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Managing Change for a Workday Deployment

It’s an exciting time when a higher education institution decides to deploy Workday. A next-gen cloud ERP is transformational in and of itself, impacting how work gets done across the entire institution. Success with cloud ERP transformation depends on preparing the people leading and impacted by the change. However, getting everyone at the institution comfortable with change can be challenging. Here are some things to consider when readying your institution for a Workday project.

Stakeholder alignment

One of the first steps you should take with any major transformation project is to identify the executive sponsor and stakeholder leaders. Once identified and empowered with information on the project, these leaders form a coalition as internal champions to drive the transformation forward. A clear and concise vision of the future along with the strategy, purpose, and overall goals can help ensure alignment and better champions of the project. For transformation initiatives, stakeholder alignment and leadership is vital to helping everyone in the organization become comfortable and excited about change while understanding why it is happening and how it will impact their job and enable the company to be competitive.

Project governance

With a leadership coalition of stakeholders aligned with the overall vision and strategy, establishing a governance structure will keep the project running smoothly. Project governance is key to making sure that change initiatives, such as technologies are implemented in a way that is effective and sustainable. Aligning executives and the project team ensures insight into milestones, timely decisions, and that broader goals and objectives are achieved and meet expectations.

Change management

While governance ensures that the changes being made support long term goals, change management ensures changes are translated so everyone understands what’s happening, why the organization made the investment, and the benefits expected to be realized for both the organization and its employees. Change management and change leadership are critical for a next-Gen ERP project success.

Change management provides the strategy, approach, action, and monitoring of the end-user journey to successfully adopt the new ways of working. Change leadership is a team effort where all are aligned and engaged to create a shared vision, expectations, and goals for individuals impacted by the new change, aligning the institution with the new opportunities delivered through transformation.

Knowledge Transfer

Workday, as a next-Gen ERP, is transformative for every higher education institution, and complex projects take time. In the beginning, people start hearing that the technology they’ve used for years is being replaced. Some find that exciting and are thrilled to modernize. Others are less enthusiastic and comfortable with the legacy system and processes, not understanding the realm of what’s possible.

To bring people along with change it’s important to have a plan for how the change is educated throughout the organization, leveraging communications and training for end-users supporting and their journey and engagement. As you develop your plan, consider the length of the project, so that the communication and training occurs at the right time, in the right manner for end-users. The change plan should identify the optimal time for the initial announcement to the institution and follow with   communication milestones and key messages throughout the transformation, including support of training and after go-live to reinforce the change.

Another consideration for your plan is identifying key points of time to survey faculty and staff to make sure end-users are gaining the knowledge and understanding of the change. This is critical to identify knowledge or resistance gaps among the stakeholders regarding the change. Understanding end-user sentiment will inform adjustments to the timing and content of communications ensuring you plan is effective in delivering the knowledge needed for adoption of the new way of working.  

Well-led and managed change throughout a Workday deployment will contribute to a better transformation experience and institutional success. While change brings challenges, once complete, everyone will be more efficient and processes will run smoothly, making for a better work experience, and allowing greater focus on student success.