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Planning and learning for life

How did the implementation of a business planning solution support Algonquin College’s mission to transform hopes and dreams into life-long success? Learn more about the digital journey that Deloitte undertook with this Ontario, Canada-based college that helped transform its budgeting, planning and forecasting processes.

Based in Ontario, Canada, Algonquin College is a publicly funded college, with annual enrolment of 50,000+ student and campora in three locations. In recent years, the finance and administrative team faced the question, “how can we improve the experiences of our learners and our employees?” They found that a big part of the answer required migrating several core systems to the cloud. Part of this journey included seeking to build upon the lessons learnt from former Workday deployments to transform the school’s budgeting, planning and forecasting capabilities. To enable this transformation, Algonquin selected Deloitte to help them to implement their chosen planning platform, Workday Adaptive Planning.

The challenge

The finance and administrative team at the school had been using an antiquated, home-grown budgeting solution that was nearly 30 years old. This legacy solution had become difficult to support and maintain and it was no longer capable of informing decisions in support of the school’s mission. The team sought to develop and deploy a transparent, standardised budgeting solution across the entire organisation. As the team explored different solutions, Workday Adaptive Planning emerged as the clear front-runner.

The main objective of the project was to modernise Algonquin College’s budgeting, planning and forecasting processes by deploying Workday Adaptive Planning and integrating it with Workday Financials, Workday HCM and the legacy student information system for enrolment data.

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The transformation

The college’s finance and administrative leaders sought a service provider who had extensive process knowledge, experience in the education sector and most importantly, a strong local presence. They wanted an implementation partner who could staff a local subject matter expert (SME) on site for the duration of the project. Deloitte quickly stood out as the candidate who had the requisite experience and who was both willing and able to make this commitment.

Contributing its experience, methodologies and on-site leadership, Deloitte was chosen to help the college transform its budgeting, planning and forecasting processes. Algonquin College’s finance and administrative leaders pointed to having a full-time Deloitte consultant working on site alongside dedicated Algonquin College employees as a primary success factor. The manager with Deloitte, Canada who served as the project manager and solution architect, quickly became an integral part of the on-site team. Known for his creative problem-solving, his exceptional value contribution became even more apparent when he was unexpectantly called away.

The results

Within a time-frame of six months, the project team rolled out the fully integrated Workday Adaptive Planning solution to 250+ users. As a result of the implementation, Algonquin College is well on its way toward:

  • Transitioning from annual budgeting to detailed monthly budgeting, which enables the finance and administrative team to analyse monthly variances against actuals.
  • Improving speed, transparency and overall quality of financial reporting, budgeting and planning and management decision-making.
  • Performing three-year strategic enrolment planning, which will enable administrators to forecast domestic and international student enrolment for various schools and programmes.
  • Refining their programme-investment strategies by helping different schools to identify and analyse high- and low-demand programmes.

In addition to these achievements, the College is also recognising that there are many benefits to having its data and applications in the cloud, since each step in the digital transformation journey enhances the return on investment from the overall platform.

Being a global winner of the Adaptive Global Systems Integrator of the year award and having achieved premier accredited services partner and solutions partner status with Workday Adaptive Planning, Deloitte has delivered value through the commitment to working side-by-side with Algonquin College’s staff. Today, Algonquin College stands as a pioneer in the digital transformation space, since the project marked the first successful implementation of Workday Adaptive Planning leveraging native Workday integration capabilities in the Canadian higher education sector.

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