Cloud Technology and Service Delivery Together Position the UW for Long-Term Growth

In 2014, the University of Washington (UW) embarked on a journey to transform the institution’s digital capabilities and human resources service model (including payroll and benefits management). To achieve its goals of improving data visibility and increasing efficiencies across the institution, the UW partnered with Huron to implement Workday’s Human Capital Management (HCM) solution.

The implementation of this platform also acted as a catalyst for the simultaneous development of a new shared services model, known at the UW as the Integrated Service Center (ISC), in which disparate components of the human resources function were centralized to help the institution provide better support for its faculty, staff and student workers.

The technology is only one part of the equation. ... The complexity of digital transformations, especially with such a large university, more often centers around getting the technology to work for the people of that particular institution. Our goal is to see our partner succeed, not just that we got the software live.

Removing Silos

Relying on a nearly 40-year-old legacy payroll system, the UW sought to improve its overall service delivery to all constituents. Huron acted as a deployment partner throughout the modernization initiative, providing functional, technical and change management guidance, as well as participating in design and testing for the Integrated Service Center.

While the transition was initiated prior to Huron’s involvement, project leadership understood the importance of resetting goals and expectations proactively across the team by stepping back and starting the collaboration from the top. Time was allotted to review the existing scope, which in turn informed the development of both the Workday technical design and the direction of the new service delivery model.

Once the blueprints were in place, Huron worked with the UW staff on delivering a holistic and integrated service model that pulled together the various components of HR — benefits and payroll — and housed them under one roof. This constituted an integrated approach to supporting a new cloud-based solution.

Technology and Process Adoption Important to Success

“The University of Washington is a very large institution with about 38,000 employees across three campuses,” says Annie Biebel, director at Huron. “Since all employees are paid through Workday, this technology and service delivery change impacts every user. It was, therefore, crucial to have a user-centric implementation process, with ongoing communication between academic and administrative units as we progressed through the transition and beyond.”

One of the key enablers of the UW’s success is the post-implementation support provided to ensure that administrators are familiar with the new technology. In addition to the development of user guides and how-to manuals, a dedicated team from Huron remained on-site to help users acclimate to the platform and perform their work. Successful enterprisewide technology adoption requires more than a stack of written directions; it demands high-quality support for the end users.

“The technology is only one part of the equation,” says Stephen Fulmer, director at Huron. “The complexity of digital transformations, especially with such a large university, more often centers around getting the technology to work for the people of that particular institution. Our goal is to see our partner succeed, not just that we got the software live.”

Building the Campus of Tomorrow, Today

With the UW live on the Workday HCM technology and executing human resources functions within its new service delivery model, they are well-positioned for the future.

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