New payroll program to launch in 2020

System used by big corporations like Amazon, Adobe



Matthew Skinner, associate vice president of finance and Administration, discusses the Modernization Initiative. The new program will replace a nearly 40-year-old system that was implemented in the early 1980s.

CARMEN JARAMILLO, Evergreen reporter

WSU announced last week the beginning of a three-year, $30 million project to completely overhaul its payroll, human resources, accounting and budgeting systems.

WSU’s current payroll and finance system was implemented in the early 1980s, and the university has been working for the last two and a half years to find a replacement before the old system fails, Matthew Skinner, associate vice-president of financial services, said.

“The system has been around a really long time, and we’re grateful for all the hard work it’s done,” Skinner said. “It’s just time to let that system be retired.”

The university will transition to a new software system called Workday as a part of WSU’s new Modernization Initiative. According to Workday’s website, the system is currently used by large companies like Amazon and Adobe for their payroll services, as well as universities like the University of Washington and Yale University.

After spending a year and half deciding what would be needed out of the new system, WSU put out a request for proposals about a year ago, Skinner said. Workday representatives came to campus to present their software in early 2018 and from there the $30 million budget was approved by the Board of Regents at their March 2018 meeting.

Most of that money will be spent on paying consultants who specialize in helping universities transition to using Workday, Skinner said.

Currently the project is in a pre-planning phase, with a projected deployment in summer 2020.

Next will be designing, building and training employees to work with the system, then testing and implementation.

“Summer 2020 is a pretty aggressive timeline to be able to do [it] that quick,” Skinner said. “Basically every administrative support function that happens at the university is going to change in the next two years. That is a pretty significant change. We actually feel like summer 2020 is gonna keep us really running fast.”

For hourly wage employees, like students, this could mean transitioning to new hour tracking software. Currently, different departments in the university use various methods to track hours and those systems may have to change to integrate with Workday, he said.

“It may or may not make sense to go and replace [those systems],” Skinner said. “Our hope is to get as much functionality into Workday as we possibly can because it makes us more efficient.”