Workday Student to launch in stages in 2023 and 2024

Work on the second phase of Workday is about to kick into high gear, with project leaders planning to go live with a new system in June 2023. And three months later in September. And three more times in 2024.

It will take an estimated four years to expand Workday to student information and billing, consolidating Iowa State's business functions on the adaptable and cloud-based platform. But unlike the first phase devoted to financial and human resources transactions, Workday Student will roll out in five segments over 18 months instead of culminating in one launch.

For more information

Workday Student is the next phase of WorkCyte, a comprehensive effort to modernize Iowa State's administrative systems. Check out Inside Iowa State's WorkCyte archive.

A five-step implementation has many benefits, spreading out the project in a sequence that tracks a student's life cycle, vice president and chief information officer Kristen Constant told the Professional and Scientific Council during a presentation at the council's March 4 meeting.

Constant outlined a tentative timeline:

  • June 2023: Recruiting, admissions, application fees and tuition deposits, academic calendar, academic units, programs of study and student core
  • September 2023: New student financial aid, course catalog and class schedule
  • March 2024: Registration, advising, tuition and fee assessment, continuing student financial aid and student record conversion
  • September 2024: Financial aid distribution, billing and payment processing
  • December 2024: Grading, graduation, transcripts and end-of-term processing

Why change?

Deploying Workday Student in stages will make integrating the new components with legacy systems an ongoing challenge throughout the project. But the current patchwork of aging technology must be replaced because it’s complicated and difficult to maintain, Constant said.

Many of the existing systems are based on campus mainframes, which raised concerns when a derecho knocked out power in Ames in August, she said. They also are more restrictive, which required scrambling last year to adopt changes to the academic calendar and grading schemes.

Pandemic-driven changes that involved financial or personnel information, on the other hand, were simple to make with Workday. And there were no worries about losing Workday data when the derecho hit because it's stored on a network of remote internet servers.

"I think these are good examples of why we're doing this," Constant said.

Reevaluating the fit

Before ISU leaders selected Workday as the university's new enterprise platform in late 2016, they reviewed what its student information system offered and what Iowa State needs. Two things have changed since then, Constant said: "What we need, and what they offer."

Reevaluating both Iowa State's requirements and Workday's student information product was essential to ensure it was still a good fit, and Constant said Workday addressed a long and fresh list of the university's needs. More than 100 people on campus participated in Workday Student demonstrations, and project leaders also made virtual visits to institutions implementing Workday Student.

Building the team

Workday Student's co-leaders are Constant and Steve Mickelson, former chair of agricultural and biosystems engineering recently appointed to a four-year post in the provost's office to work on the project.

Much of the rest of the project team is being assembled now. The core team will include 80 to 90 ISU employees, who will work alongside change management consultants and Workday staff and collaborate with numerous other university employees. The project budget includes funds to hire new ISU employees to take over the duties of those tapped for the core team, Constant said.  

"We have carefully budgeted in backfill to ensure we can do this in a humane way, if you will, so that people can do their best work and maintain a good quality of life. You all know how very lean we are as a university. A project of this magnitude, we can't just absorb it without the infusion of extra resources," Constant said.

Other business

Council members also:

  • Approved the council's compensation and benefits recommendation for fiscal year 2022. Acknowledging the budget challenges ahead, the council's recommendation -- which typically suggests an across-the-board raise amount for P&S staff -- doesn't call for a salary increase and instead focuses on benefits and policies. 
  • Elected officers for the 2021-22 academic year: president-elect Jamie Sass, vice president for university planning and budget John Hascall, vice president for university community relations John Burnett-Larkins, vice president for equity and inclusion Lindsay Moeller and secretary/treasurer Bridgette Hare. Moeller and Burnett-Larkins are incumbents. All officers ran unopposed. Next year's council president is Chris Johnsen. Council elections will be held later this month. Nominations are open through March 12.