A Growing Company at Risk

Prior to this global transportation/logistics company’s Workday implementation, revenues increased from $500 million to $800 million in a ten-year window. Amid their expansion, a key part of the business fell by the wayside. Significant gaps in data governance and master data management posed the greatest risk to their long-term IT (Information Technology) transformation project.

Discovering Data Governance Gaps

The first priority of their IT project timeline was to decommission their CODA (Unit4) system, the organization’s decades-old financial data storage platform. They elected the Workday Launch approach for this migration, which greatly condenses the project length compared to the traditional Workday framework. Their legacy CODA system did not scale with the rest of the organization; missing functionality and limited data validation in the legacy software led to workarounds and band-aid fixes.  The IT department consisted of only 2 employees – virtually the same staffing since the company’s inception – and there were no roles in the organization to ensure data governance. Further complicating matters, a corporate culture that promoted independence and creative problem solving led to unique and undocumented workarounds throughout the data landscape. The organization needed quick and accurate guidance in order to adhere to the tight Workday Launch timeline.

Instilling a Data Mindset

Recognizing their inability to provide clean extracts for their Workday test loads, the organization contacted Premier International for help on their in-flight implementation. Company leadership necessitated that Premier quickly generate data in the right format for Workday. CODA’s largely free-form column table structure led to several challenges: establishing how the legacy data was used in addition to determining the mappings necessary to move their existing data into Workday. Premier encouraged the organization to first understand their existing data landscape, which would then allow them to make more informed strategic decisions about how Workday will be configured and ultimately used. After much collaboration through extensive mapping sessions, the organization understood their own data better than ever before. Now the hard work could begin.

Undoing Years of Lax Data Governance

The supplier master conversion posed the greatest risk to the project, as the CODA legacy system did not have the functionality to set up separate remit-to supplier sites for a single top-level supplier. For years and years, the organization re-entered the same supplier master records whenever a new address was encountered (oftentimes the same address with a minor adjustment). It was even possible to have conflicting information like contact information, payment terms, and freight terms across these duplicate supplier records. Workday would not be able to support this structure; thus, consolidation of these supplier records was required. Premier built data conversion programs in Applaud® to dynamically merge legacy supplier records. Premier leveraged its repository of Workday Critical-to-Quality (CTQ) checks, amassed from prior successful Workday Financials implementations, to identify data inconsistencies and shortcomings that would inhibit records from loading to Workday. These pre-validation checks were instrumental in ensuring data integrity in Workday while also allowing the client time for cleanup.

Correcting Problem Data

Supplier Contracts were also a source of great risk to the project timeline. These contracts were managed in a separate SaaS (Software as a Service) system as well as in several manual spreadsheets. The different sources of Supplier Contracts were largely unchecked and not in sync.  Premier’s data profiling and analysis reports revealed where start and end dates mismatched the terms of the lease contract, which greatly plagued their initial load to Workday.  The client was able to clean up their legacy data with the help of Premier’s reports; subsequent loads had substantially fewer errors, which positioned them for success leading up to the Gold Build (Production).

Going Live

In just 7 months’ time, Premier spearheaded data conversion for 3 test cycles which amounted in a successful Workday Financials go-live.  The aggressive timeline and quick turnaround were possible because of Premier’s lengthy experience managing data risk and our ability to accelerate projects with our proprietary Applaud® software. Shortly after the go-live onto Workday Financials, the organization acquired another logistics company. Because of careful data migration, the IT infrastructure of this organization is positioned for their strategic goals and continued growth.