Workday moved to a single codeline in early 2014 and hasn’t looked back. There are enhancements and improvements pushed out weekly, while the most significant changes come in larger updates twice a year. In fact, this continuous development and the current Workday release schedule benefits Workday customers in many ways. The twice-a-year feature releases are something that both clients and Workday Partners look forward to, seeing the culmination of collaborative work come to fruition in tangible form. This means release management activities have becomes an essential part of the biannual update.
Why Workday Release Management is Important
Release management activities are important for a number of reasons, not the least of which is functional availability. Every Workday customer wants to make sure his or her Workday applications continue running smoothly. Keeping the lights on and making sure that employees don’t feel a bump or experience downtime is essential and perfectly doable.
On the other end of the spectrum, release management offers opportunity for optimizing Workday. Innovation is a reachable goal when technologies enable actionable insight. Each Workday release comes with some really cool features. For those that are optional, you can decide to turn them on when they become available, or later when it better suits your organization’s business and HR, Payroll or Financial Management objectives. But the evaluation of those features has to take place, and not be postponed.
The Challenges of Workday Release Management
For those of you who may have recently implemented your Workday application or who may be implementing a new HCM, Financial Management and Payroll solution, the Workday release schedule occurs twice a year on the second week in March and September preceded by a five-week preview window. It requires release note review, feature uptake decisions, reporting and testing all ports and security. There’s time, resources, research and a lot of action items involved. For some, the challenge is manpower, for some it’s time, while for others still it’s not knowing where to start.
So that you’re equipped and ready for Workday 29, and beyond, here are four things to do before every Workday release.
1. Be Prepared for Workday Releases
What’s the scout motto? Be prepared. Know the update schedule and start as soon as the preview is available. Don’t let the five-week testing period sneak up on you. That downtime we mentioned before can come at a completely inconvenient we-were-in-the-middle-of-running-payroll moment if due diligence hasn’t been done. It’s totally avoidable with prior planning and preparation.
2. Know the Condition of Your Workday Tenant
Before an update is out for testing, know the current state of your tenant. What are your configurations? Do you have any audit alerts that are causing issues? It’s a lot like having broken check engine light on your car dashboard. The light is on, you’ve checked for codes, you know it’s good, but the light insists on staying lit. It’s important to know so that when you run reporting for the new release, you don’t have to panic. You’ll know the check engine light was already on.
3. Leverage Workday Community
Workday Community is your Golden Ticket into Willy Wonka’s factory. Use the Prep Center for in depth information about feature releases, including what's going to be affected, advice on what's to test and list of reports that should be run. Whether you plan to manage the work yourself or look for support from a certified Workday AMS provider, start here. This is the standard.
4. Assess Whether or Not You Need Additional Workday Support
And that leads us to the last tip in the list – know your limits. A good Workday partner offering Workday Application Management services will work hand-in-hand with your team to deliver release management solutions. Even short-term Workday support can take a lot of pressure off and help move you to a better place in your release management plans.