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Don’t Assume You “Got This”: Why Proactively Planning for Supporting Workday is Key to Driving Continuous Value

When implementing a cloud-based ERP platform like Workday, some companies are surprised to discover that “go-live is day one.” Far from being the end of the journey, it is when the real work begins to, stabilise, optimise and maintain the system and to take advantage of Workday’s twice-yearly Update as well as other opportunities to enhance the system.

Accordingly, proactively planning for how the organisation is going to support the application post go-live is essential for reaping the intended benefits and realising ongoing value from the investment. Indeed, 29% of businesses cite lack of technical skills as the barrier to technology adoption and value and 50% of businesses point to maintenance and ongoing support after launch as a key barrier to technology scaling initiatives. 1 To surmount these barriers, many companies would be well-served to consider three Type of support models as part of their planning process:

  • Staff augmentation - In this model, a third-party provider supplies a resource or two to help the organisation build out its support team capabilities and capacity. This model supplies hands-on help quickly. 
  • Co-sourced - Here, a third-party provider is engaged to work together with the client to collaboratively support the Workday system. For instance, a provider may contribute integration support while the organisation handles functional support or vice versa. Or, they may take a joint approach to supporting both functional and technical areas. Other Type of co-sourcing arrangements may supply management discipline and thought leadership to the engagement, such as helping the organisation to think through releases and other annual processes. Regardless of the configuration, co-sourcing is a team effort. 
  • Application Management Systems (AMS): In this model, support is outsourced fully to a third-party through a long-term arrangement. The organisation will not assist in supporting the application and it does not desire to build support capabilities internally.

Organisations often make their support-model decisions based on faulty assumptions, which can leave them ill-equipped to maintain and improve their systems after go-live. As part of its Operate services, Deloitte offers all three of these support models, each of which has its advantages depending on the circumstances.  

It is not uncommon for organisations to incorrectly assume that cloud-based applications are easier to support and therefore require fewer people and skills than on-premise applications. Others believe they are well-positioned to support Workday internally, but they discover after go-live that they don’t have sufficient Capabilities or capacity to do so. Still others assume they can simply retrain their on-premise IT staff to support a cloud application, though that is not always the case. Often, internal staff members can’t get up to speed fast enough because they’re not able to break free of their day-to-day jobs during the implementation. For instance, they can’t focus enough time during build and testing phases because they’re still responsible for running the old system until the new one is deployed. Consequently, they don’t get the full context of why certain decisions were made and they’re constrained in understanding the new system and the skills required to maintain it.

To help companies avoid these assumptions and to make their support-model decisions based on facts, Deloitte conducts sustainment labs as part of its application management Services Offerings for Workday. Drawing upon the knowledge of our HCM, financial management and supply chain management practitioners, these labs comprise a series of guided discussions that help companies assess their readiness to support their Workday applications from both a functional and technical perspective. These discussions often cover questions such as:

  • Does your organisation have the right people, processes and governance in place to maintain the system after go-live? 
  • What roles are required and how many employees are needed to support Workday?
  • Are the individuals on your current support team interested in learning how to maintain the new application? If so, have they got the time and the capacity for reskilling?
  • What kind of ticketing or case management tools have you got?
  • Have you got access to offshore resources to help manage costs? 

Closing the Gaps

In our experience, even the most mature technology organisations have gaps in their support capabilities that are not readily apparent. Identifying these gaps and closing them prior to go-live is essential for keeping your Workday platform running smoothly, securely, reliably and cost-effectively. While there is a stabilisation period post-go live, often requiring additional capacity for a 3-6 month duration, advanced planning - with the help of an experienced application management services provider possessing both functional and technical knowledge - can mean the difference between being derailed by costly technical and adoption challenges and driving continuous value from your Workday investment from day one

End notes :

1Nitin Mittal, Irfan Saif and Beena Ammanath, State of AI in the enterprise, 5th edition, October 2022, p. 8, , accessed 2 May 2023