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What Workday processes should I automate?


Selecting which Workday processes to automate is similar to choosing which processes to outsource to an offshore provider. With offshoring, for instance, it is important to distinguish core processes that you must control and critical processes that can impact the business from commodity processes that can be centralized or outsourced. By comparison when considering automation use cases, it is also important to identify different types of processes and their impact to the business.


In general, transactional processes tend to be the best candidates for automation. But not all transactional processes are created equal – so start with higher-impact, lower-effort processes. Higher impact areas are those that have high headcounts (i.e., large budgets), sensitivity to errors (such as payroll), or aggressive turnaround times (invoicing, seasonal hiring). Some common attributes of lower effort processes include high-volume, repeatable, documented, and standardized. Thankfully, Workday clients enjoy a higher level of standardization and therefore are well-positioned for maximum automation.

Talent acquistion

When thinking about people processes, take a look at your talent acquisition processes for automation opportunities. Recruiters are often faced with repetitive or duplicative tasks managing candidate pools, scheduling interviews, and handling evergreen requisitions. Gaining efficiencies through automation frees up recruiters to focus on value-additive work that ensures high quality hires.


Payroll is also a great example of many critical processes with higher impact. Payroll impacts literally everyone in the organization, there is a high sensitivity to error and turn times are often aggressive.​ And think about the numerous processes to validate payroll, although they are usually standardized and repeatable, they are also time consuming. Automating tasks to identify and rectify errors before they negatively impact the employee’s payroll and W-2 accuracy reduces the risk associated with manual efforts, reduces the number of W-2 amendments and potential related liability.

For Workday Financials, Supplier Invoices Process, Customer Invoice Preparation and Customer Payments Processing offer the best automation use cases.

Supplier invoice processing

Accounts Payable often has one of the highest headcounts in a finance department.  Supplier invoice processes deal with thousand of invoices.  In addition to performing the manual input of invoices, invoice processes are following up with requisitioners, suppliers and buyers in order to resolve mismatches and other exceptions.  The multi-tasking required of invoices processors in this high-volume, quick cycle time can result in errors, value leakage and rework.  Automation solutions that automatically read and input PDF documents into Workday and assist with exceptions management are now commonplace and a proven productivity tool.

Customer invoice creation

In many industries, customer invoice development can be a very high-volume, manual effort that requires a large staff with significant customer knowledge and data management skills.  When these staffs are required to customize a high percentage of these invoices, the staff sizes and cycle times can balloon.  This process requires collaboration with Sales (i.e. quotes, contracts) and Supply Chain (i.e., fulfillment).  Without full systems integration, this collaboration requires significant manual effort.  Automation tools such as RPA (i.e., Robotics Process Automation) can dramatically improve, effort, cycle time and error rates.

Customer payment processing

The effort to process customer payments and clear the corresponding accounts receivables vary greatly from company to company.  Those companies that require standardization are much more efficient and enjoy a much lower receivable balance.  In either case, applying technologies such as Cognitive OCR and RPA can greatly assist.  Leading companies boast automation percentages that exceed 90%.

The most important activity on your automation journey is to get started.  Successful starts require executive sponsorship and funding and are often aided by engaging an automation partner to help. Alight would be delighted to share quick tips and leading practices needed help you get started.

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