WorkCyte News September 2018

WorkCyte News will regularly help faculty and staff in the College of Veterinary Medicine learn more about upcoming improvements to software and business processes.

September 2018
Nine months. That’s how much time is left before Workday, Iowa State’s new cloud-based software system, is launched on July 1, 2019.

Just what is ‘Workday,’ anyway?
In software jargon, Workday is known as an enterprise resource management program, but it might be easier to define Workday by what it replaces: ADIN, Kuali, and Access Plus for HR, payroll and finance processes. (A second Workday product will replace Iowa State’s student information systems in the coming years.)

The transition to Workday is also part of a larger effort, known as WorkCyte, that will both modernize our software systems and redesign the way we do business. WorkCyte also includes Okta, a multi-factor authentication system that provides better protection to accounts and information; and Salesforce, a customer relationship management (CRM) system being used by Admissions for student recruitment; and Improved Service Delivery to, as the name implies, improve how we support colleges and units in areas such as HR and financial transactions. You can find more information on the WorkCyte initiative at

About our current systems?
One of the ways that Iowa State has kept costs down is by continuing to patch the software systems that we have been using for the last 40 years – in some cases, since the days when computers became widespread across campus. Continuing to patch our existing systems is no longer feasible. Workday allows us to take advantage of latest technology, including features like self-service and compatibility with mobile phones that we have come to expect from our banks, online shopping outlets, and social media.

The WorkCyte program will also improve and create more standardization around, Iowa State’s business processes. Some of these changes are enabled by Workday (i.e., we couldn’t do it without the software), but in other cases we’re simply taking the time to align our processes with best practices in higher education and industry.

  • For example, today we request time off in any number of ways, depending on where we work on campus. Workday will standardize this process – getting rid of the paper forms many of us use today – and also allow us to see our vacation and sick leave balances in the same location.

We’ll talk about business process changes in more detail as we get closer to the launch date.

Workday is also a cultural change
The transition to Workday also brings with it two cultural changes in how we do our jobs. The first is a shift to position management, which will be reflected in many of our HR processes. Position management is focused on the relationship between positions, employees, and the organizational structure, and allows us to better track filled, vacant and closed positions. Most of this happens behind the scenes, but fundamentally, it’s creating an organizational structure that matches people with the work that needs to be done in support of Iowa State’s mission.

The second shift is in how finance professionals account for the university’s resources. We’re moving to an accrual accounting model that recognizes revenue when it’s earned, instead of when it is actually received, and captures expenses when they are committed, regardless of when the cash changes hands. Again, this is a change primarily for our finance pros, but shifting to accrual accounting will provide a more accurate and complete financial picture, making it easier to manage our resources in real time.

What’s next?
Look for more information each month, from now until July, on how Workday and WorkCyte will benefit faculty and staff in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

If you have questions or comments you wish to share at the college level, please send a message to