How to Ensure a Successful Workday or SuccessFactors HCM Implementation

Written By: Eric Kimberling
Date: January 29, 2019

Implementing any sort of digital transformation technology has its challenges. In some ways though, successful Workday or SuccessFactors HCM implementations are even more challenging.

For one, Workday and SuccessFactors implementations typically affect more employees when compared to ERP or CRM implementations. Second, HR functions and processes aren’t the top priority or focus for most people outside the HR department. These two unique factors of HCM implementations result in unique challenges and opportunities.

It is for these reasons that you will want to follow some best practices during your HCM transformation. Here are a few things to consider when planning for a successful Workday or SuccessFactors HCM implementation:

Begin with a realistic Workday or SucceessFactors implementation plan and budget

One of the root causes of HCM transformation time and cost overruns are unrealistic expectations to begin with. It is important to ensure that your system integrator’s proposed plan and budget is realistic and accounts for the assumptions and realities of your organization. It is important to ensure that internal activities and realistic assumptions are baked into proposed implementation plans and budgets that you might receive. This among the CXO mandates for VPs of HR and other HCM team members.

Define your HR department’s future state organizational design and strategy

Companies implementing Workday or SuccessFactors are often going through broader transformations within their HR departments. Some are moving to consolidated shared service HR support functions, while others are redefining roles and responsibilities within their departments. The more you clearly define your organizational change management strategy prior to beginning the technology implementation, the more successful you will be.

Define your HR department’s future state business processes prior to beginning the technical components of your Workday or SuccessFactors implementation

As part of defining your HR organizational design, you will also want to define your desired future state business processes. For example, hire to retire, employee self-service, talent acquisition, compensation and performance management processes, and other key HR processes should all be defined prior to beginning your technology deployment.

This will ensure that you don’t “pave the cow paths” of using your old processes – just with new technology to automate less effective processes. It also ensures that you aren’t running the meter on expensive implementation consultants while you are trying to define how your processes will look in the future. This lack of effective business integration in digital transformations how so many HCM implementation teams get into trouble.

Develop a clear and comprehensive organizational change and employee adoption strategy

Since your Workday or SuccessFactors implementation will affect most employees in some way, it is important that you have a clear organizational change and employee adoption strategy for your HCM implementation. This includes customizing your Workday or SuccessFactors training materials for your organization, defining other communications and stakeholder assessment processes that will enable a smoother adoption at the end-user employee level.

Define how Workday or SuccessFactors integrates with the rest of your enterprise processes and technologies

In addition to being an effective HCM solution, Workday is also one of the top ERP systems with expanding functionality into financials and other enterprise processes outside of HR. Since SuccessFactors is owned by SAP, this software is often implemented as part of a broader SAP S/4HANA implementation. This underscores the importance of defining the touchpoints between HCM and other enterprise processes and technologies.

For example, how will time reporting, expense reporting, and purchasing feed into your financials? How will sales commissions or quotas tracked in your CRM system tie into the compensation management component of HCM? These and a multitude of other questions should be answered to define your overarching enterprise digital strategy.

Conclusion: preparation is the key to success

Many of our first instincts are to pick system, find a system integrator, and just start implementing. Since Workday and SuccessFactors HCM implementations affect so many within the organization – and since HR departments don’t typically implement new technology very often – it is key to be prepared with the above best practices to make your transformation more successful.

Feel free to contact me with questions or to brainstorm ideas related to your HCM implementation. I am happy to help!

Eric Kimberling
Eric is known globally as a thought leader in the ERP consulting space. He has helped hundreds of high-profile enterprises worldwide with their technology initiatives, including Nucor Steel, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Kodak, Coors, Boeing, and Duke Energy. He has helped manage ERP implementations and reengineer global supply chains across the world.
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