By the Alchemy Professional Services Team
When we started Alchemy, our early discussions centered around how to disrupt a professional services industry that has applied essentially the same linear deployment tasks and approach for as long as any of us can remember. We didn’t want to enter our field offering customers more of the same methods, resource requirements, billing structures, and configurations. Rather, we wanted to figure out ways to streamline, innovate, and automate where possible to help save customers time, resources, and money.
The newest product within the Workday higher education product portfolio, Workday Student, offered Alchemy a compelling path to developing a fresh approach. Higher education institutions are similar in many ways and unique in others. Why not identify, confirm, and develop a baseline of those commonalities/similarities and pre-configure those commonalities as a starting point for every Workday Student deployment? Basically, this jump starts each deployment, as customers individually wouldn’t need to spend time going through these commonalities and instead can use a baseline to confirm their institutional needs.
The Workday Student Test Case
Differences abound in higher education. Community colleges and state schools have different business models than private schools. Additionally, technological innovation in higher education has historically been impeded by systemic limitations: code-based data elements with specific meaning only to the institution defining it; limited field lengths and data types; and requirements interpreted by information technology developers and system analysts rather than functional subject matter experts.
But federal regulations, accounting principles, and technology innovations provoke a call for similarities and standards followed by all institutions. As part of the Alchemy Design Partner Program, three higher education institutions—Wellesley College, Bentley University, and California College of the Arts (CCA)—came together to share their perspectives on common processes and procedures. These institutions embraced the opportunity to collaborate, challenge existing processes, and focus on future best practices for their respective institutions as well as other higher education institutions. Many common processes and configurations emerged as the schools and Alchemy spent four months collaborating in business process and configuration discovery sessions.
The result? For Student objects, we were pleasantly surprised with the number in common. For business processes, we blew the doors off our assumptions. What does this mean? Design Partners and our future customers will be able to take advantage of commonalities to reduce the time and money associated with those areas that could be considered common best practices across higher education customers. Additionally, these best practices are now part of Alchemy’s Preconfigured Tenant—more on that in Part 2 of this story (coming soon).
The Design Partner program is now complete, and each of our three early-adopter Workday Student customers are now moving into their individual deployments with go lives planned for later this year and into early 2019.
Collaboration at Its Best
As the Design Partner team at Wellesley College noted, “This program provided an excellent framework in which we and the other Design Partners could learn about our respective business practices, identify commonalities, and collaborate to build a foundation tenant that meet our baseline needs. Seeing Workday Student demoed during our design sessions and learning about the product from the experts at Alchemy excited, motivated, and inspired our team!”
Not only did the participating institutions discover commonalities, the camaraderie they realized through their collaboration extended to areas outside of the project goal, including change management and comparative discussions about their respective Workday Student deployments. And although the Design Partner phase has ended, its completion marked the participants’ desire to remain in contact and continue their collaboration indefinitely.
As for Alchemy, we offer our deepest appreciation to the teams at Wellesley, Bentley, and CCA for believing in our vision and helping shape Alchemy’s future. We also offer our commitment to continuing to leverage customers’ experiences and insight to further refine and enhance our methods, programs, and tools across all Workday solutions so that current and future higher education customers—and ultimately, their students—benefit.