Case studies

Lessons learned in operational efficiencies in higher education

An Ivy League University combines technology and change management to alleviate administrative burdens and turn attention back toward the University’s mission.

In the business of education

From being the first planned college campus in America to teaching the first modern science course, this Ivy League University's mission to break new ground in higher education is evident in its rich history. This commitment to retain a top position extends beyond academics and into administration. The Associate Vice President of HR Operations believes that administrative efficiencies can actually improve the academic enterprise on a wider scale. She elaborates, "If we operate more efficiently with less administrative overhead, that gives us the competitive edge and brings more dollars back toward the academic mission."

The opportunity to implement organization-wide change presented itself with the retiring of the University's 15-year-old administrative software that had been used to manage HR, payroll, and finance operations. The University's processes relied on paper forms to track everything from compensation to job changes to onboarding. The University team ultimately opted for a Workday implementation, utilizing a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform with both human capital management (HCM) and financial capabilities.

The teachers become the students

They then chose Deloitte as their Workday implementation advisor, due to the firm's track record of effective implementations for other higher education clients. Together, the teams developed a phased, multi-year roadmap to implement Workday HCM and Financials. An area of focus for the combined University-Deloitte team was on the University's business processes around faculty and staff management, with the stated objective to streamline, simplify, and automate manual tasks. Perhaps more importantly, the team placed a strong emphasis on change management. The University's Chief Information Officer (CIO), underscores that focus, "Improving business operations isn't entirely based on technology, but also on the processes and policies that are in place."

capitol hills pillars

Lessons learned in operational efficiencies

The true test: Day one

The initial rollout occurred in 2015 for Workday HCM and focused on the delivery of human resource, academic, and payroll modules. The new system gave users more control, offering self-service and 24/7 access via desktop or mobile devices. Employees can easily update their personal information, view pay slips, or even adjust their benefits. Administrative staff finally had full visibility into the system, which provided them with a clear understanding of where approvals were within the process. Previously manual tasks like hiring, salary adjustments, and terminations were digitized, reducing, and more often than not, eliminating the need for paper forms.

In 2017, the second phase of implementation occurred with the launch of Workday Financials, which brought the University's purchasing, financial and expense reporting, effort certification, and grant processing activities into a single platform. Having a common framework for all financial transactions further increases the University's operational efficiency and with access to information and reporting capabilities, it enables better decision-making across the entire academic enterprise.

exuberant students

Leading the way

As new functionality becomes available with Workday HCM and Financials, the University plans to embrace an environment of continuous change, constantly optimizing and improving business processes to yield effective results. Their ability to impact the University's operations can now be added to the long list of firsts, helping to maintain its position as a leader in the educational landscape and forging a path that the other institutions will likely follow.

students working
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