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Washington State University Modernization

About the Project

Prior to Workday launch, WSU used paper and computer systems designed in the 1970s to manage all of its financial and human resources activities. As of January 2021, WSU uses Workday, a cloud-based system, to perform most finance, human resources, payroll, and post-award grant administration functions.

Here’s more from President Schulz about the project:

Why are we doing this?

By switching to Workday, we are ensuring the continuity of University business operations and the ability to support increasing demands, while enabling future growth, evolution, and adaptability.

A screenshot of green text on a black computer screen. The characters form the shape of the WSU logo: a cougar head.
Our previous administrative software, AIS
A close-up shot of a man and woman standing in front of a wall. We can only see their midsections. The man is holding a stack of papers so heavy they are bowing under their own weight. The woman holds a lightweight laptop computer at chest height.
Workday can handle all of our data – no more stacks of greenbars required.

The need to act is driven by four major factors: system failure risk, ensuring compliance, outdated processes, and lagging fiscal and administrative data.

System Failure Risk

The former administrative software, Administrative Information Systems (AIS), was built over 35 years ago. There was no outside vendor to provide support in the event of a major system error or glitch, and the number of University resources with the programming knowledge needed to maintain and support the system is declining. Running a system that has reached its end of useful life creates many unknowns and the chance of a system failure is a real risk. A system failure could result in major disruption to critical University business operations such as paying employees, or tracking financial activities.

Ensuring Compliance

Federal and State regulations are becoming more and more detailed. WSU’s workforce also continues to grow and diversify, to include employees from around the country and the globe. Grant awards have concurrently become more complex. AIS is simply unable to support the ever-changing demands of an equally large and diverse University community. WSU has remained compliant through the hard work of many dedicated individuals performing a variety of intense manual activities with little support from the system.

Outdated Processes

Outdated business processes are a barrier to growth and efficiency. WSU’s former processes were paperwork heavy, time consuming, inefficient, and often resulted in duplicate data entry across disconnected systems and multiple units. A significant administrative burden was faced by faculty and staff when performing even the most routine functions.

Lagging Fiscal and Administrative Data

The absence of real-time information and reporting made it difficult to know the status of budgets, effort certification, leave balances, and other elements critical to University operations. Faculty, staff and university leadership at all levels need more timely information to support such decisions. Workday provides robust real-time reporting capabilities.