Analytics and data are just key enablers of a broader change affecting organizations and their HR functions. The marketplace is quickly moving toward a new era of service delivery where applications, infrastructure, and business processes are brought together and delivered as-a-Service. The as-a-Service model provides companies with plug-in, scalable, consumption-based services—supported by analytics, cloud, and automation—to better enable business outcomes.


As-a-Service impacts HR both in terms of how teams structure their own operating model and how HR acts as a leader in rapidly changing business environments. This can create new challenges for HR, notably balancing evolving business demands and ongoing technology innovation.

Evolving Business Demands

As stakeholders within HR and across the organization increase their appetites for new programs, processes, and personalized ways of delivering HR services, technology owners find themselves front-and-center in the midst of strategy decisions. They must engage in discussions related to business priorities, the associated workforce, and HR priorities, maintaining a laser focus on enabling business outcomes while aligning technology priorities.

Ongoing Technology Innovation

As vendors like Workday push out enhancements on an ongoing basis and bi-annual feature releases, HR technology owners are at the center of innovation, with functional and industry trends regularly pushed to their business partners. Once solely the recipient of business requirements, they are now able to drive this innovation back into the business, shaping strategy with their functional counterparts.

HR organizations as a whole are in the same position—re-aligning HR to consume innovation from the vendor and new requirements from the business, delivering HR as-a-Service and taking advantage of systems like Workday as the enabler of change. This willingness to change represents a culture shift in most companies—something that requires careful planning and management, the right people, and the right culture.


A term first manifested in IT decades ago to accelerate software development, agile is permeating across organizations today to improve collaboration, communication, and time to value. This too is the case in HR as functions continue the difficult journey of better supporting and enabling business outcomes. As the rate of change increases, HR now needs the tools, capabilities, and methods to support this change. And as HR supports the business in a service-oriented model, agile is influencing the:

  • Ownership of functional areas, business processes, and technologies
  • Way HR work and roles are structured, the skills developed, and a culture where repeatable change is the norm
  • Process and methodology employed to engage the business and end users
  • Tools leveraged to drive transparency and measure outcomes

Why are agile methods so important? It is becoming increasingly clear that successful products and methods of today may not be successful in the near future. Getting ahead of a rapidly changing workforce to prepare for the future will force HR to adopt new ways of supporting the organization and its stakeholders.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, this requires a fundamental shift in HR’s role and how HR delivers—a move away from the rigid and inflexible ways that stereotype HR functions. The move is toward insight-driven, continuous improvement, and innovation that keeps HR’s services aligned to business needs and at the forefront of enabling the workforce of the future.


Realizing this paradigm shift in the expectation and role of HR, and being part of the rapidly-evolving mobile solutions market, automobile rental company Avis Budget Group decided to evolve its culture to respond rapidly to changing market forces. Workday is helping Avis Budget Group achieve its goal of bringing continuous innovation to the company; with an integrated view of its workforce, the company now has the insights necessary to inform decision making and keep its workforce aligned to business needs.

Businesses must be agile to succeed in this changing world; an agile business requires an agile workforce; and an agile workforce requires an agile HR function.

The biggest advantage of agile is the flexibility it provides and the ability to deliver high-value items to users quickly. By using agile, HR can easily adopt new Workday features and functionality and deliver insightful reports and analytics to drive an optimal user experience.

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To succeed, businesses must be #agile; agile businesses require an agile workforce & an agile workforce requires an agile #HR function. #futureworkforce

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While there are various agile methods and frameworks to enable agile, business agility is realized by companies through four core capabilities:

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Deliver fast and responsibly

Developing and delivering products or services faster and with higher quality.

Innovate and disrupt

Determining and learning what products and services to build and when/how to pivot or exit appropriately.

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Adapt organization and culture

Enabling organizational structures, processes, and culture to contribute to best achieve success.

Lead through complexity

Having leaders that can establish and enroll people in shared visions of success and can guide and manage the above successfully.

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So, how do you enable these capabilities and may become successful with your Workday-powered transformation?

It’s not just about defining the ambition, it’s not just about deploying the technology to support change, and it is not a transformation for the sake of transforming. Rather, it is about leveraging analytical power, creativity, and innovation to help better solve problems and seize new opportunities. Supporting organizations to embrace the ‘new’ requires faster, more flexible thinking. It relies on being agile and responsive, defining a path unique to each organization goals, and leveraging technology like Workday to power the change and deliver new services. In the final blog in this series, I’ll explore an approach that is proving successful for our clients. Learn more about Workday-powered transformation and how together we are leading with data and innovation to help organizations become more nimble to absorb the continuous change in today’s marketplace.

Ed Miller

Managing Director – Workday Business, Advisory Services Lead

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