Workday product releases take place twice a year, in March and September, and product updates continue to be delivered to customer tenants weekly. From reviewing information on Workday Community, to timeline considerations and putting it all together, there is a lot to know before the next Workday release.
Workday 2020 Release 1 is scheduled to take place the first Saturday in March 2020. The product release is an opportunity for Workday to deliver significant enhancements to current features and functionality. We know you want to keep your system current, leverage best practices, and optimize Workday – so if this is your first time experiencing the product release or you need a refresher, our expert navigators are here to guide you every step of the way.
Give yourself enough time to prepare.
Workday provides a five-to-six-week preparation window for each product release. To ensure everything goes smoothly, we recommend giving yourself a little more time and allowing for six-to-eight-weeks preparation, leaving room for pre-release planning.
Establish your release team.
Your release team should include a Workday update manager, subject matter experts, business analysts, and other IT representatives.
The Workday update manager is responsible for guiding the organization through the product release and should understand the configuration options and choices your organization has made, as well as underlying cross-application concepts like the business process framework, reporting, tenant setup, and security. Subject matter experts can analyze the new features for adoption and be key participants in execution testing, while the IT representatives can help to identify impact areas across regression and feature uptake, as well as participate in execution of testing.
Depending on the size and structure of your organization you may include other members as needed. Establishing your release team should be part of pre-release planning your project plan.
Use Workday’s sample project plan and customize it to fit your organization’s needs.
Workday provides a sample project plan in the Product Release Guidebook under “Plan for the Feature Release” on Workday Community. We recommend working off of this plan to customize or create your own to fit your organization’s specific needs. Your project plan should include tasks in the following categories:
- Pre-product release activities
- Communication and change management activities
- Post-product release activities
Workday also provides a helpful Product Release Checklist in the Feature Release Guidebook, which contains recommended reports and audits to run before, during, and after the delivery of a new feature release.
Run the “What’s New in Workday” report.
In any of your tenants (provided you have the right security) search for the “What’s New in Workday” report in the search bar. You can select the functional areas where you would like to see updates, but during a release you’ll want to select all of the areas you have deployed.
Next, narrow the results by selecting the current release from the “Workday Releases” box and then click “OK” to run the report. You can export the results to Excel and make notes on the various actions you want to take on each of the items. Running the report is simple, but if you need a reminder on how to run the “What’s New” report, the steps are available via the “Release” or “Release Preparation Center” on Workday Community.
A couple key tips on things to look for on this report:
- Review the preview date, tentative production date, and production date. This will inform you of when the item will be available to test and help you plan for the enhancement’s release to production.
- Review the Documentation corrected/document corrected date. This is important to review throughout the release window to understand if something was changed by Workday after it was reviewed. We recommend running this report several times throughout the release window to check this field or for any new items that were added late.
Remember the why.
Releases are important, requiring, time, resources, and action. But they’re worth it.
Service updates provide an opportunity for improved user experience. The product release allows customers to maximize their return on investment by providing the opportunity to leverage the latest and greatest features of the system.
Updates can also have a direct impact on business processes and reports in your tenant. While many features are opt-in, others are automatically released. This may impact the way your system operates when the features are delivered into production.
Want to chat more about preparing for your Workday release? Avaap’s Certified Workday consultants are up to date on the Workday release features and can assist in recommendations for your organization, configuration, testing recommendations and results analysis. You can also check out our webinar How to Prepare for a Workday Release here.
Article by Becky Nisius, Workday HCM Architect, Avaap, and Jessica Anderschat, Workday Engagement Manager, Avaap. Becky works with customers to optimize their Workday HCM experience using her 10+ years of experience in human resources and process design. Jessica brings 14+ years of experience in project management and helps Workday AMS customers get the most value from their systems.