) that’s done this before. You outsource to an expert and let them design a solution. This baker (project manager) has made lots and lots of cakes (Workday implementations). S/he has specialized tools like measuring cups (scoping documents) and recipes (project plans) and spatulas (RAID logs) that make the process run like clockwork. Your baker (project manager) will work with you to elicit exactly what want in your cake (implementation) and source the ingredients (certified partners, other resources). All while making sure that the cake (project) will meet your requirements and get delivered for your deadline.

Now don’t get me wrong, your baker (project manager) doesn’t do it all. Your cake (project) will still require lots of input from your team and you’ll still be involved in mixing, baking, and evaluating the cake. Subject matter experts will still have to consult with the implementation partner to define the cake parameters – is it going to be round, square, single layer or 3-tiered? Is the compensation setup going to work this way or that way? Is the legacy data disparate or normalized in a data warehouse? You’ll have to approve the cake (configuration) design and determine who is going to taste test the sample cake (conduct end-to-end and user acceptance testing). But here’s the moral of the story – having a seasoned specialist guiding you through this process will help ensure sure that you don’t make bad decisions along the way and end up with a wedding bundt cake. After all, that doesn’t make much sense, does it?

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