Workday support and operating model  

Last updated: April 21, 2023

At UW Finance Transformation (UWFT) go-live on July 6, 2023, the UW will transition to a new Workday operating and support model, collectively known as Workday Sustainment.

The Sustainment model encompasses the entirety of the Workday® Finance and Human Capital Management (HCM) ecosystem, and is comprised of several entities that describe the relationships, processes, workflows, and decision-making structures necessary to efficiently and effectively conduct University financial and human resources business.

Workday Governance Model: The Governance model describes which kind of decisions need to be made through a shared process, who needs to work together to make those decisions, and the processes and relationships that lead to reasoned decision-making.

Learn more about HR & Finance Workday Governance.

Workday Operating Model: The Operating model is primarily functional work performed by the business (e.g., Shared Environments, Human Resources, Finance, Research, UW Medicine). This work is directed towards the functional operation of the Workday enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform. The operating model tells us where and how work gets done.

Learn more about the Operating Model.

Workday Support Model: The Support model is how and where we go for help. While some support for Workday will be in the Integrated Service Center (ISC), a lot of the business support will still be managed by the “business unit” responsible for certain policies, compliance and transactions: UW Human Resources, UW Finance, Office of Planning and Budgeting (OPB), UW Research or UW Medicine.

Learn more about the Customer Support Model.

This project is being led by UW Information Technology in collaboration with UWFT sponsors, University leadership and other major stakeholders.

Specifically, this project will work to safeguard business continuity and minimize disruptions to Workday’s support and operations, and is focused on:

  • Ensuring the effective operation of the overall Workday support model
  • Enabling the Workday operating model
  • Planning and executing the transition of the ISC to UW-IT

Most recent update

New HR & Finance Workday Governance: In April, key UWFT program governance groups and Workday Governance will transition into the HR & Finance Workday Governance model.

Read more about this new governance.

ISC move to UW-IT: On March 16, the ISC joined UW-IT and the Benefits team in the ISC moved to UWHR. This transition ensures the right support and technical elements are in place within UW-IT to support UWFT go-live and the broader Workday environment.

Sustainment staffing recruitment: Recruitment is underway to support the Sustainment Model across UW-IT, the ISC, UW Finance, Office of Research Information Services (ORIS) and OPB, and encouraging existing talent on the UWFT program team to transition to the UW permanently.

UW Connect Finance onboarding: Those who will be part of the Workday Support Model across the enterprise have been involved in UW Connect Finance onboarding. UW Connect will help support high-quality and consistent case management (ticketing and routing) and be used by customers to find online resources on Workday Financials.

Learn more about UW Connect Finance onboarding.

Project timeline

Workday Support and Operating Model timeline with July 6 go-live, followed by Sustainment and Continuous Improvement until Jan. 1, 2024



There are four areas or workstreams that this project is focused on.

  1. Support Model: Define the roles and responsibilities, resource needs, and support processes associated with the support and operating models, including workflows.
  2. Staffing Plan: Define and enable a staffing plan that includes the retention of select UWFT resources and the recruitment of new staff.
  3. Governance Proposal: Define, design and propose the controls and decision-making structures necessary to govern Workday.
  4. Transition the ISC from UW Finance to UW-IT and Transition the Benefits Team from the ISC to UW-HR: Lift the Integrated Service Center (ISC) organizational structure from under UW Finance and shift that structure to UW-IT, and transition ISC staff, and transition the Integrated Service Center (ISC) staff that support benefits from the ISC organizational structure into UW Human Resources.

Phases of the project

Phase 1

The first phase of the project is to plan the changeover to the near-term sustainment model and transitioning the ISC to UW-IT and the Benefits team to HR. This phase includes addressing the following:

  • Support Model: Determine future resource needs, roles and responsibilities, support processes and tools.
  • Staffing Strategy: Establish a retention and recruitment plan for both the operating model and support model.
  • Workday Governance: Define the controls and decision-making structures necessary to govern Workday.
  • ISC Transition Plan: Determine the tasks and timeline for the ISC transition.

Phase 2

The second phase is intended to integrate the ISC within UW-IT and prepare for UWFT post go-live support by ensuring the tools, staff and processes are available. This phase includes addressing the following:

  • Transition of the ISC to UW-IT: Ensure 100% of staff, operations and funding have been transferred to the UW-IT organizational structure.
    • Benefits Support Transitioned: The Benefits team successfully transitions to HR (with minimal payroll disruption).
  • Governance Structure: Workday Enterprise, HR and Finance governance structure is defined and operational.
  • UWFT Preparations: Support staff onboarding and training, with support tools available.

Phase 3

A third phase of the project will focus on fully integrating the ISC and UW-IT, explore transitioning business functions to operational departments, and improve the support operations of the Workday sustainment models.

  • Service Level Agreements: SLAs are developed and agreed upon.


General Sustainment

General Sustainment

There are three key elements to the Sustainment Model: governance, operating model and Workday support. And it’s not its own unit. The Sustainment model encompasses the entirety of the Workday Finance, Human Resources ecosystem and is comprised of several entities that describe the relationships, processes, workflows, and decision-making structures necessary to efficiently and effectively conduct university financial and human resources business. You can read more about Sustainment on the Change Network.

How does UWFT compare other complex enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementations? What is the University doing well and what are areas where the University is struggling? Are there changes we can make in the last push before go-live?

UW Finance Transformation is one of the largest endeavors ever undertaken by the University. It’s not surprising then that this is one of the largest ERP implementation programs within higher education. We took “lessons learned” from our own Workday HR/Payroll implementation as well as best practices from peer institutions and the experiences from similar projects implemented by members of program leadership and key stakeholders into account with our development strategy. The program team also plans on producing a lessons learned deliverable in late September to address what has worked and what should be reviewed as the University considers other larger programs similar to this one in the future. As a team, our focus should remain on delivering those items that are go-live critical (GLC) and have the greatest potential to ensure the best possible implementation.

Sustainment Staffing

Sustainment Staffing

There will be 99 supported positions for sustainment to be distributed among the Integrated Service Center (ISC), UW-IT, UW Finance, Office of Research Information Services (ORIS) and Office of Planning and Budgeting (OPB) teams. There will be 68 positions in UW-IT and the ISC, 16 in ORIS, 12 in UW Finance and 3 in OPB.

The University leadership team has a staffing plan for Workday “sustainment.” New positions will be available on the Integrated Service Center (ISC), UW-IT, UW Finance, Office of Research Information Services (ORIS) and Office of Planning and Budgeting (OPB) teams. Information about staffing opportunities and support will be available on a new UWFT / Workday Sustainment Staffing & Support sub-page on the UWFT program SharePoint Team Info page, as well as a new UWFT Teams Channel where UWHR will share sustainment roles as they are posted for internal applicants.

These new positions will be limited to current UW employees (internal applicants) only for the first 14 days. If no qualified candidates are in the pool, the position will be reposted and available to people outside of UWFT and the UW.

The number of sustainment positions is final.

There may be opportunities but UW Medicine runs on a very lean model and no specific sustainment roles were allocated to Medicine at this time. They are currently evaluating for more opportunities.

Sustainment positions are full-time ongoing positions unless otherwise noted.

Customer Support for Workday Finance

Customer Support for Workday Finance

Customers across the University (Academy) who have questions related to UW financial business processes in Workday can go to a single landing page on UW Connect Finance (ServiceNow) to find training and help documentation on Workday Finance. They’ll also have easy access to financial experts in their own Shared Environments across the UW Academy for help and customer support.

When those financial experts in the Shared Environments need to escalate and communicate issues from their customers to UW Finance organizations and central administration, they’ll use and work in UW Connect Finance. Central administration also includes UW-IT and the Integrated Service Center or ISC.

  • Staff in the Shared Environments and in some of the central administration and UW Finance who will be supporting finance business processes will begin to use UW Connect for case management.
  • UW-IT (including the ISC) will continue to use UW Connect for case management.
  • Some additional units already use UW Connect, and they’ll continue to use UW Connect going forward, and also start to work with the UW Connect Finance service. Starting in July, units paying to use UW Connect will no longer be recharged for this from UW-IT.
  • Additional work is ongoing to understand how this process will work for the UW Medicine clinical enterprise. A limited number of UW Medicine units will use UW Connect initially while UW Medicine IT Services determines its ServiceNow roadmap and implements its own license.

There are a number of ways that UW Connect Finance will be used for customer support. They include:

  • Self-help: A landing page on UW Connect Finance will have training and self-help documentation
  • 1:1 Customer support: Financial experts in Shared Environment (SE) will be first point of contact
  • Case management: SE escalates issue to UW Finance organizations and central administration (including UW-IT and ISC) using the UW Connect Finance service
  • Intake forms: Customers will be able to receive help via UW Connect Finance intake forms for an array of support needs

While the UW Connect Finance service is still being configured for our needs, the pre-onboarding process will begin in March 2023, which will help orient those who will be using UW Connect Finance as the case management tool for units supporting finance transformation. Learn more about UW Connect Finance orientation and onboarding on the Change Network.

Similar to the UW’s existing Workday CoP (for HR/Payroll), a CoP group for Workday Finance is expected to be stood up after UWFT go-live, the likely target date after the “hypercare” period in the fall. Discussions and planning are currently underway (and, similar to the Workday HR/P CoP, members will likely be derived from their finance security roles). You can watch the Customer Support section on the Change Network for future updates or please feel free to check back in at a later date with UWFTAsk.

More information

UW Finance Transformation is focused on transforming UW’s financial systems, but it is more than a systems update. It is a redesign of UW’s finance-related policies and processes, with the help of technology. Learn more about UWFT.

UWFT’s Change Network website provides information on the planning, design, configuration, testing and eventual deployment of the University’s new modern finance infrastructure.