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Solving Hard Problems. The case for automating time blocks.

Truth…almost anything can be solved in Workday®, it is just a matter of how you look at it.

What you want to avoid is somebody saying, “than cannot be done”. That takes away your choices. Workday is a fantastically configurable system. On top of that, Workday is adding features on a continuous basis. There are real reasons to not do work…like a tight budget, timeline or lack of skills.

Do not accept “it cannot be done.”

The second thing to think about in “solving hard problems” is that in Workday, many things, especially hard ones, have two or three or more potential ways to be solved.

Many junior consultants will tell you “this is how to do this”. They are taught the most common way to do something and that is what they know. Many senior consultants will tell you “there are three ways this could be done and here are the potential pluses and minuses of each.” Only after carefully examining the choices can you determine which one adds the most on the “good” side of the equation and has the fewest (or least impactful) pitfalls.

There is another reason to examine all choices. That is to determine a pecking order. Even super talented Workday experts cannot be 100% certain that a particular path will get you to the outcome you desire. You may need to go down path 2 if path 1 fails for some reason.

This is where prototyping and mockups come in handy. They do not always confirm 100% that a finish line is available for a specific idea, but they can expose flaws that could eventually kill an idea and certainly help to confirm assumptions and estimate the effort required to finish.

We have one great example of a use case where somebody was told “that can’t be done”. We provided a number of options to get to the finish line…with the use of some prototyping.

Geofence Actions:  Arrive, Dwell, Leave

Here is the use case. A company had staff that worked at more than one site each day or each week. The company invoiced a different amount based on the site and they paid their staff a different amount based on the site, so they needed to know where the employee was. On top of that, they got paid hourly in many instances, so they need to know WHEN they came and went by site…and last, they had various business rules that determined when the hours were paid at higher rates or had an accompanying flat rate bonus or when they got paid travel time between sites. The bottom line: it was very important to know, by site and time, where each employee worked each day.

Our approach. We combined Workday Time Tracking and a mobile geo-fencing application into a novel solution that some pretty cool things.

We prototyped a mobile application that runs on their employees’ smart phones. In most instances they do nothing but come and go to their locations. Each location is geo-fenced inside the application. Crossing the fence going into work is integrated to Workday Time Tracking and creates a Check-in. Crossing the fence going out of the work location creates a Check-out…and the two together automatically create a time-block that then directly feeds their time-card. No actual location is tracked, so privacy is not violated.

The prototype included in-app features to allow employees to modify their check-ins and check-outs. We kept the original data but allow them to modify their timeblock for various business reasons. In Phase II there will be business rules built into the app. If one of these rules looks like it needs to be invoked, the application “asks the user if the rule is appropriate to apply to the current situation”. If yes, all the associated data is captured on the back end to manage that transaction. Once again, the employee does nothing but confirm the use of a business rule.

One of the potential unrealized aspects of this tool comes in the form of “time being stolen from our client” … not by their employees claiming to be in earlier or staying later than they really were…no. The time is potentially unintentionally being stolen by their location partners. Full time employees are only supposed to work 40/hours/week on-site, but these are conscientious folks who sometimes arrive 15 or 20 minutes early and stay 15 or 20 or 30 minutes late to make sure everything is done…not to mention skipped lunches. Over the course of a week it is estimate that this is 90-120 minutes per person…75-100 hours per year per person. At the client billing rates this would be over $10,000 per employee per year “given” away to their partners.

A second bonus is that location managers will be able to use a dashboard to see which staff are at their site that particular day (who has checked-in and working vs. who had been their but was currently checked-out). This greatly simplified the need to track people down and “find” people who were simply on lunch break off-site. The application has many more features, but I think you get the idea.

The moral of all this. Don’t accept “it can’t be done.” Know what your choices are and then decide.

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