Business-Driven Configurability


All packaged applications require initial setup to support the unique requirements of the business being supported. As businesses grow and evolve with new business divisions, markets, geographies, and regulatory requirements, the applications that support them need to adapt in concert to maintain relevancy for the business. The flexibility of a system is measured in the ease of the initial application deployment. The agility of a system is measured in its ability to easily adapt post-implementation to the changing needs of the business.

Traditional legacy ERP systems are generally considered to be neither flexible nor agile because of their lack of configuration options. During the initial implementation, the inability to mold the application around the business with configuration options makes for long and expensive project implementations. Post go-live, the inability of legacy ERP systems to adapt and evolve makes these applications rigid, deteriorating their value over time, as they no longer reflect the changing requirements of the business they support. As a workaround, in-house specialist IT personnel or third-party consultants added hard-coded customizations. This was not only time consuming and expensive for IT, it was highly disruptive to the business and also had the downstream effect of breaking future software upgrades. The end result was enormously complex applications with an extremely high lifetime cost of ownership that ultimately impeded business change as opposed to enabling it. 

Workday has corrected that flawed delivery and ownership model by designing our applications with configuration as a core design principle for both initial setup and post go-live reconfiguration. With configuration options a core aspect of the system, the customer can change and evolve the system as the needs of the business change and evolve without breaking future updates—all delivered at a lower total cost of ownership. What’s more, these changes can be driven by the business user, saving valuable IT resources and budget for other more strategic-driven projects.

As a result, Workday deploys in a fraction of the time and cost of traditional legacy ERP systems. Workday also continues to maintain its relevancy to the business postimplementation by quickly and easily adapting to the changing requirements of the business.

This document highlights the flexibility and agility of Workday business-driven configurability versus hard-coded, IT-driven customization required by many traditional ERP deployments.

The scope of this document highlights some of the most common areas of configuration from both an initial setup and post go-live perspectives. It should not be considered an exhaustive guide. This document will look specifically at the following configuration features:

• Organizations

• Business Process Configuration

• Custom Ad Hoc Reporting

• User-Defined Calculated Fields

• Configurable Packaged Integrations


Workday is designed to manage both centralized and de-centralized operations. Any organization structure or employee grouping can be created, and more importantly, easily modified at any point in time. Organizations are the basic building block of any company structure and are constantly changing as staffing changes occur. Workday organization structures are specifically designed to provide maximum flexibility. You can create new organization types very easily, insert them into existing organization structures, and update the characteristics of current organization structures. Organizations may also be divided, combined, or deleted. A powerful feature of Workday is that these changes do not affect the reporting hierarchy for approvals or the cost center organization structures. This becomes particularly relevant for large, complex activities like mergers and acquisitions or divestitures. The following types of organizations may be used in Workday:

• Supervisory

• Company

• Cost Center

• Region

• Business Site Hierarchy

• Matrix

• Team

• Custom

Different types of organizations track different information. “Supervisory” organizations track workers and reporting structures. “Cost centers” track expenses for financial reporting purposes. “Companies” provide a vehicle for statutory reporting. “Regions” track designated territories. “Business Site Hierarchies” track geographic locations. “Matrix” organizations track dotted line or matrix reporting structures. “Teams” are ad hoc organizations that can be used for multiple purposes such as project teams or committees. You can configure an unlimited number of each type of organization, and then use them for different types of reporting. Lastly, Workday enables you to define other “custom” organization structures to track other types of organizations, like union membership, board members, or center of excellence. There is no limit to the number of organizations you create and link to your workers.

Organization Set Up

Creating organizations is easy. Simply choose organization type and the appropriate roles and permissions for the organization. No IT involvement is needed to configure and maintain your company’s organization structure.


Workday is unique in its ability to re-organize your company’s organizational structure quickly and easily. Whole organizations and subordinate organizations may be added or moved, complete with their business site rollups. Workers can be moved or reassigned en masse with or without structural changes such as dividing or deactivating organizations.

Workday’s flexible organizations also allow you to reorganize on the fly. Whether you’re creating new business entities or geographic divisions, rearranging cost center structures, or moving organizational reporting relationships from one group to another, you’ll be able to perform these actions quickly and easily within Workday. Workday allows you to reorganize your structures with a new effective date through the following types of actions:

• Create a new superior organization

• Create a new subordinate organization

• Divide an organization, and move workers into their appropriate organizations

• Move workers from one organization to another

• Inactivate an organization, and move workers to other organizations

Workday’s reporting tools work in concert with your reporting structures, allowing you to create and run reports using organizational parameters. For example, you can run any staffing reports for cost centers, regions, companies, or reporting structures.

It is important to note that when employees are reorganized, reporting relationships are automatically changed, reducing the amount of data maintenance for you. For example, if the Payroll department is moved from Human Resources to Finance, this new chain of command will be reflected on the employee record, and any business process workflow or event that needs to move up the chain of command will automatically go to the correct managers.

Business Process Configuration

Workflow was introduced in the 1980s and bolted onto the architectures of existing legacy ERP systems that are still in use today. As a result, the workflows were blind to any organizational structure or worker reporting changes. To ensure the workflow routing reflected the company’s current structure and business processes, regular IT maintenance was required. As the business grows and evolves, the workflow business rules changed, requiring major IT effort to reprogram the workflow.

Learning from the past, Workday designed its workflow, called the Business Process Framework, into the core of the application and tied it directly to the organizational structures and role based security. Any changes to these structures are automatically reflected in the workflow routing. For business rule changes, Workday Business Process Framework is designed for the non-technical user, allowing a user with appropriate security access to easily make business rule updates. All changes are effective dated and audited.

To read full download the whitepaper:
Business-Driven Configurability


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