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Managing your Workday tenant

Your strategy on how to support and maintain your Workday tenant is critical; as is realizing your business case.

You have your support team in place, but how do you prepare and plan for day-to-day operations after deployment? There are a number of important factors to consider in order to meet your organization’s unique needs. This guide will share options to consider when providing ongoing support for your Workday tenant.


Go-live is an exciting moment. However, keeping that positive momentum going is just as important. Your strategy on how to support and maintain your Workday tenant is critical to achieving this and realizing your business case.

Consider the following for the most effective day-to-day management:

  • Type of support model: Depending on your business needs, it may be best to establish an internal team, leverage a Workday partner for fully managed application management services or adopt a hybrid approach.
  • Ongoing application management activities: Providing the necessary support means members of the team possess the proper skills to provide oversight, release management, operational support and enablement services.
  • Support team roles and responsibilities: Regardless of whether you maintain application management activities internally or leverage a Workday partner, a number of key roles and responsibilities still apply.
  • Governance: Delivering a positive customer experience entails establishing upfront processes and procedures for end-users to request changes, which are then tracked, prioritized, approved and escalated, if necessary.

In the following sections, you will learn how to establish an ongoing support model that addresses all the activities and skills necessary to support your Workday tenant. See Figure 1 for ongoing support model options.


Your organization has… Your business need is… Support model 
An established HRST/IT team Ad hoc Workday support when capacity or a specific Workday skill set within internal team is an issue In-house Workday support with ad hoc support from Workday partner
Roll-out of new functionality or support of specific business initiative/project In-house Workday support with project/event support from Workday partner
An HRIS/IT team with some skill/domain gaps Large project, loss of key resource or backlog in a particular area/skillset In-house Workday support with recurring (aligned resource) support from Workday partner
Optimization of existing tenant or addressing inefficiencies in business processes In-house Workday support with optimization support from Workday partner
Addressing specific need/gap in delivery model In-house Workday support with ad-hoc or recurring (aligned resource) support from Workday partner
No HRIS/IT team or looking to outsource this function Long-term strategic partner to provide oversight and guidance of your Workday investment Fully managed (outsourced) AMS services, including tenant and integration management provided by Workday partner


Factors to consider

Type of support model

Generally speaking, you have three main options for an ongoing support model.

  • Establish a team (HRIS, IT, etc.) to handle all management of the Workday tenant
  • Utilize a team (HRIS, IT, etc.) for specific aspects of Workday management, while an experienced Workday partner fills in the gaps
  • Leverage a Workday partner for fully managed AMS services

How establishing your support model early on helps

We have seen clients take several approaches to setting up their ongoing support team and determining the level of support they will provide. We recommend you have the discussion sooner rather than later and get all internal stakeholders to agree to the approach prior to go-live.

Based on a recent survey conducted with 28 Workday clients, we found the following:

  • All respondents indicated a collaborative effort between HR and IT in support and management of their Workday environment, with HR owning the Workday tenant.
  • The average ratio of HRIS/IT personnel to employee base was 4 FTE to 6,000 employees.
  • 83% had a formal ticketing/case management system in place.

Additionally, we have found that the average support team size can vary. For example, for a client that has most to all HCM modules live, plus U.S. payroll, with 80 integrations, we tend to see approximately 6-7 FTEs needed, with an additional 1–2 FTEs allocated to discretionary/ project work. When you add in support for a global population, or look at smaller organizations that require more ongoing maintenance and configuration needs, these numbers will vary. Also, for clients who are live on Workday Financial Management, we suggest allocating another 2–3 FTEs for proper ongoing support.

Application management ongoing support services

After determining your support model, it’s a good idea to ensure your team has the necessary skills to provide ongoing support activities. Even if you decide to completely outsource your AMS services, your team still has a key role to play in maximizing your organization’s investment after deployment. Granted, your people may not be the ones in the trenches, doing the configuration or integration monitoring, but they still need to work with your organization’s Workday partner to explain subtle nuances, ensure your company’s business requirements are in the system and help test its functionality. 

See figure below for a list of ongoing support services.


  1. Release management
    • Tenant management
    • Required release and update management
    • Optional feature analysis and guidance
    • Weekly release impact analysis
    • System configuration
    • UAT support
  2. System support and consultation 
    • Configuration support 
    • Issue triage support 
    • Business process management 
    • Reporting management
    • Integrations management
    • System functionality consultation and guidance
    • Data loads 
    • Security management 
  3. Enablement services 
    • New module enablement 
    • Tenant assessments
    • Mergers and acquisitions
    • Integrations assessment
    • Business initiative support
  4. Governance
    • Oversight
    • Demand management
    • Strategic planning/road mapping
    • Project management
    • Risk/issue management 

Support team roles and responsibilities

Whether you keep all application management activities internally or supplement your team with a Workday partner, there are roles and responsibilities your HRIS/IT team needs to cover beyond the necessary functional configuration, technical integration and reporting development duties.

  • Oversight/governance (i.e. Workday project/product manager): This individual serves a key role, providing oversight and guidance and general HR business direction, including establishing priorities. They also serve as the main point of contact for escalations surrounding Workday-related issues.

  • Requirements (i.e. business analyst): Working with the business partners, this team member gathers roadmap items and business requirements for required/ requested changes impacting Workday. To be successful in this role, an individual needs strong business acumen and Workday functional knowledge.
  • Testing (i.e. junior business analyst): This person’s main role involves coordinating testing (if the business is conducting) or providing testing of configuration changes and approval to move to production. He or she also works with business partners to gather business requirements and answer Workday-related questions.
  • Operations/data management (i.e. operations analyst): Last, but far from least, this key team member serves as an HR Operations analyst to ensure the data integrity of the Workday system. Primary duties include processing Workday transactions, such as rescinds and corrections, mass-loading data and answering data-related questions raised by business analysts or employees/HRBPs.

It’s also wise to develop a contingency plan for what you would do if one (or more) of these individuals left the company or needed to take an extended leave. If the individual who manages your Workday Payroll suddenly wasn’t there, do you have someone else to take over these duties? Would you be in a position to hand that responsibility over to a Workday partner, either temporarily or permanently? Considering these possible scenarios in advance, and having a plan, will keep operations running smoothly.


Simply put, you will absolutely need oversight and governance of your Workday environment to properly manage the requests that comein from all areas of the business. Establishing an upfront process for end users (HRBPs, COEs, etc.) to request changes and have them tracked, prioritized, approved and escalated (if necessary) helps deliver a positive customer experience and better user adoption.

It’s helpful to establish a Workday steering committee that meets bi-weekly or monthly to review and approve all changes requested from the business. Depending on volume of changes requested, it may be beneficial to establish an online case management or ticketing system to provide transparency to end users on their Workday-related requests.


Once you’ve gone live with Workday, having an ongoing support system will help you meet your organization’s specific needs and realize your business case. Whether you decide to provide all support internally, “spike the bench” by relying on a Workday partner to handle some aspects or completely out-source day-today support and maintenance, using a proactive, thoughtful approach will optimize your Workday tenant.

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