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UW Finance Transformation

The progress and ponderance of 2020

Vice President of Finance

December 15, 2020

Here we are, nearing the end of 2020 --by anyone’s standards, a year unlike most in our lifetimes. As we close it out, let’s look back at the progress the UW Finance Transformation (UWFT) program has made during this unprecedented time — working almost entirely virtually — and acknowledge our current point in time as we take a moment to ponder, assess and validate the next steps needed to best move the program forward to completion. I’d especially like to call out the efforts of our collaboration partners in the midst of managing their own unique operational constraints.

At the top of this year, UWFT launched into the Implementation Phase of the program which will take us through to preparation for go-live — building out processes, configuring the system, testing and training. Through the important collaborative work of our business transformation owners, business process owners, process transformation teams (PTT) and three advisory groups (Faculty Advisory Committee, Operating Model Working Group, FDM Working Group) with subject matter experts represented across the University, we’ve seen three major design accomplishments of note this year:

1.    55 business processes defined and confirmed
2.    Four shared environment options evaluated by 36 units 
3.    The refinement of our foundation data model                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 These helped factor into a core deliverable of building the initial Workday® Financials configuration tenant. An additional key milestone is the dispositioning of all our current systems. That amounts to 977 dispositioned systems, with 388 slated to be remediated and 381 earmarked for retirement. We’ve also analyzed 375 HR/payroll inventory items to determine any necessary remediation requirements, confirmed 427 integrations for future state and begun our inventory of gap applications (10 identified since work began in August) to find solutions to meet business requirements not covered by Workday functionality. All of this could not have been accomplished without the committed partnership of our units and system owners throughout the University. 

Lastly, I would be remiss not to mention the in-the-field, block-and-tackle work being done to help get units ready for this change. I particularly want to highlight the completion of our change readiness measurement and unit readiness tracking approaches and the capture of 574 change impacts. Through this systematic documentation of impacts, we can ensure a clearer understanding of the work necessary to support the introduction of Workday® Financials into our current Workday environment and how these business changes will affect workers and their units throughout the University. We also launched the first level — Unit Readiness Leads — of our Change Champion Network which will serve as the grassroots support to help prepare our organization. At the same time, we’ve been able to strengthen engagement and two-way communication through the formation of key advisory and working groups, such as the Faculty Advisory Committee. You can see more highlights of the year in the UWFT 2020 Annual Report

This is all good, important and hard work that will help carry the University forward to a better finance infrastructure, but as noted in last month’s blog, it’s not without recognition of challenges revealed during this time. Having focused this year on how to build Workday, what’s become readily apparent is deeply understanding the capabilities of how Workday can exist within the rest of the technology environment throughout the enterprise. Along the way, with the collaborative work of our partners, we’ve identified 124 risks and issues and closed 90. We need to allow ourselves this moment in time to validate the initial scope, schedule and budget as adopted by the Regents in December 2019. We take this evaluation seriously to live up to our mantle of being responsible stewards. President Cauce expressed earlier this year in the May UWFT Transformation Insights blog, that the UWFT program is an important institutional priority. “Our University’s public service mission depends on our ability as a huge, complex and multi-faceted organization to make real-time and well-informed financial decisions – this transformation is our pathway there.” 

I’m genuinely grateful to be one of the Sponsors of the UWFT program, and I’m dedicated to open communication and learning what you need to adapt to this new finance infrastructure. The work being done remains as important as ever, especially during the challenges and additional burdens of working and living through the pandemic. We’re all in this together by design. President Cauce, in her address this fall, shared words that once again got to the core of our collective values: “As the proverb goes, ‘If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” 

I am proud to go far and together with you in this team effort. I offer my whole-hearted gratitude for your dedication and commitment and congratulate you on the great progress made to date.  

Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season and a very Happy New Year and looking forward to all we’ll achieve together in 2021. 

Editor’s note: If you have questions or comments about the UWFT program, please reach out to Brian at or

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