7 Critical Barriers To Adopting Workday® Reporting & Analytics

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7 Critical Barriers To Adopting Workday® Reporting & Analytics

March 18, 2019

Data is dominating our lives. Not a day goes by where we aren’t handling, analysing or comparing it. With over 90% of the world’s data being created in the last two years, we’re only scratching the surface regarding how this data gets used. In today’s business landscape, a company’s success heavily relies on its ability to measure this data – particularly its people data – and transform it into actionable agendas.

When I discuss “people data,” I am mainly referring to HR reporting and analytics. By gathering such data, internal reporting and analytics functions or platforms can deliver insights which can then be used to make more strategic decisions, faster. This insight allows businesses to answer critical questions in real time. Additionally, the technological advancements in the field of machine learning and artificial intelligence have created a wealth of new opportunities and insights for stakeholders to consider when developing comprehensive business strategies.

Workday® have invested vastly into their Reporting & Analytics platform including recent acquisitions of Adaptive Insights, Stories.BI, Skipflag and Platfora. Having said this, there are just a handful of customers who have reaped the benefits of what Workday® Analytics has to offer. Prism Analytics has seen slow adoption rates while many customers continue two-way integrations between external analytics platforms like Tableau and Power BI.

The benefits are real; the value add is real. However, are Workday® customers maximising their Reporting & Analytics platform? If not, what are the barriers holding them back?

There is an evident disparity between the investment and capabilities and then the adoption and utilisation of the platform. This article will explore why Workday® Reporting & Analytics have low adoption rates, why it is under-utilised and will then consider different ways customers can better drive engagement moving forward.

Why Reporting & Analytics?

As mentioned, Workday® have made incredible investments into their Reporting & Analytics platform, and customers are making considerable strides in unlocking the business potential by leveraging the platform. Their Power of One approach is unrivalled across competitors – streamlining HR and Finance processes, and systems is a major USP for Workday®.

Workday® Prism Analytics offers a platform where customers can leverage data from any source including Sales, Finance and Marketing. They can prepare and transform this data efficiently and manage it with a single security model. These permissions allow a company to control who sees the data, while sharing real-time insights to anyone in the business. Powerful visualisations and stories add to the impact and user experience.

Having said this, there are many differing opinions between Workday® Partners, Report Writers, Analytics Professionals, Senior Leadership and end users on the subject. The one thing they are unified on is how valuable Reporting & Analytics is becoming to strategic decision making.

However, what are Workday® customers doing to drive their business forward and why is adoption and utilisation of Workday® Reporting & Analytics across customers so low? Continue reading to see the seven key barriers summarised:


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Lack of Awareness

There are some fantastic report writers and analytics professionals who genuinely love the work that they do and the impact they have. However, are customers utilising their knowledge and skills?

It’s clear there are impressive capabilities inside the existing Workday® tenant that all customers can leverage. Having said this, senior leadership teams and HR business partners often don’t realise its full potential. Once made aware of what can be achieved, there tends to be much better buy-in from the top, with increased employee engagement.

The lack of awareness makes me wonder:

  • Are Workday® doing enough to let their customers know what they can do within their solution?
  • Are customers taking enough time to listen to Report Writers?
  • Are HR professionals clearly defining the questions they want to be answered?
  • Is enough investment into time and resources being made?

I think a vast number of Workday® customers currently see Reporting & Analytics as an after-thought, which means they aren’t committing enough resources to realise what’s possible. Ultimately making Reporting & Analytics part of their strategic road map will drive this forward.

Leaders vs Followers

Workday® is a small and tight-knit community. This sets the platform apart from many of its competitors in the HRIS ecosystem. With Workday® Community becoming a hive for engagement, knowledge share and best practices, there are numerous ways in which Workday® customers can interact.

On top of this community, we are blessed with a network of implementation partners offering insightful advice alongside Workday® Customer Success/Account Managers who are readily on hand. This support, coupled with a select few specialist resourcing agencies like GQR who understand the macro pain points across the marketplace, make for a buzzing ecosystem that is hard to rival.

Quite simply, people talk to each other. For Workday® Reporting & Analytics to be more effective, more and more people in the ecosystem need to share best practice and share success stories. Similarly, it will take a few more leaders to take the plunge into Prism Analytics and share their success stories to get other customers to do the same.

Skills Shortage

More and more Workday® customers are looking for Reporting & Analytics talent, and it’s clear that demand in this area is beginning to outweigh the supply. Those in permanent roles tend to be at the beginning of their Reporting & Analytics transformations, so they tend to be very passive. Investment into training, culture change and shifting skill sets will be vital over the coming 6-12 months.

Top Analytics talent holds all the cards right now. So, clients who are looking to hire need to consider what differentiates them seriously. Making this part of your strategic road map will be a source of competitive advantage in attracting, retaining and upskilling the best talent.

I’ve also noticed a demand shift away from pure techy report writers towards a hybrid ‘BI’ profile who understand the tech side combined with soft skills such as communication, persuasion and influence. These profiles will build the reports and dashboards, but also have gravitas and credibility to influence the strategy and direction of a business to affect culture change positively.

At present, the Reporting & Analytics market is made up of implementation partners, freelance contractors and internal HR analytics teams. Many customers like to fall on the expertise of their trusted partners, which allows flexibility for them to have talent on hand to build Ad Hoc reports as needed. Although if used in isolation, issues can often arise with partners not understanding the people and data well enough to make a real impact.

Some customers prefer freelancers who can set the foundations in this area where internal skill sets are missing. Again, this allows for flexibility. However, the difficulty with this approach is combining it with change management. A contractor can only add value if there is a legacy and the business both utilises and adopts their work once the contractor is done. Often there is a disparity between building the reports and then encouraging adoption which takes time and culture change.

I think the demand will shift more towards customers building out their internal teams when possible, maximising the value add and accountability to their business – turning to partners and contractors for added support.

The shift will see customers having a dedicated HCM team and Reporting & Analytics team. This is naturally costlier but could deliver more value and allow specialists to focus on what’s needed rather than diluting one team’s capabilities. Split teams could also help bridge the skills shortage as junior employees can train to become specialists in the area. We have successfully seen this already within the Workday® ecosystem.




With Workday® Prism Analytics costing over half a million pounds per year, a business of any size would need to think long and hard about the real value of the platform. In any cost/benefit analysis, is Prism in its current state going to drive customers to adopt?

Further, a business must also consider the additional investment required to maximise its potential. Investment into resources, time, strategy and change management are all critical considerations. And, most customers will see little return on investment and value add over-night. Therefore, customers need to be more bought into the platform before signing up or perhaps leverage the capabilities already within their tenant more effectively.

System Flaws

The Workday® Reporting & Analytics platform is still new on the scene, and Workday® would happily admit it’s not finished the article yet – although already superior to many of its direct competitors including Oracle and SAP.

There’s work to do to make the system more comfortable to use, on the data visualisations and to encourage more customers to invest in Prism Analytics. The foundation is undoubtedly there, and Workday® is making huge strides to get this right. You only have to look at the acquisitions they’ve made within the last 12-18 months to see their commitment to Reporting & Analytics. Acquisitions of Adaptive Insights, Stories.BI, Skipflag and Platfora – amongst others – prove they are taking this seriously, and it’s only a matter of time before they get the platform where it needs to be. I think everyone is excited to see what’s in store with Augmented Analytics and the new improved Prism. This coupled with their investment into Machine Learning, and AI add further excitement. Those who attended the keynote at Workday® Rising in Vienna will already have seen how Machine Learning can integrate into the Recruitment module with Workday®’s partnership with IBM Watson.

The lack of adoption in this area may come down to expectations. Those coming from SAP or Oracle will undoubtedly see the massive improvement with Workday® Reporting. Those with a Tableau, Power BI, Visier or Qlik background can often be more cautious.

Workday® are making improvements to match Tableau’s superior visualisations and Power BI’s predictive modelling, but they still have a host of other USPs in this area. The Power of One is a massive draw towards Workday®, especially with data and security considerations.

Change Management

Change management is a phrase we hear a lot about without enough emphasis on the impact it has on HR Analytics. It’s clear from all the aforementioned points that a huge cultural change and shift in skill sets are required to realise success. It takes time to deliver real value, and customers need to invest more in change management.

HR has historically (perhaps stereotypically) been seen as slow to adopt change and may not be as tech-savvy as other business functions. However, HRIS professionals are bridging that gap, and a new breed of HR is spreading fast.

Workday® Reporting & Analytics professionals need to invest their time into training, education and raising awareness beyond building the reports and dashboards. Building these without widescale culture change will not deliver maximum value. This is more significant in industries such as manufacturing where users may be less tech-savvy.

Having said this, change is all about user experience and the platform must be easy to use and focused around answering questions that need to be explained to align HR reporting with business strategy. If these can be aligned, and more emphasis goes into change management, customers will achieve value faster.

C-Suite Buy-in

Awareness, change management, investment into talent, confidence in the platform, being a leader and so on can be easy things to talk about, but without C-Suite buy-in, lasting change will be hard to achieve.

Senior leaders need to drive this change forward and make it a crucial part of their strategic road map. C-Suite plays a vital role in the vendor selection but less so with the strategic roadmap and the implementation lifecycle. They have a holistic overview of the RFP and Implementation, but perhaps less understanding of the technical aspects like Reporting & Analytics. For C-suite to be bought into the programme, they should maintain a close dialogue with the project team and stay in touch as much as possible. Workday® customers with shorter hierarchal structures tend to be much better at keeping a close eye on the programme and tend to have much better buy-in.


It’s important to appreciate how far Workday® have come within the Reporting & Analytics area over the past two years. The introduction of Prism Analytics alongside the improvements to Standard and Advanced Reporting has been hugely encouraging. For Workday® to already be competing in the same ballpark as standalone Analytics systems is a considerable achievement in itself – but they don’t want to compete, they want to be the best. Their commitment to this area is striking; their acquisitions, their investment and their strategic focus make a fantastic space to be a part of right now.

Workday® would openly admit their Reporting & Analytics platform is not yet the finished article, but you’d be mad to bet against them for getting it right. If not by Workday® 33, but certainly by early 2020. This isn’t a consideration for tomorrow, but one to tackle today, and all organisations need to be ready for Analytics to dominate their HR agenda. Those who make strides today will no doubt be the ones to capitalise and realise the maximum value tomorrow.

Workday® has set a platform here, and the wheels are in full motion now. In a few months, customers who aren’t maximising the potential of Reporting & Analytics will only have themselves to blame – I don’t see system limitations being prevalent for much longer. Therefore, it’s imperative for customers to evaluate their road maps and their strategies to leverage this. Setting the foundations now will ultimately be a huge source of competitive advantage across the entirety of their business functions.

For senior leaders, it’s essential to be fully aware of the capabilities that can be leveraged with the right culture and the right skills in the right place. By taking the lead and being proactive in your actions, you can lay the foundation for value to be maximised over the coming years.

To stand out in a crowded market, it’s more important than ever to attract, retain and upskill top talent. The skills shortage is growing, and it’s safe to predict demand is only going to increase month on month. Businesses that are putting Reporting & Analytics at the forefront of their HR Strategy will be the ones who can attract and retain such top talent.


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