Workday Rising: Three Customers Explain Business Benefits of Workday

At Workday Rising, Stan Swete, executive director of technology at Workday, led a panel of three customers who talked about why they chose Workday and how they know they made the right choice.

Jay Gilmore, chief accounting officer and corporate controller at Denny’s, has been at the company for 18 years. He noted that although many people think of Denny’s as an American company, it has restaurants in countries across the globe, including Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, and the Middle East.

“When you ask other vendors if they’re on one platform, they’ll tell you, ‘sort of,’ and we all know what that means.”
—Jay Gilmore, chief accounting officer and corporate controller at Denny’s

When asked by Swete why his company chose Workday, Gilmore said that Denny’s had been on the same ERP system for 20 years, and while it worked fine it was not the best choice to support future growth. “We weren’t going from, ‘we’re lacking,’ we were going from ‘we want to keep doing what we’re doing and grow into the future.’”

Stan Swete and Jay Gilmore
Stan Swete, executive director of technology at Workday, chats with Jay Gilmore, chief accounting officer and corporate controller at Denny’s, at Workday Rising. Source: itbusiness.ca

Additionally, Gilmore explained that the company’s leadership team wanted a cloud-based system, to reduce IT spend, and stay open to the possibility of having HR and finance on the same platform.

“When you ask other vendors if they’re on one platform, they’ll tell you, ‘sort of,’ and we all know what that means,” he said to laughter. “I can’t overemphasize how important it is to have a one-platform mentality and all the benefits you get from that.”

Having Sarbanes-Oxley compliance baked into whatever financial management system they chose was vital, he added. And, because Denny’s has district managers and drivers who are always on the move, mobile access was important. In fact, Gilmore said that while at Workday Rising he has been able to approve invoices and more. “Before, you would have seen emails flying around all month for these things I did in a few minutes.”

Maggie Spong, vice president of talent acquisition at AstraZeneca, a global, science-led biopharmaceutical business, inherited a Workday deployment when she started her position—but was pleased because she had used Workday at her previous company.

“It’s consistent for the candidates and for the line managers, so our business leaders can focus on the business.”
—Maggie Spong, vice president of talent acquisition at AstraZeneca

Whereas Gilmore said that the family of Denny’s restaurants is really more like many small businesses operating under one umbrella, Spong has put Workday Recruiting to the test: AstraZeneca hires around 10,000 people every year, with the UK, U.S., Sweden, and China as the main talent hubs.

“It’s one simple process globally, whereas before there were all these different approaches by country or by job category,” she explained. “It’s consistent for the candidates and for the line managers, so our business leaders can focus on the business, and not how to manage a recruitment process.”

“Prior to moving to Workday Recruiting, we had 12 different recruitment systems around the globe,” Spong added, and said that this made posting jobs and keeping track of recruits “a nightmare.”

Paul Wright, CIO and vice president of IT at wheel and wheel-end component manufacturer Accuride, said he has an atypical background for a CIO: “I come from operations, and about four years ago they asked if I could help out [in IT] for six weeks—I’m still here.”

Although replacing the company’s existing payroll system was the impetus for exploring Workday and other vendors, Wright said that his operations background made him realize that whatever system Accuride ultimately chose, it was imperative that it wouldn’t “break lean [manufacturing practices]; it had to work with what we’re doing.”

Wright said that integrating a cloud-based manufacturing solution with Workday helps him get additional insight into his manufacturing supply and production chains. “We’re able to get into a lot of detail around manufacturing when we can pull HCM and financial data to understand if it’s the first or second shift that made a particular batch of wheels. All of this information allows us to make good financial decisions.”

“We need to forecast not just our customer demand, but our customers’ customers’ customers’ demand.”
—Paul Wright, CIO and vice president of IT at Accuride

GDPR Casts Shadow, But Global Business Forecast Mostly Sunny

Even though each person on the customer panel had a different story, they had one major point of agreement. Because the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) take effect in May 2018, any company that does business in Europe better get ready, and fast.

“Getting prepped up for this GDPR stuff, it’s a monster,” said Wright. “Anyone who’s not choosing a really good solution to help manage that, or is working around the clock right now, is just not going to make it.”

The panelists also agreed that managing a global business is easier with Workday. Spong said that they’ve tweaked their hiring model: They post a job and then see what location has the most qualified candidates. “If the best candidates are in the U.S., then the position will be U.S.-based. If the best candidates are in the UK or somewhere else, that’s where the position will be based.” It’s a simple but powerful idea that turns the traditional model of applying for a job in a certain location on its head.

Spong added that she’s collaborating with Workday to design features that will help her cultivate relationships with talented people who either aren’t looking for work at the moment or don’t match any current openings.

Wright said that he’s excited about the opening of the Workday Cloud Platform, especially when paired with Workday Prism Analytics: “We need to forecast not just our customer demand, but our customers’ customers’ customers’ demand. Can we do that on PaaS? I don’t know yet, but we’ll try.”