Workday project success

Ken Huntley, KPMG Director Advisory, Enterprise Solutions, discusses successful project management strategy to coordinate anon time, on budget, successful Workday Deployment.

Video transcript

Eric: Hi, My name is Eric Bowie, I am an associate with the Healthcare practice in Advisory for KPMG. I’m doing a healthcare series to talk about clients and how well we’ve… the first two obstacles with them and who internally and externally has some insights that will help us in the market and help our clients understand what’s going on. Today, I have Ken Huntley who’s our project manager here, and thanks for coming with us…

Ken: sure

Eric: and talking. And uh we have a lot of different things that we want to talk about today, and we'll go through in a... firstly, we get some background and see. So Ken, anything can you tell us about yourself and

Ken: Sure

Eric: the background what you’ve got

Ken: Yeah, I’m a director in the Workday practice and my focus is primarily on managing the implementation the full implementation where we just for HCM and also two powerful platform, implementations involving payroll and financial supply chains as well

Eric: Really? Yeah, that's really good. I know that we cover a lot of those bases and I know that you're well versed really well, we're here today, right? And so I wanted to talk to you about how your… your expertise really aligned with that healthcare practice and what you do, and what would you do on a day-to-day basis for us like what, how was different projects have been for you?

Ken: Well, each one of them has their own challenges, you know, you have, and you really focus on the key challenge of one project and then you feel a lot of conviction for that one topic or one thing that you sort of managed around on that project you go to the next project and that ends up being a nonissue

Eric: you’re right, yeah

Ken: So… and it's something else entirely. So it's just every project has challenges. We just have to be nimble and really changed with the dynamics of the particular projects, the staffing of an organizational structure of our clients is impactful in terms of how we have to adjust what are our approaches, the timing of certain events that happen in our clients. We have to kind of adjust for that. So each one of our projects has something different that we have to account for and we have to manage well

Eric: And, you said something that in terms of being nimble, I mean all of these projects and there are going to be some obstacles to go through, things that are going to happen you got to be light on your feet and those things happen. I mean, I'm pretty sure you’ve been a project manager and seen a lot of incorrectness.

Ken: Yeah, we have. I mean there's a lot of situations like take for example, we've had… we have project squared or certain guideposts or certain dates where we have to meet certain things. You have to accomplish certain things and sometimes we don't do that as much as we try, that's for any number of reasons. And so, the question is, how can we be creative and move different parts and pieces around when we can't do that. A lot of times, we can. At the beginning of projects when we have certain things happen like, let's say your design workshops have to extend a little bit, then we have cause that happens at the beginning of a project, have a lot more runway to be able to do parts and pieces of the project around the middle ones or the tail end or to compensate for that. That said, we are really intentional when we create our project timeline. There's certain number of weeks that we need to do certain tasks, and makes it really difficult when we have to lose a week here so you gain a week there. So we try pretty hard to manage expectations on the front ends. We try to work really with our clients to make sure they have the right time that they can be involved… they… we want to make sure that they understand where we need them the most and when there are other times where we don't need them as much times where maybe we are often doing certain elements of work

Eric: Correct

Ken: But we try to communicate upfront early and often and when you do need them so that we make sure that we meet our… our timeline.

Eric: Yeah, when you say them, you're referring to the leadership that the clients. Correct.

Ken: That's right.

Eric: The decision makers. So, what is a perfect world in your mind where leadership involvement, what level of leadership involvement creates that happy medium in customer-client world and KPMG world.

Ken: That's a good question. So, we mean, to some extent it's as simple as at least making sure that they commit to the meeting cadence that we have, we have a what I call sort of the meeting engine every week. There's a number of meetings that we have at certain levels of involvement in from our executive leadership. We have meetings where executives from each of the teams are involved and then meetings where they're involved at their own department or work stream level, and it's really consistent attendance. I know that sounds like a simple idea, but there are many times where sometimes we don't have the consistent attendance and involvement of those leaders and commitment to really help us make decisions in a timely way. Well, if they are busy, and they have other things going on and they're not able to attend, or they do attend they don't commit to making decisions in that sort of timeframe that makes it difficult for us to stick to the timeline that they want, and that timeline that they want is all centered around a date where they want to live in the system so we're doing that as a way to try to help them be successful. So right now, it's really that perfect amount of commitment and timing is just being able to be a part of the project at those sort of meeting time strictly for executives. So the reason why I say it in that way and they get more about meetings then every day and sort of full-time cause we don't necessarily need them full-time that’s where more of our key stakeholders, our project team members, we just need them to come in and certainly make decisions that our stakeholders can.

Eric: So really in so when doing the deployment invitation of this a lot of testing has to go on and make sure that what's going on is what they like, and they're satisfied. What a successful testing look like and what goes on throughout that process where everyone is like, okay, yes, this works.

Ken: That's a great question. So the way to look at successful testing, a lot of people's interpretation of that word is primarily focused on testing of the system in terms of configuration. So we think about how does recruiting work? How does, how do supplier contracts work? How we configure the system to test that, does that process the business process work from end to end in terms of what we designed that certainly key focus arguably you know the most important focus to success with the end-users going to experience but is not the only important thing that needs to happen during testing. So you know we do ourselves this favor when we think about testing only in terms of the way the system acts from an indent process perspective. We have to hold the same account data. They said to us that data is complete and accurate, the integrations that happened between workday to other systems; reporting, so the way the reports look the way the reports function, the data that comes out of the reports. And, well, all of those things so it's not just configuration, its data, integration, recording, those four component parts are all things that need to be part of what happens to a successful testing. So we have certain time frames and we have in our in our case a powered enterprises iterative. If there are cycles of testing that happened throughout the course of the engagement and what we have to do is hold in the same regard data reports integrations as we do configuration so our daily meetings that the same people that are evolving configuration are actually the same people that need to be involved in the integration standpoint. And so, KPMG’s involvement in terms of project manager standpoint what would be a successful level of involvement for KPMG or what makes us the differentiating healthcare implementating tech

Ken: Yeah

Eric: We are, what do we do on that that make us

Ken: You know, we have a lot of, we have, by now we've done so many implementations particularly in the healthcare provider space we have a critical mass of knowledge a critical mass of people who go to each of these healthcare systems, a number of people that work on our healthcare system implementation I’d say worked for other ones.

Eric: Right

Ken: So, they carry that knowledge with them we have a body of knowledge, not just in terms of best practice that help best practice for healthcare systems, you know certain things that are specific to health care providers that are not specific to other industries, we now position control significant, you know the way time-reporting is, works within a healthcare system of Biden (not clear) it's really important. We know the typical systems that workday has to integrate with and the complexity of that data and how that data impacts payroll, for instance, keying with that is complex. So we had to learn early on, what that looks like in other industries time management. It's not this difficult. But if we think about the way we do physician scheduling and nurse scheduling, those are complex things and workday has to be nimble enough to more and how to bring in that data and how to let that data interface with our absence you know the absence module and payroll. So those are some particular things that we've seen that we know we going into these projects have to keep in mind.

Eric: Right

Ken: So, having our people being involved really heavily, particularly global design it’s key so that we make sure we factor in all these different unique things that we've seen before we bring that into these design sessions. So, you know, what questions to ask, and we know how to kind of account for that as we design the system

Eric: So the expertise here at KPMG. I mean, you know as well as anybody as the project manager, kind of how we sharpened our swords here in terms of this experience that you've spoken on just previous year how we all have our different, you know, backgrounds of where we came from and what we do and how we bring that to the table to sharpen us. Not only the team, but also the clients themselves and could you speak on how well that you’ve seen us bring out bring together those different pieces of in advisory firm to be able to mold the client portfolio that we have today of over 25+ implementations like what does that look like

Ken: That's a great question. You know, lot of consulting firms who sometimes they're sort of walls in between different practices and different competencies that these consulting firms bring to the table. We don't have that, really all the projects that we work on we work together on in the there is no boundary walls. If we think about, you know, when we talk about workday implementation, these are not just workday configurators.

Eric: Right

Ken: These are there are also people who work on these projects regularly, even though they're working with workday implementations they just deal with the change management side, just deal with training, just deal with security not just in terms of the ways workday is configured but security generally as relates to the way workday interfaces with the company and different considerations there. We also work together hand in hand with our business transformation team. So whereas we might go in to do workday HCM implementations, of course, impacts HR. We also have our HR transformation practice. So many times workday HCM is just a part of an overall HR transformation where we’re reorganizing the structure of that organization. We're rethinking the way we do recruiting, rethinking the way we do benefits, how do we do that, how is that staff today, and to what extent do we want to change the way we think about that in the future.

Ken, is there any other point that you want to make today or…?

Ken: No… That's it. I just, you know, we really are passionate about the work we do in our community with our healthcare providers we want to hopefully be a contributor to the way healthcare is done particularly in the United States, and we know that a lot of these transformations, are our healthcare systems’ way to get us from here to here together. Yes, from where we are today into the future and we know that they view this is a critical piece to get them there so we take that seriously when we engage in dialogue with prospective clients we are working every day with current clients we think of it in that way, we think of these projects is being our clients’ way to bring our healthcare systems into the future, so we're thankful that we get too involved in that way.

Eric: Yeah, we love that man. Thank you so much for coming here, Ken and thank you for your time. I really appreciate it

Ken: Thanks for having.

Eric: Thank you