New project timeline for Workday Student confirmed

Discovery Phase: Apr 2020 – Aug 2021

This month, WashU’s Board of Trustees approved funds to extend discovery work for the Student Sunrise project through next summer. The university’s Chancellor and Provost also approved the project leadership’s recommendation to extend the Workday Student system implementation timeline from four years to five, culminating with a go-live period of academic year 2024–25.

“The need for extensive planning and assessment prior to starting the Workday Student implementation has grown increasingly evident as we’ve talked with our peers and learned from our own Workday HR and Finance implementation,” said Erin Culbreth, executive director for the Student Sunrise project. “By extending time for discovery efforts, we will have the runway that we need to position the Student project for success”

Assessing Our Current State

During summer 2020, the Student Sunrise team worked with Huron Consulting Group to assess the current state of WashU’s academic support environment. Through conversations with university subject matter experts, Huron developed 29 recommendations as to how WashU can enhance its academic support experience for students, faculty and staff, as well as mitigate risks associated with the implementation of Workday Student. Of these, the Student project team identified 13 critical recommendations that will be addressed through the Workday Student project. The provost will review the remaining items to determine which ones the university will pursue and help incorporate them into schools’ and units’ strategic plans.

The Student project team will continue its current state analysis work and begin executing Huron’s recommendations during this extended Discovery Phase. The team will work with subject matter experts to develop unified processes and policies for areas that impact the Workday implementation or create inequities in the student experience, including registration processes, refund policies and due dates for tuition and fees. They also will explore options to consolidate the number of academic calendars and admissions tools used across the university in order to reduce the complexity of the Workday implementation.

In addition, the team will use this time to complete technical work such as cleaning up legacy data and determining which data will be moved into Workday. They also will identify which university systems will integrate with Workday and determine how to enhance Workday’s functionality for course planning, degree auditing and advising.

New Project Timeline Approved

University leadership approved the Student Sunrise project’s recommendation to extend the Workday Student system implementation timeline from four years to five. This new timeline includes the current year of discovery (2020-21), three years of implementation (2021-24) and one year of go-live (2024-25). Workday Student go-live will look different from HR and Finance as new functionality will be released on a rolling basis throughout the 2024-25 academic year. The first academic year in which we will operate entirely within Workday is 2025-26.

“This timeline extension, which was recommended by both Workday and Huron, does not represent a delay,” added Culbreth, “but rather a different scope and pacing of work. The additional year allows us to focus on addressing Huron’s recommendations and hiring key resources during the Discovery Phase, in addition to providing more flexibility during implementation. It also provides more time for Workday’s Student product to mature and further enhance its functionality. By extending our timeline, we are reducing the risks inherent with these types of implementations and setting the stage for success.”