A Guide to Effective Workday Business Process Administration

Workday business processes (BPs) are a set of configurable tasks performed within an automated workflow to complete a desired objective. The Workday business process framework provides a flexible solution to tailor Workday BPs and design the flow of business transactions to fit the unique needs of any organization. The Workday business processes used vary based on which applications – Workday Financials, Workday Human Capital Management (HCM) or Workday Supply Chain Management (SCM) – are utilized by the organization and can include key business activities such as hiring or terminating an employee, creating a journal entry, recording a new business asset or sourcing materials and supplies.

Due to the significant impact Workday business process configuration can have, it is critical that organizations are thoughtful in how Workday BPs are managed and maintained. The most mature organizations have clearly defined roles and responsibilities which outline who can make changes to business processes, which business processes they can make changes to and what control procedures are in place for business process changes.

Outlined below is an overview of the different governance methodologies that organizations should leverage to manage their Workday business processes. While nuances exist between organizations, the key features of each methodology described below are consistent and have proven to be successful in real-world environments.

Centralized business process administration

Centralized business process administration means that one group or function is responsible for administering, building, configuring and maintaining Workday business processes. We often see this responsibility residing within IT organizations, but this can also exist within technical human resources or financial groups if the organization is utilizing only Workday HCM or Workday Financials.

Key benefits:

  • Aligns with Workday’s delivered security model and security group design (re: business process administrator)
  • Simplifies IT change management controls and procedures
  • Requires fewer technical resources with deep Workday knowledge when compared to other models

Key challenges:

  • Technical resources may lack contextual business knowledge required for process design
  • Changes require clearly defined business requirements
  • Pace at which non-critical changes can be implemented may be slower when compared to other models
  • Centralized administration can become a potential single point of failure impacting several functions and thus it is important to establish primary and secondary support personnel

Items to consider:

  • How many in the organization have technical knowledge and contextual business knowledge to administer business processes effectively?
  • How are requirements gathered, vetted, documented and approved when changes to business processes are required?
  • What service level agreements are required to minimize operational disruptions?

Decentralized business process administration

Decentralized business process administration means that multiple groups or functions are responsible for administering, building, configuring and maintaining Workday business processes within their own functional area. We often see this in larger organizations who have embedded business and/or systems analysts who support business operations. This model is typically selected when there is a very clear delineation between departmental and functional responsibilities. Additionally, this model has proven effective within highly dynamic environments whose business processes require more regular maintenance.

Key benefits:

  • Increases the speed with which organizations can react to changes in business requirements and/or the business environment
  • Allows users with deep institutional knowledge to own business processes they manage or interact with daily
  • Reduces friction when introducing changes into the environment
  • Enhanced access controls, as powerful access is split among several user groups

Key challenges:

  • Resources may lack technical knowledge required to effectively administer business processes
  • IT change management procedures become more difficult to monitor and enforce
  • Requires the development of custom segment-based security groups
  • Limits visibility into changes which may have cross functional impacts

Items to consider:

  • What is the velocity of changes to organizational business processes?
  • Do resources have the technical skillset to adequately support changes to Workday business processes?
  • What change control procedures and mechanisms should be implemented?

Critical vs. non-critical business process administration

Another approach often leveraged effectively by organizations is dividing administration responsibilities based on criticality of business processes. How an organization defines what a critical business process is can vary by organization and industry. However, we typically see organizations make the distinction based on potential financial impact of the business process or regulatory compliance requirements. This model combines the two models described above, such that critical business processes are managed centrally, and non-critical business processes are decentralized and managed by functional or departmental subject matter experts.

Key benefits:

  • Allows organizations optimal flexibility and control as compared to other approaches
  • Supports compliance and/or risk management initiatives
  • Enables least-privileged access principles for sensitive data
  • Minimizes administrative burden by distributing responsibilities

Key challenges:

  • Business process criticality may evolve over time and criticality ratings can be difficult to build consensus on
  • Increases security administration burden due to custom security groups and periodic changes to criticality ratings
  • Requires mature governance and oversight processes to ensure design aligns with business needs and requirements

Items to consider:

  • What requirements should drive the definition of critical vs. non-critical business processes?
  • Which groups are responsible for determining and continuously evaluating criticality ratings?
  • Does this model provide enough flexibility and control to warrant additional administrative (i.e., governance, security administration) costs?

Sound business process administration is critical to maximizing an organization’s investment in Workday. By leveraging the appropriate business process administration methodology, organizations can lower administrative costs, increase efficiency of back-office operations and enhance their ability to support business operations.

To learn more about our Workday consulting capabilities, contact us.

Michael De Tello

Enterprise Application Solutions

Christie Kuo

Technology Consulting

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