It’s no secret that higher education faces a number of challenges today. From declining revenue and enrollments to a lack of efficacy in achieving desired educational results, higher education institutions are looking for unique, innovative solutions. As a result, many institutions have turned to Workday, a single system designed to help streamline back-office activities as well as improve student retention and engagement. In fact, many of North America’s leading higher education institutions use Workday to organize and manage their processes.
Although many versions of Workday have been released over the years, solving various challenges such as streamlining financial management, offering more detailed reporting capabilities, and providing a more flexible academic foundation for students, there are also some disadvantages to using Workday that are worth considering.
1. An Agile System for New Learning Models
One of the advantages to using Workday is its level of agility that makes it easy to reorganize, restructure, and make changes to workflows when necessary. Most institutions struggle with handling the large volume of changes that occur. As a result, changes are often not recorded properly, resulting in manual workarounds, inaccurate information, data errors and a general lack of confidence in the system. However, Workday allows for departments to easily and accurately record organizational structures in a timely manner with a wealth of applications specific to Higher Ed institutions. Some of these applications include:
- Financial Management – Workday helps institutions gain insight on financial performance by connecting with accounting and finance, management reporting, financial planning, expense tracking and grants management.
- Human Capital Management – Workday is designed to adapt to institution needs related to Workforce management, recruiting, talent management and learning.
- Student Focus – Workday provides institutions with built-in analytics, a flexible academic foundation, and a system designed to boost student engagement and learning.
Unlike other applications, Workday also provides robust reporting and analysis, making it one of the most popular software solutions used in Higher Ed.
2. Reporting Functionality and Analytics
In a day and age when business analytics and the accessibility of real-time reporting is of huge importance for higher education institutions, it is clear that Workday has invested the effort and resources into developing robust reporting and analytics functionalities. Institutions have the ability to access and integrate data, analyze and manipulate data, and take appropriate action. Workday provides users with over 200 different reports, and also allows users to build and customize their own reports mapped out with key metrics.
Workday has proven to save time and costs by allowing users to access and analyze their own data, helping them to make more informed decisions regarding staffing and resources; improving accuracy and compliance for grants, budgets, and awards; tracking financial performance and reducing errors, all of which frees up IT resources.
3. Student Centered
Next to financial management, maintaining student enrollments, retention, and engagement levels has been a serious challenge for Higher Ed. Workday Student is designed with curriculum management capabilities, which help align students with the appropriate courses at the right time to ensure they reach their academic goals and graduate on time. Workday Student also helps administrative teams with the basics: organization of student records, student admissions, and financial aid.
Studies have shown that Workday rates high in customer satisfaction, particularly surrounding its capabilities and overall usability. According to Workday’s co-CEO, customer satisfaction hovers around 96 percent, which is well above market average. Workday delivers a user-friendly interface and a fully integrated SaaS solution complete with mobile capabilities, which enable users to work while on-the-go, enhancing the user experience.
After reviewing a number of customer reviews, customers appear to be happy with the overall look, functionality, and usability of Workday.
1. Time, Training, and Resources
Although usability is one of the top advantages to using Workday, many users claim that its features aren’t as intuitive or user-friendly as they should be, which can require significant staff training and IT support. It can take institutions an average of four to eight months to fully implement the system and train staff, especially if Workday is implemented as a core system.
If your institution is relatively small or has limited staffing, technical resources or budgets, then your specific institution may be better suited with something smaller scale and easier to work with.
2. Complexity Kills Productivity
Many users also believe that Workday is a highly complex program with a number of glitches, such as unsaved settings and lost work; the need for performing various manual tasks, such as entering data; program restrictions, and lots of “clicking around” to get to different sections of the program. These issues can be time-consuming, costly, and reduce productivity.
Like any enterprise-level SaaS solution, Workday can be costly to implement throughout an institution and can also be costly to maintain. Although many users have found that Workday helps to significantly reduce operational costs throughout an institution, Workday can also be very expensive depending on the subscription level needed. Consider contacting Workday directly for a quote to see if it is within your institution’s budget.
In addition, if Workday continues to bog down productivity levels and suck up IT resources for support and troubleshooting, then the system can end up costing organizations even more in time and resources.
In conclusion, Workday clearly addresses a number of challenges that are present in higher education today, such as financial performance management and grants management, and also improve student retention, enrollment rates, and efficacy. However, there are still a number of disadvantages to using the system that should be assessed carefully by any institution prior to making a commitment to using Workday.
All in all, regardless of the disadvantages, Workday has a 96 percent customer satisfaction rate and the system has been adopted by a number of leading institutions in North America, making it a well-rounded, suitable solution for higher education.
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