The latest instalment in our Workday Insights Q&A series, we spoke with Kognitiv Co-Founder, Mark Grignon discussing many things including: his journey thus far in the Workday ecosystem, some of the biggest changes he has witnessed, they key trends he is excited about & what characteristics make up the environment of a successful post go-live.
Third Republic (TR): Firstly, can you give us an overview of your background, and how you got into Workday?
Mark Grignon (MG): I have always been interested in owning, and running my own business. I was an Entrepreneurship major at Suffolk University in Boston where in my senior year I started an organic clothing company, IDEOLOGIE, with 2 of my classmates. About 3 years into that journey, I got connected with a start-up company out of Boston, Meteorix. (This was early 2011, Workday 11/12) Meteorix was an early Workday Partner, back when there where only a handful of boutique consulting firms in the ecosystem, and about 100 clients live on Workday. (There are about 2,500 now from what I hear)
When I first started, I was doing data conversion for go-lives. As the ecosystem exploded, and thus, Meteorix grew, I started leading the HCM, Compensation, Security, Payroll, and Time Tracking workstreams on new implementations.
Around Christmas of 2013 I moved into a new role, partnering with my current business partner at Kognitiv, Luke Swikowski, as well as an integrations lead, to form the Post Production Services arm of Meteorix.
TR: Over the past 3 years, what are the biggest changes you’ve seen in the Workday industry?
(MG): there are a number of different things that stick out to me:
TR: And looking forward, what emerging Workday trends are you most excited about, and why?
(MG): Adaptive Insights, hands down.
Workday has acquired many companies over the years, but none who had already gained the scale, and following of Adaptive Insights. After seeing more of this product for myself, I can see why Adaptive has been successful, and I really believe this will turn out to be one of the best moves Workday ever made.
TR: In your opinion, what characteristics make up the environment of a successful post go-live?
(MG): This is a tough question to answer without writing a novel, but I think we can sum up a few things at a high level.
TR: How do you combat training & change management elements of a system implementation in a post-go live environment?
(MG): One of the things we pride ourselves in at Kognitiv is knowledge transfer and training.
We don’t simply fix problems for clients, tell them it’s done, and move onto the next one. We get on the phone, WebEx, or some other screen sharing tool, and show our clients what we fixed, how we fixed it, why we fixed it that way, how to migrate that configuration from A to B, as well as how to test that item. Having our clients know what we are doing, and communicating transparently is part of our values here at Kognitiv. We want everyone to be on the same page, as well as make all our clients better Workday users, capable of maintaining, and supporting the application internally.
Of course, we create documentation if/when needed, but that is at the discretion of the client. If they want it documented, we are more than happy to accommodate. We provide our services on a Time & Materials basis, and if we documented everything we did, the hours would be crazy. Because of this, we ask clients to let us know what they want documented and when.
TR: What is one of your biggest pieces of advice you can give to leaders looking to execute their post go-live strategy?
(MG): Create a clear roadmap that everyone can agree on. If no one knows what direction they are going it is almost impossible to accomplish anything meaningful.
TR: How do you manage user adoption when it comes to a Workday implementation?
(MG): Personally, I think people who “protect” or “hide” Workday from end-uses hurt themselves in the long run. One of Workdays strengths in self-service, and not enough clients really use it to the level it was intended to be used, many, not even close.
There are some parts of Workday that inherently lend themselves to having user adoption such as Time Tracking and Absence. If you have a large hourly population who needs to log time to get paid, you better believe they are logging into Workday. If you use Workday payroll people WILL look at payslips. However, if you aren’t using those self-service heavy type Workday products, there are still things you can do.
TR: To a business that wants the security of a third-party consultancy to manage their post go-live environment in the short term, what value add can Kognitiv provide?
(MG): Frankly, I don’t see any client we work with as a “short-term” engagement. I consider all clients, clients for life.
As far as value, I think our work quality is clearly our biggest asset. As a Workday consultancy, who is not a certified Workday Partner, if we didn’t have quality, we would have nothing. As a Non-Partner, we can not do Phase 1 go-lives, and thus, all of our clients come from other partners. We have 100 clients now, and there would be no chance of gaining that much momentum if we did bad work. Our employees are the best in the eco-system, hands down. We might not be the biggest firm out there, 55 employees, but pound for pound we are the best in the business, no doubt about it.
TR: If you could give yourself some advice when you first started your Workday journey, what would you say?
(MG): Honestly, I love this journey, and wouldn’t trade it for anything, so I think I’d be worried whatever advice I had would somehow change the path of history. I think I’ll just keep my mouth shut if/when we figure out how to make a time machine. We all saw what happened in Back to the Future right?