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Top tips for getting the most out of Workday feature releases

Here are some top tips that can help both the functional business owners and IT admins and leaders avoid the most common pitfalls of Workday feature releases.

When you move to Workday, one of the biggest benefits is that you get to take advantage of more and more functionality with each semi-annual feature release. However, in order to get the most out of these updates, it takes a bit of preparation by your IT, HR and finance teams. Let Alight show you how to hit the ground running.

1. Capacity

Every spring and fall, Workday Release Features are delivered, allowing you the opportunity to take advantage of many new features and functionality. It’s a good idea to develop a project plan, establish timelines and start securing additional resources that may be needed to support the feature releases. This is essential if the updates occur during business critical periods such as annual enrollment, performance or merit cycles. Don’t get caught underestimating the time to review release notes, properly test, execute a change management and communication program and overall project management and coordination.

It can take a lot of preparation, we know. So at the very least, focus your new release testing on:

  • Running and reviewing output from critical integrations
  • Validating existing system data
  • Testing critical business processes and critical custom reports

It’s also a good idea to conduct a payroll run (if you’re using Workday Payroll) to make sure you’re getting the expected results.

 

2. Functional and IT engagement

Make sure your subject matter experts (SMEs) are actively involved in the release management team. Trust us, they’re important to the overall success. They’re responsible for thoroughly reviewing mandatory features (within their areas of expertise) to identify potential impact. Their participation in regression testing is a good way to avoid downstream impacts too. 

 

3. Get the right information you need

You have access to a great resource, the Workday Release Center, which covers all release-related communications and materials. We understand reviewing this information and then determining the impacts to your specific business is a lot to tackle in a small window of time. We encourage you to identify resources and have them available the week the ‘What’s New Release’ notes are released.

 

4. Have baseline test scenarios in place

Save time and reduce your risk by identifying baseline test scenarios for each feature release, rather than step-by-step test scripts. This allows you to reuse the test plans and cases and helps ensure crucial scenarios are functioning correctly. It’s a good idea to use test plans from past implementations or major Workday initiatives to identify critical or common scenarios to include in new-feature release testing.

 

5. Communicating change is key

All of your end users need to know what’s happening. Keep them posted with clear messaging and provide training as needed. While some changes will have minimal impact upfront, others might need to be addressed once in production to help avoid confusion. This will help make the release a welcome change for all.

 

6. Mandatories first, optional features later

Walk before you run. Wait a few weeks after the release has been in production before implementing optional features. This way, you can really gather intelligence to focus on exactly what is needed to improve the functionality of daily activities for your end users and business.

 

Now, go with the workflow

With preparation and planning, rolling out feature releases can be simpler and the Cloud can be a much brighter place. With your organization enjoying the latest features, you can be confident you are making the most of your SaaS investment.

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