Thursday, June 4, 2020

RAPID Decision: Workday Expenses vs. Chrome River

Finance Strategic Transformation project decisions are made using the RAPID framework. RAPID is a decision-making tool that maps out every stage of the decision-making process, defining roles and identifying what is needed for a solid, well-informed final decision. Read more about RAPID here.

The Choice: Should UVA keep ExpenseUVA (Chrome River) as its expense management system, or adopt Workday Financials’ expense management module upon go-live?

This was not an inconsequential decision: in 2019, Chrome River had nearly 9,000 users. UVA has nearly 2500 active T&E cardholders and an average of $4.9 million pass through the system each month.

The Input: To make this decision, the team sought input from its governance groups and from those stakeholders who used the system. The process took over six months of discussion, demonstration, surveying, and gathering feedback.

The Decision: The ultimate decision to implement Workday Expenses when Workday Financials rested with project sponsor Melody Bianchetto, VP of Finance. This first RAPID decision is a milestone for the project. 


You can view discussion around the decision, as well as an expanded version of this article that includes pros and cons identified in the RAPID process, on CommunityHub.

Update on Foundation Data Model Governance

As part of the planning for the move from our current chart of accounts (CoA) to the foundation data model (FDM, Workday’s terminology for CoA), the FST Steering Committee formed a subcommittee to look at data governance. This subcommittee recently transitioned into the FDM Governance 

Working Group and created a charter that outlines the following:
  • The FDM Governance model is necessary to create and maintain a consistent structure of the data elements and segments of the chart of accounts that will service the needs of ALL UVA constituents.
  • The clarifications and decisions made will aid in facilitating more consistent usage of accounting and reporting standards across the enterprise and would be independent of the accounting system.
  • This working group will leverage local finance and administrative expertise and knowledge in representing both financial and non-financial stakeholders, expanding and maturing as the FDM model unfolds and is deployed.
  • The FDM Governance Working Group has been tasked with the creation of a fully operational Governance structure that will ultimately provide the appropriate oversight and governance as it relates to the Workday Foundational Data Model (FDM).

The working group is responsible for defining member roles and responsibilities. The group recently expanded its membership further to ensure appropriate representation from the College, schools, and auxiliary enterprises (such as Facilities and Athletics), as well as UPG and the Medical Center. The group will also review FDM considerations and make recommendations, such as what required and optional worktags UVA will use, worktag creation/data definitions, hierarchy creation/use, configuration including access/security, and specialized school and unit considerations. It’s also within the group’s purview to establish a structure for after go-live that supports ongoing FDM decisions. 

As implied by the word foundation in its name, the FDM must be well designed to ensure it will serve UVA’s future needs before it is solidified. The FDM Governance Working Group will collaborate with project workstream leads and stakeholders to complete this work, bringing recommendations to the FST Steering Committee for approval.

What comes next? Beyond the Architect Sessions

An update from Nicole Ferretti, FST Financial Lead

To date, we have had 46 architect sessions, spanning a total of 12 functional areas.  That sounds like a lot of work, done – but it’s only a start!  The architect sessions are not final decisions in the iterative process that is configuration and prototype.

Now that formal architect sessions are over, another job is beginning:  we have lots of decisions to make at this point, regarding process flows, notifications, integrations, security, and more. These decisions will require feedback from senior leadership, stakeholders, and focus groups. The recommendations made by these groups will shape the configuration workbooks.

What’s a configuration workbook? It's this week's Workday Word, to start with.  Click here for more info.

Essentially, the Configuration Workbook functions as a blueprint for the tenant (UVA’s instance of Workday Financials).  Once that blueprint is in place, we transition into configuration and prototyping.  We’ll build the first configuration, then meet with end-users.  Their feedback will be used to build a second version of the tenant, and then we’ll pull end-users together again for feedback.  If time allows, we may even be able to add a third build into this process!

The feedback will be gathered from those who are touched by the processes.  With their guidance, we will refine the tenant again and again to produce the most serviceable instance of Workday Financials for UVA.  Where the architect sessions were fairly preliminary, these testing and prototype sessions will be heavily interactive, featuring our data. 

Let us know if you have any questions or comments:   Hop on over to the Online Community for a quick visual on how this process will take shape, and join in the discussion!

An update on the Spend Workstream

An update from Jenn Glassman, Director of Procurement & Supplier Diversity Services

The Spend Workstream is made up of the Procurement, Payables, Travel, and Expense processes and is a huge focus of Finance Strategic Transformation. Although improvements have already been made to how we pay for goods and services at UVA, processes for schools and units, as well as suppliers, can be made more efficient.

The team has several key decisions to make about each substream within Spend.

As we are preparing to move to a new financial system, we see this as a great opportunity to step back and ask ourselves how to preserve what’s working well today while improving functions and processes that have more pain points. Questions we have been asking ourselves:
  • What is the relationship between the Marketplace and Workday for catalog shopping and requisitioning?
  • How will requisition and expense report approval routing flow?
  • Should we opt for a single “front door” for both catalog and non-catalog purchases?
  • How can we restructure receiving requirements to minimize the administrative burden involved with receipts and packing slips?
  • How can we improve the Supplier registration experience?

We’ve also realized that we need to establish a Spend Workstream Focus Group comprised of various school and unit representatives who we can soundboard process and strategy ideas with, as well as gauge impact. We’re working to identify members of this small focus group in the next 2-3 weeks.

We will keep you updated and welcome your feedback.

 For more information, visit

A Quick Explanation of RAPIDs

As FST Phase 3 continues, we’ll all be hearing about RAPIDs more often as key project decisions get made.

RAPID is an acronym for a decision-making structure. The goal for using such a structure is to have an organized approach to identify the decision-maker for important decisions and define the roles of others contributing to the process.

Here’s what the acronym RAPID stands for:
  • Recommend: To kick off the process, someone recommends that a decision be made. This person or group will identify options to share with others involved in the process and do the appropriate research, seeking input (the I), to contribute to an informed decision.
  • Agree: After a recommendation made, a person or people must agree to proceed with the process. If they disagree, more input may be required to revise the recommendation or the process may be discontinued.
  • Perform: After a decision is made, a group of people implement it. This group often includes some of those who provided input earlier in the process.
  • Input: Important stakeholders contribute to the process by providing input. Their feedback may be solicited at one or more points in the process.
  • Decide: A person (or people) ultimately make the decision.

Don’t let the organization in the acronym confuse you. In practice, it’s more like RIDAP, but that’s not as catchy and sounds like a confused frog instead of a decision structure.
The process can be more iterative than that as well. For example, people may provide input to inform what is recommended and then again after agreement, giving feedback about the options moving forward.

It’s common in RAPID lingo to refer to participants in the process with their letters. For example, you may hear something like, “She’s an A,” or “He’s an I.”

Large-scale decisions that affect a lot of people or resources, for example, need a RAPID. Though encouraged for all, not every decision requires a RAPID. Other smaller-scope decisions can be made effectively without it. The project team has developed a specific decision-making framework to assign decisions to tiers based on their scope and impact. Which tier a decision falls into then determines if a RAPID is required or optional. The FST decision-making framework will be shared soon.

As FST decisions are made using RAPID decision-making, the documentation about the decisions will be shared on the FST website to enable everyone in the University community to see what has been decided and who has been involved in the process. More info about that repository soon, too!

Finding interesting & useful content in the Online Community (VIDEO)

The Online Community is a great place to find out more about particular parts of Finance Strategic Transformation.  

If there is a topic you'd like to pursue in-depth, if you'd like to know what happened at a meeting or series of meetings, or if you want to ask a question or have a conversation with colleagues about a project-related topic, the Community is a perfect place. 

The Community is a little different than a website, though; check out the video above for some basics on finding your way around the space.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

UVA Forward Presents: The Happy Secret to Better Work


What if I told you there was a secret to happiness? Would you want to follow it?

During this engaging session, we will watch Shawn Anchor’s “The Happy Secret To Better Work” and discuss how we can improve every single business outcome with the happiness advantage and how we can apply this to leadership at UVA.

Date: June 11, 2020 |10 – 11 a.m.
Hosted by Kate Belliveau & Moderated by Rose Markey via Zoom
Click HERE for more info and to register.
The Zoom link and session materials will be emailed prior to the session.

Be on the look-out for more sessions this summer and find many other professional development, remote working, and community resources at the UVA Forward website.