Trinity transitions from Colleague to Workday

Digital Transformation leads the move to Workday for human resources, payroll and time services

Two years ago, the Digital Transformation program (DX) was created, aiming to implement new technological systems at Trinity University by transitioning platforms from TigerPAW’s Colleague to Workday. At the beginning of June, DX’s Finance Workday went live, and this past December, the biggest front-facing change occurred: the implementation of Workday’s Human Resources (HR), Payroll and Time Tracking Systems.

This switch affects everyone working on campus, including student employees, faculty and staff, and the complete transition to another platform is a substantial change to make. However, changing with the times is necessary, according to Ender Ergun, manager of enterprise applications at Trinity and technical lead of DX.

“We’ve had Colleague since 1996. The underlying architecture is dated. … I registered on TigerPAWS when I was a student here 14 years ago. It’s moving that needle toward current technology. … [Workday] is from this century,” Ergun said.

Ergun’s opinion is shared by those working with him, too. Jim Hertel, chief HR officer and sponsor for the WorkDay HCM project, expressed how imperative it was to switch over to Workday.

“[Colleague] was a system that was originally put in place in the 70s. We’re … taking a system [that] has a reputation of being kind of behind from a technological standpoint [to] Workday, [which … now has] 9,500 customers … and 60 million users. It’s become the industry standard for a lot of users,” Hertel said.

Many of the old processes, especially in HR and finance, were completed on paper and differed from department to department, resulting in many errors and miscommunications, according to Denise Covert, associate director of human resources and worker in Human Capital Management (HCM).

“The old system [used] more manual entry,” Covert said. “It was more prone [to] error. … We [would hear] from employees and supervisors [when we altered Colleague], ‘what’s the process now?’ … Now [with Workday,] they just know.”

The implementation of Workday puts these processes online and in one place, connecting the departments and reducing the outdated system’s issues substantially, as Hertel described.

“[Workday] will help reduce a lot of the variation we have in a lot of our processes, where every department might be doing something a little different. … It gives [us] … the same language across campus. … It’s newer technology. … We’re going from an electronic filing cabinet to really a workflow engine,” Hertel said.

Despite the need for the transition, change comes with its challenges. Many are working hard to make improvements to Workday as issues occur, according to Hertel.

“Our experience since we’ve gone live on Workday was as we expected it to be. We knew we were going to find things we might have missed … but we got through the first set of payrolls in pretty good shape,” Hertel said.

This transition to Workday has proven to be manageable for student employees, too. As a first-year history major and student desk assistant for residential life Harper Horn-Clegg described, the adjustment to Workday hasn’t been too difficult with guidance through the process.

“We had to come back … early … and in a meeting, we went through the whole process of making sure that your account was connected and how to use it. … All of my supervisors and superiors [were] making sure we were getting paid. I think they did a good job of helping students transition through that,” Horn-Clegg said.

Looking forward, there are five more systems that DX plans on implementing, all of which can be found on their website. Of the upcoming changes, the DX program expects to completely ease off of Colleague and to make the transition from TLearn to another platform next fall semester. Nevertheless, DX is constantly improving, according to Gary Logan, vice president of finance and administration and executive sponsor on DX.

“We learned a lot from Workday finance when it went live. I think that’ll continue to get better as we’re going into the next systems,” Logan said.

Given the current outdated systems, the relatively smooth shift to Workday and the hope that Logan has for the effects of the project, Hertel believes that a future without TigerPAWS looks bright.
“It’s going to be like day and night between what Colleague was and what Workday will be,” Logan said.