Workday 2023 Release 1 update from Chris Watkins

March 31, 2023

Twice a year, Workday delivers major software updates. These occur in March and September. We recently implemented the Workday 2023 R1 spring update on March 11. To ensure that none of our core processes are affected by the updates, the Finance team undertakes a six-week preparation process. Fixes, enhancements, and new features are cataloged in a report called, “What’s New in Workday.” These items are designated into three categories: Automatically Available, Setup Required, and Request Professional Services Support. Testing is focused on Automatically Available items. Any future uptake items requiring set-up must go through the appropriate approval processes for their product area for full testing and implementation after the upgrade.

Approximately 60 representatives from Financial Systems and Solutions (FSS), product areas, and the Controller’s Office participate in regression testing approximately 500 test scripts for business processes, tasks, reports, and integrations. Any new Workday functionality implemented during the year may require the team to add to or adjust their regression test set. The teams work together, alerting each other should they see updates that may affect other product areas. Lead testers meet once a week to report on test status completion and to share any testing questions or issues. Any defects are referred to the FSS team via email which creates a Salesforce ticket for tracking. The FSS team tests and determines if opening a case with Workday is warranted. These cases are tracked either to completion or implementation of a sufficient workaround. Historically, there are one or two cases per upgrade, and most are successfully resolved by Workday before the code upgrade in Production.

The testing team works closely with Change Management to craft communications for users which are posted in the Business Update (for example, this communication sent to the Business Community on March 8). They also support updates to relevant knowledge articles, training guides, and provide heads up to support organizations which include the Help Desk, Distributed Support Providers (DSP), Employee Service Center, Finance Support Center, etc. During this process, we communicate the upgrade testing status with the HCM team as well. Occasionally there is an upgrade for which we must work together to implement. An example is the redesign of the Workday homepage implemented with the 2022 R2 upgrade.

Finally, the weekend the new code goes live in Production, each team runs a series of key task and report tests referred to as a shake-out. Progress is monitored to ensure any issues would be communicated in a timely manner. At this point, our testing process has caught and resolved any issues prior to go-live for the new code. This is a testament to the dedication and teamwork of the upgrade testers, with support from FSS and Change Management.