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Today’s shared services organisations need applications that are human-first, scalable, flexible, intelligent and enjoyable to use. That’s why Cognizant is investing in its Workday practice to enable, a cloud-native, accessible ERP platform for clients across the globe.

In 2021, when we held a virtual conference on successful approaches to back-office cloud transformation, the idea of the truly cloud-native shared services stack was gaining momentum. One of our partners who joined us on that day was Workday, a pioneer of cloud-native HR and Finance applications.

Fast-forward to today, Workday is now emerging as the preferred solution provider for HR and Finance transformation, with over 9,500 customers worldwide including 2,000 in Europe, the Middle East and Africa—serving workforces ranging from hundreds of employees right up to 2.1 million, in the case of the world’s largest private sector employer.

It is why Cognizant has continued to invest heavily in our Workday practice – in 2020 we acquired Collaborative Solutions, one of the world’s largest Workday consultancies, followed by a second in 2022 of the professional services and application management practices of OneSource Virtual, another leading Workday partner, with teams in North America and the UK.

These strategic acquisitions have not only strengthened our Workday capabilities but have greatly enhanced our expertise in leading and delivering HCM and Finance transformations, enabling us to help clients from multinational companies to local authorities accelerate their digital transformation. Our recent recognition as a leader in the 2023 ISG Provider Lens for Workday-based HCM modernisation consulting in Europe and North America for the second consecutive year is a testament to our reinforced capabilities.  

A single, streamlined HR and Finance platform that powers the future of work

The ubiquity of internet access means modern shared services organisations can make applications available to employees on-demand, across devices and collaboration tools. The advent of cloud-native applications now allows for agile development and scalability of application whilst fulfilling an organisations’ individual needs, which is why we think the demand for Workday will only continue to increase.

To elaborate, here are some of the characteristics that make Workday particularly appealing:

  • A single data model to meet connectivity, transparency and interoperability objectives: In Workday, a single unified data model underpins everything from talent management and benefits and compensation to enterprise performance management and adaptive planning. This makes it easy for people to move between roles, departments and locations within large matrix organisations. Its analytics and reporting capabilities can provide cross-organisational insights by combining external and Workday data; functionality that’s hard to get with less-integrated ERP suites.
  • Process flexibility that easily accommodates organisational change: Workday’s support for both standard and bespoke business processes is a particular benefit for shared services centres. The ability to streamline processes across organisations and departments delivers big cost savings and operational resilience. But for those that need non-standard or ‘localised’ processes, Workday’s process modelling capabilities mean bespoke requirements can easily be incorporated during implementation, and easily adapted as needs, roles and environments change.
  • APIs for easy integration with other applications. Workday is designed to be open and integrate easily with other applications in a heterogeneous environment, which facilitates process automation, simplifies workflows and allows data from other systems to be included in reporting and analytics. Its Workday Extend low-code development environment also allows new, integrated applications to be built without having to write any code.
  • AI built in at the core.  With Workday, AI and machine learning (ML) are at the core of the platform and integrated as part of your workflow, powering predictions and automations which save time and make finance and HR more intelligent.  For example, it can predict the career path that will best reflect each employee’s skills and aspirations—driving value for the organisation and boosting employee engagement. At the same time, its security and privacy features mean data is only accessible to authorised parties, instituting trust and confidence in the platform. 
  • A modern, personalised interface that drives user adoption and employee experience: The simplicity of the Workday interface goes beyond user roles and is the key driver of adoption. Many large-scale ERP transformations require users to accept significant change in terms of the systems and processes they use daily. If the new system is modern, intuitive and enjoyable to use across devices—on mobile and tablet as well as desktop—those changes can be a lot more palatable, empowering users and increasing effectiveness and productivity. The result is faster and more enthusiastic adoption, a critical requirement for transformations to deliver on their full potential for optimising performance at work.

Besides the process of getting employees up to speed working in their new environments with ease, the role of flexible leadership in maintaining a positive momentum and easing collaborative working across cross-functional teams is another imperative for success in ERP transformation programmes. Workday’s functionality allows for this collaborative working model and is designed, built and configured from the start to best leverage modern solutions, operations and working practices. 

As Workday’s longest-tenured practice partner globally, we at Cognizant are now looking forward to delivering those next generation shared services across enterprises, unlocking new value for our clients and their end-users.

Yatin Mahandru

VP, Head of Public Sector and Health, UK&I, Cognizant

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