Workday offers unmatched, secure and integrated HR and Financials Management Capabilities for Higher Ed
Updated July 14, 2016

Workday offers unmatched, secure and integrated HR and Financials Management Capabilities for Higher Ed

Linda Buckley | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Software Version


Modules Used

  • Financial Management
  • Human Capital Management
  • Integration Cloud

Overall Satisfaction with Workday Human Capital Management

Workday is used across Georgetown University for Human Capital Management, Payroll, Benefits, Time Tracking, Academic Appointments. It provides an auditable workflow, electronic onboarding, and paperless benefits/payroll election. It also provides secure document and data storage. Workday replaced a highly customized main frame product (Genesys) that required alot of outside-system paper approvals and processing which result in delays, lost documentation and a specialized IT staff for maintenance.
  • The Single User Version philosophy, while a challenge for change management due to the frequent upgrade cycle, allows for our unique higher education requirements to be incorporated rapidly. Because of this, Product support is responsive and timely.
  • Georgetown is a design partner and this close relationship allows us to provide feedback for constant product improvement. This design partner philosophy and willingness to take feedback and adapt has been a huge selling point for user acceptance at Georgetown.
  • Workday provides a very secure storage platform that experiences very infrequent outages. When outages occur they are typically resolved in under an hour.
  • Even for non-design partners, Workday provides options to join User Groups to preview planned functionality. Also Workday encourages users to create Brainstorms for new ideas that the community votes upon. The ability to provide feedback prior to releases is also key to change management and user acceptance. Workday has a good track record in terms of adopting customer brainstorms.
  • Workday maintains and facilitates a Community of Users to ensure self-sufficiency, sharing lessons learned and knowledge sharing.
  • Any ideas for improvement are considered by Workday and the company provides multiple avenues for feedback (see above). Any issues we have experienced in the past have been addressed or are in the process of being addressed.
  • One source of frustration is the lack of documentation; however, with the rapid rate of improvement that Workday has been able to sustain, documentation is a reasonable trade-off for their responsiveness.
  • Not an area for improvement, but a factor for consideration is that use of Workday does require some technical IT experience. A big selling point is that organizations don't need to keep teams of dbas and technical experts on hand to maintain the system, as with a Main-frame. But Workday does require some technical IT support. This is particularly true for integrations and reporting.
There is nothing comparable to Workday that provides integrated HCM, Benefits, Payroll, Grants Management, Time Tracking, Faculty Appointments, Financial Accounting, Endowment/Gift Accounting, Expense Reporting, Asset Management, Capital Project Management and flexible reporting in the cloud. There are plenty of HR and Financials solutions but very few that combine all of the functions we need for the enterprise without heavy customization.
As with anything, the choice of product is dependent upon the needs of the organization. However if an organization wants an easy-to-use, intuitive, configurable system that improves constantly and is focused more on the business user than the technologist, Workday is ideal. If an organization is change-averse and wants a more traditional platform that is customizable, and stable for long periods of time with lots of documentation, this may not be the best fit. The difference between Workday and a more traditional ERP can be thought of as the difference between an iphone and a central switchboard.

Workday HCM Feature Ratings

Employee demographic data
Employment history
Job profiles and administration
Workflow for transfers, promotions, pay raises, etc.
Organizational charting
Organization and location management
Compliance data (COBRA, OSHA, etc.)
Pay calculation
Support for external payroll vendors
Not Rated
Benefit plan administration
Direct deposit files
Salary revision and increment management
Reimbursement management
Approval workflow
Balance details
Annual carry-forward and encashment
View and generate pay and benefit information
Update personal information
View job history
View company policy documentation
Employee recognition
Not Rated
Tracking of all physical assets
Report builder
Pre-built reports
Ability to combine HR data with external data
Not Rated
Performance plans
Not Rated
Performance improvement plans
Not Rated
Review status tracking
Not Rated
Review reminders
Not Rated
Multiple review frequency
Not Rated
Create succession plans/pools
Not Rated
Candidate ranking
Not Rated
Candidate search
Not Rated
Candidate development
Not Rated
New hire portal
Manager tracking tools
Corporate goal setting
Not Rated
Individual goal setting
Not Rated
Line-of sight-visibility
Not Rated
Performance tracking
Not Rated
Job Requisition Management
Not Rated
Company Website Posting
Not Rated
Publish to Social Media
Not Rated
Job Search Site Posting
Not Rated
Duplicate Candidate Prevention
Not Rated
Applicant Tracking
Not Rated
Notifications and Alerts
Not Rated

Using Workday Human Capital Management

13000 - HR, Benefits, Payroll, Employees, Managers, Faculty Records/Provost, Student employment office (Graduate and undergraduate)
7 - Configuration Specialists who have a mix of skills to include Business Analysts (Payroll, Compensation, Benefits), Integrations Specialists, Report Writers, security management, Documentation/Communications. This team tests, manages new releases, works with commmunity to troubleshoot issues and provides help to user. This team also manages support cases and interactions with the Workday Community. There is also a team of 7 analysts who are dedicated to the financials implementation reporting to a Project Manager.
  • Payroll (Current)/Benefits Enrollment and Management (Current)
  • HR/Onboarding/ Timetracking (Current)
  • Academic Appointments (Current)
  • Financial Management/Accounting (July 2014)
  • Grants Management (July 2014)
  • Applicant Tracking
  • Performance Management
After some initial challenges with change management, Georgetown has been successfully using Workday for over two years. We will go live this year with Financials replacing our current highly customized Peoplesoft Financials system. We have high confidence in a successful financials implementation and have been very pleased with Workday's responsiveness and adaptability to the needs of higher education.

Workday HCM Implementation

I was not here at the time of implementation, but was involved in the stabilization post implementation and cleanup. Because Georgetown was the first higher education institution it was not the smoothest implementation however this is mitigated by several factors:
1. Relative immaturity in the higher ed space
2. Our own lack of expertise and experience with the system
3. Challenges in terms of Workday Resources. Because the community is small, there is a significant challenge in getting dedicated resources to support implementations
  • Vendor implemented
  • Implemented in-house
  • Professional services company
HCM, Benefits and Payroll were implemented by Workday and with Towers Watson as an implementation partner.

Time Tracking and Academic Appointments was implemented in-house.

Financials is being implemented by Workday along with CedarCrestone.
Yes - Phase I: HCM, Benefits, Payroll
Phase Ia: Time Tracking, Academic Appointments
Phase II: Financials
Change management was a major issue with the implementation - 
  • The number of users at Go-Live should be limited to as small a number as possible to allow for learning and refinement before opening to everyone.
  • Hands on training in the system is essential -- the error rates in transactions drop after a steady rate of about 50 transactions a month
  • A central source for information and communication is essential (website)
  • continual governance by stakeholder groups is essential for successful adoption of new functions/ major changes in the system, even after Go-Live
  • Early User testing and exposure critical to identify potential issues
  • Support should be geared primarily to those in the system who will be doing transactions, not employees/managers as self--these are fairly self explanatory or can be handled via video/online screen captures or FAQs
  • Training needs to be available continuously
  • We designed an overly complicated security structure which created issues after Go-Live and limited our ability to do meaningful reporting
  • When Georgetown went live we were the only Higher Ed institution on Workday so there were some issues with flexibility and configurability for higher ed business cases. This situation has markedly improved as more Universities go-live and the community learns more about Higher Education scenarios
  • When Georgetown went live there were not many in the Workday eco system who had expertise in Higher Education to assist in the implementation. Again this gap is rapidly closing as more universities adopt Workday.
  • As noted earlier, the relative lack of resources who know and can implement Workday is a challenge. Because many of the implementers are supporting multiple customers, it is difficult to keep their focus.

Workday HCM Training

  • Online training
  • In-person training
  • Self-taught
The instructors are knowledgeable, the ability to do hands-on exercise throughout are invaluable. The materials are useful reference after training is over. However, for basic functionality the system is pretty easy to pick up and there are plenty of free classes and tools so that only the system support and implementation team really need to take formal Workday training.
Very helpful. Broad range of topics available.
Yes but as noted earlier for the system administrators, they should go to formal training. This allows them to ask questions of the instructors about specific use cases for their organizations. Also you learn useful tips and tricks that are not easy to discover by learning on your own. Having said that, most of the basic functionality can, in fact, be learned without formal training and most of our users do not attend formal Workday-offered training.

Configuring Workday HCM

It is very configurable. It is not customizable, but it is very configurable. We are able to create validation rules and routing rules to cover most contingencies.

Workday HCM Support

Workday is still learning about the needs of higher education. I have seen rapid improvement in support and knowledge over the last year so am confident this will continue to improve. Overall however, I have found the Support Team to be extremely responsive and Workday offers the advantage of having support across several timezones so that we never wait more than a few hours for a response.
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
No escalation required
Immediate help available
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
No - Since we are currently still in an implementation mode, we have a dedicated Engagement Manager so do not require premium support right now. Overall the support we receive is timely and the availability of the Workday Community and Brainstorm function allows us to interact and learn from other users who may have similar problems.
Yes - Yes, bugs are fixed very quickly. As with all software it is often difficult for a customer to know if an issue is a bug, user error or some other issue. There are multiple avenues to report problems to help sort out if it is a bug or some other problem: customer support center, Workday Community, brainstorms and working with other customers. Once identified as a bug Workday has been very quick to resolve and update.
There are numerous examples but there is one notable experience: a bug was discovered in our timesheet functionality that was introduced as a result of other upgrades. This particular functionality was in the process of being deprecated and we were one of very few organizations still using it. We made the decision to take the system down, as we were in the midst of timesheet approval cut offs, when the issue was identified to allow for troubleshooting. The support team in Dublin called us within minutes of logging a high priority support case and had a fix in place for us to test within 6 hours which allowed us to make the decision to restore system operations in less than 24 hours. In addition Workday has opened proactive cases on our behalf when they have noticed issues that we haven't.

Using Workday HCM

Overall this is a highly useable product. It does require continual use to stay current on changes in the User Interface and functionality, but as noted earlier, this is a reasonable trade-off for the rapid rate of improvement. It is very user friendly and the templated business processes prevents the system from becoming overly complicated
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Quick to learn
Feel confident using
  • Employee self service is very easy--onboarding, benefits elections, payment elections
  • Business Processes are intuitively obvious and user friendly
  • Manager self service for approvals of time off, etc.
  • Custom reporting requires some technical expertise and training
  • Integrations also require technical expertise
  • Security and maintenance also requires technical expertise
Yes - For the features we have adopted so far the functionality is relatively limited (supports time tracking, time off) but the interface works pretty well.

Relationship with Workday

The community is small and the resources constraints creates some tension in terms of getting their attention to our implementation needs. While the Product Development is superb and responsive, Workday Professional services and the eco-system is still growing.
On balance Workday is quite responsive to our needs but, as noted earlier, the resource constraints are a challenge that should improve as the ecosystem continues to grow.
I can't respond to this as I was not here at the time of negotiation.
Patience and clear communication of expectations is key. Also you really need to have dedicated staff who can spend time in the Community researching and experimenting with the system.

Upgrading Workday HCM

Yes - Because it is a single user version, we undergo upgrades to new versions twice a year (previously three times a year). The releases go relatively smoothly, you receive a test tenant and there are usually "coffee breaks," communications and updates via the community. For any big major changes to the User Interface, there are always hiccups as people get used to it, but Workday offers plenty of forums for preview/comment.
  • The new U/I is more user friendly.
  • There were significant improvements made to reporting.
  • This latest version provides significantly more functionality in the financials space for Higher Ed: endowments and grants
  • Retroactive cost allocations
  • Composite reporting
  • Non billing milestones for grants