X Factors for Phase X deployments

Date posted
27 August 2020
Reading time
12 Minutes
Aaron Drain

As the Workday market increases in scale, Kainos supports a growing number of clients who are extending their Workday footprint, following their initial deployment.

In the Workday Ecosystem, these projects are termed Phase X deployments, and range from anything such as Recruiting, Benefits and Expenses configurations to the larger scale projects such as a full roll-out of the Financials suite.

In Live environments, there are critical considerations that can make for a smooth and successful Phase X deployment or a challenging one. So, it's important to be proactive and to bear in mind some key considerations when planning for a 'Phase X' discovery.

Security Access to Sensitive Data!

Your organisation is live on Workday HCM or Financials. The project team needs to take a copy of your Production tenant.

The challenge is that there is real HR (and perhaps Payroll or Financials) data in the tenant, which the project team or testers should not have access to. This is an unnecessary risk that has seen countless hours wasted on complex mitigations.

We have seen many options being considered, such as scrambling data, limiting proxy rights and stripping down the security in the implementation environment.

Knowing all the options and their pros & cons can save time, allow you to choose the most suitable one, and then plan accordingly. After all, we understand that every organisation's tolerance level is also different.

Managing Changes during Phase X

Change happens it's a fact of life. Just look at the world around us right now and all of the implications it brings.

Changes in Production also mean having a moving target for your Phase X deployment. So, how do we manage the inevitable changes that alter the Production tenant?

Changes in the Production tenant

Imagine you're living in an apartment and new roommates are moving in. You have your furniture in the apartment, and they are going to bring their own. How can you be sure that your furniture and theirs will fit into the same apartment? Does it mean that theirs will shift yours or replace it entirely? The simple answer is everyone (and their furniture) can live in harmony with positive communication and coordination.

Communication is key. The project team for your Phase X deployment should have visibility to all major changes in the Production tenant so that they can configure their tenant and plan key project activities accordingly. For example, you could align the tenant refresh after key changes are applied in the Production tenant so that they would also be in the Implementation tenant (i.e. the prototype). Moreover, it allows the project team to understand the changes and prevents any potential conflict in the configurations. In other words, the project team should know whether their furniture could fit into the latest layout of the apartment.

I would highly recommend using a tracker it could be as simple as a spreadsheet to record all the changes in Production and review this tracker on a regular basis.

Changes in the Business

M&A activities and corporate re-structures are common events in business. These changes could have impacts on the project team, the project timelines, the overall solutions and the tenants (and the list goes on and on). More specifically:

  • How do these events affect the workloads of your project resources?
  • Would these events introduce new changes to your structural design and setup values in Workday?
  • Do they impact your project timeline?

To manage effectively, you can establish a working committee that would oversee these events and their impact on the Phase X deployment. Their responsibilities could include approving any changes to the timeline, resource plan and the design/changes in Workday.

Foundation Data Model alignment

Alignment of the FDM setup is critical. Adjustments are also inevitable. For example, Cost Centres and Companies need to be adjusted so that they are aligned to Payroll and Finance. These are some of the key questions that you should be asking:

  1. Do HR, Finance and all stakeholders understand and approve the changes?
  2. Have you considered all the touchpoints in Workday? For example, is Payroll aligned with Chart of Accounts?
  3. When should we apply these changes to your Production tenant to align with the project's tenant management strategy?
  4. Who and how do we apply the changes to Production?
  5. What are the impacts to the Reference IDs and condition rules?
  6. Can we align regression testing with the project's testing timing?

Answers to these questions are critical to the success of your deployment and the long-term sustainment of your Workday environment.

Phase X Regression Testing

It's important to perform regression testing and make sure new configurations, whether there could be any impact or not, do not affect existing solutions. If any changes or fixes are discovered during regression testing, it is important to identify the appropriate owners who would be migrating these changes in the next tenant build.

The project team mostly focuses solely on their deployment areas while the resources who are currently supporting your Workday environment focus on making the changes to the current setup. Track all these changes and make sure that there is clarity on who will apply the changes during subsequent tenant builds. The key is to make sure all required changes will eventually migrate to Production.

Cutover Planning

The cliche here is to plan early and ahead. For Phase X deployments, it's more accurate to say plan early with everyone's involvement (HR, Payroll, Finance, IT). For example, your Cutover Plan might involve 'black-out' periods in Production so that the project team can safely migrate configurations.

You should communicate early so that stakeholders can agree to the dates and plan accordingly. There are thousands of details in a Cutover Plan except for Phase X deployments affecting and impacting hundreds of stakeholders.

A very common question asked by my clients: have all the configurations been migrated to the Pre-Production/Production correctly? There are many approaches to mitigate the risk of configurations being missed during the migration. However, there is no better answer than running an automated testing tool with thousands of test scenarios to validate that a tenant is truly ready for production. Kainos SMART is a one-of-a-kind tool for this.

Shared Responsibilities during Phase X

You've probably noticed by now that stakeholders have been mentioned quite a bit in this blog. This is important because stakeholder management is tricky. For a typical organisation, HR, Finance and IT would most likely be connected at the top of the reporting hierarchy. Therefore, it is important to define roles and responsibilities during the project and for long-term sustainment. For example:

  • Who will be the Administrators in Workday?
  • Who are the Report Writers in Workday?

A Final Thought on Phase X

Aligning with the 'Power of One' is more important than ever to allow for ease of transition with Phase X deployments. These projects are rewarding when you bring HR and Finance together under one system. At Kainos, our goal is to deliver successful deployments for our customers through strong partnerships, flexible and tailored approaches and deep expertise. And, these are just the critical factors for successful Phase X deployments.

Want to learn more or talk to an expert about Phase X deployments? Get in touch via workdayinfo@kainos.com

About the author

Aaron Drain