Wednesday, October 14, 2020

FDM Update: Gearing Up for FST Configure and Prototype Phase

Contributed by Nicole Ferretti, FST Functional Workstream Lead

As many of you know, we’ve determined the preliminary structure for the chart of accounts (COA), referred to as the Foundation Data Model (FDM) in Workday Financials. This is the first of many FDM milestones during the finance transformation. See this previous FDM blog post for more info about those milestones.

Next steps in the process are related to converting the current COA to the FDM. There will be general rules for conversion, a lot of collaboration and effort will go into the conversion, both from FST project team members and partners throughout schools and units. Since the current COA is quite flexible, we can’t convert fields one to one. We’ll have to look at each of our PTAEO strings and determine how that fits into the new FDM. 

The goal of the FDM is to create a chart that’s more consistent across Grounds, so everyone is using it the same way. 

Involved in this work, schools and units will be building their budgets in the old chart and then it will be converted to the new FDM. We’ll want to make sure to close out any old values that are no longer used in Oracle, such as old awards, projects, or even an org. Doing so will make converting much easier. 

While all this work is going on, mapping and collaborating with stakeholders, we’re also beginning to see how the FDM will work across various business processes in Workday Financials. The project team pulled in a data set from Oracle into our first tenant build (our tenant is UVA’s instance of Workday). The data represents diverse activities across Grounds, including the following: 

  • School operations, including gifts, grants, and endowments
  • Capital projects
  • Auxiliary enterprise activity
  • Central accounting data   

Including the central accounting data enables us to build our balance sheet in addition to our statement of activities. 

The goal of doing this is to use this activity in the tenant that we’re building now to test our assumptions. We want to ensure that the decisions we’ve made hold up and that things are set up to work properly. Over the last several months, we collected some user stories; we’ll test the build assumptions against those stories to ensure the FDM is working the way we anticipated. Again, this goes back to everything from how you’re recording a transaction to how we’re pulling that information together for our external financial statements as well as managerial reporting. We’ll continue to refine the structure as needed. For example, if we find that things may not work the way that we want, we can adjust that in the tenant and continue to test to make sure it works for our needs going forward. 

We’ll also be socializing this as we go through. For the initial build, it will be with the project team. Once we get the structure nailed down, we’ll begin to share more widely—not just the FDM itself but how things look in the system. For example, if you go in and put in an expense report, you’ll see that this is what you’ll be keying and this is how it will look. That sharing will be done through a couple of different avenues: FST governance group meetings and structured focus groups with other stakeholders specific to certain areas. We want to ensure there’s a clear understanding of the FDM and how it will be used. These demos will help people get a full understanding of how it works. For example, again, when you’re entering a transaction for an expense report, what are you keying, what are you not keying, what’s automatically filling in on those screens for you, and then does that make sense. Is it too many or not enough keystrokes for you to get the detail that you need? This work will continue throughout the Configure and Prototype phase. 

This process is definitely a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t be concerned if you’re not hearing a lot about the FDM or seeing it yet. We’ve got a long ways to go, and we want to go about it in a very organized way so that you understand it and we have clear definitions. 


Read more about how the FDM team is working with departments right now:  Danielle Hancock has written this great update in CommunityHub about Worktag development!

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