Committee Selects Workday as Software Vendor for Administrative Systems Replacement

By Richard Payton, Chief of Staff to the Executive Vice Chancellor for Administration and Co-Chair of the Vendor Selection Committee

Earlier this month, the Board of Trustees gave approval for the university to move forward with MyDay, a program to advance WashU through operational excellence and insight-driven decision making.

A key component of MyDay is the replacement of the university’s finance, human resources and student information systems. As part of the process to prepare the project request for the Board of Trustees, a selection committee of 23 individuals from across the university unanimously recommended Workday as the new administrative system provider. Founded in 2005, Workday is recognized as the market leader in higher education for cloud-based administrative systems.

The selection committee’s decision was the culmination of a rigorous process to evaluate Workday and Oracle, the two major vendors offering cloud-based administrative systems. Both vendors submitted lengthy proposals and spent three days on campus with the selection committee and other members of the university community in October 2017. The final decision was a difficult one; both Workday and Oracle offer systems that could meet the university’s needs, but the selection committee felt that Workday would be the best partner to help us achieve the goals of the MyDay program.

“Both vendors would be an improvement over the existing systems, but we felt that Workday would be more revolutionary,” said Erin Schuettpelz, associate provost for Operations and co-chair of the selection committee. “Reporting will be more robust and easier to access, and business processes will be more streamlined and efficient. Ultimately, our administrative systems will move from simply being a means to an end to serving as a driver of greater efficiency and better decision-making.”

Another key factor in the selection committee’s decision was the experience of peer institutions. Throughout the selection process, the committee was fortunate to get valuable feedback from colleagues at other universities who completed or are going through similar projects. The committee found that peer institutions with similarly complex research and clinical operations, including Yale, USC and Rochester, have successfully implemented Workday, suggesting that the product is mature enough to meet our needs.

The selection of Workday for the university’s new administrative systems is just one component of MyDay. For more information about Workday and how it fits into the rest of the MyDay program, visit myday.wustl.edu.