Support by UW Leadership

June 16, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

The Workday HR/Payroll Modernization implementation represents more than a best-in-class choice for the University today and into the future. It is truly an investment in our workforce. This “modernization” will bring huge wins from how we onboard employees and ensure they have access to their benefits and payroll elections to allowing managers and employees to complete HR transactions online in real time.

An image of Mindy Kornberg, Vice President of UW Human ResourcesWhile this enormous effort and investment is called “HR/Payroll Modernization,” it is a misnomer. Why? The University has never had an enterprise-wide HR system. Instead, we have made do with HEPPS and OPUS, and through some strong and thoughtful work by the HR Information Systems team, along with our friends in UW-IT who have compiled informative workforce data.

If part of your job involves HR-related tasks today, you know there are lots of paper forms, hard copy signatures, and routing of paperwork to and from offices. Paper that can get lost, approval timelines that can get slowed down because a field was missed on a form, and general confusion as to where something is in “the process.”

Investing in an HR system will have profound benefits as those involved in managing human resources will be able to spend more time on client service while spending less time on tracking down approvals, data entry, and managing paper files. At the institutional level, a modern HR system will allow us to quickly and accurately comply with regulations and reporting requirements from the local, state, and federal level.

There has been an enormous effort by the project team, UWHR staff, and HR colleagues from across the UW envisioning how best to move UW’s human resources-related processes into a modern HR system. I am deeply grateful and in awe of their work thus far and look forward to seeing their work come to life as we move through the configuration portion of the project.

Mindy Kornberg, JD
Vice President for UW Human Resources
Sponsor, HR/Payroll Modernization

March 9, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

When I started working at the University 20 years ago, I couldn’t believe the systems that supported the institution’s critical administrative operations were so antiquated. Since then, the University has grown significantly in scope, scale and complexity. In that time, we’ve hidden many of our administrative systems behind more user-friendly screens, but the underlying technology is still the same. With the launch of our new Workday HR and payroll system later this year, we are beginning to replace that outdated technology.

An image of Kelli TrosvigThis launch marks a major step forward in the University’s efforts to modernize our administrative infrastructure—the first of several system replacements on the horizon. With it, we are leapfrogging a generation of technology, bringing a comprehensive, modern and integrated system to the UW that can offer the level of support and information our faculty, staff and students need and deserve.

For those who support technology across the University, this is an exciting time. The new system will reduce the effort of running side- and departmental-systems, enabling us to focus on more important work. It will improve our ability to support teaching and research, and provide an opportunity to work with new technologies. Product upgrades every six months will bring substantial innovations, continually introducing new HR/Payroll features and capabilities to the University.

The HR/Payroll Modernization effort is a major undertaking that has been embraced across the UW community with energy, enthusiasm, and the willingness to help. We appreciate all of your hard work to make this project a success and will need your continued engagement, input and support as we move down the homestretch into testing and prepare for launch. For those of us who have worked here since HEPPS and green screens, this has been quite a journey. We look forward to bringing you the highest caliber of IT systems to provide better support for your work and for our world-class University.

Kelli Trosvig
Vice President for UW Information Technology and Chief Information Officer
Sponsor, HR/Payroll Modernization

November 18, 2014

Dear Colleagues,

As we continue to prepare for the University’s conversion to Workday, it is important to recognize the outstanding efforts made by everyone involved in the project so far, particularly as the Design phase is now complete. People from across all three campuses have dedicated their time and effort focusing on the success of the HR/Payroll Modernization project, finding the time for the work on top of their regular duties and busy schedules.

The new HR/Payroll system’s benefits will have a broad reach to the University community, including faculty, staff, students, unit administrators, and central administration. The huge investment of time and resources today will yield innumerable benefits in the future. Given the competing demands that everyone participating in the project is experiencing, please be patient but persistent in seeking resolution to your needs, recognizing that small lags in response time or inadvertent oversights are a temporary sacrifice in the pursuit of a state-of-the-art, integrated system.

One of the largest undertakings that Academic Personnel is currently engaged in is the preparation of faculty data to be loaded into the Workday system. This is a labor-intensive task to which our Strategy and Information Management (SIM) team has already devoted many weeks, and will continue to dedicate themselves to as we progress through the project. The benefits of this specific work will be an increase in the accuracy and availability of faculty data after the conversion and a reduction in duplicate entries caused by the various shadow systems currently in use. Units will have access to historical faculty data and trend analysis not currently available to them. By having an integrated HR information system, there will be a single source of truth; both central administration and unit administration can be confident that going forward, the data and reports they generate will be accurate and consistent across the University.

As we all continue to devote our time, energy, and expertise to the preparation and implementation of this vital system improvement, please find ways to recognize each other for the important work that’s being done. Thank you to each and every one of you for your commitment to our collective success in this transformative endeavor.

Cheryl Cameron
Vice Provost for Academic Personnel
Sponsor, HR/Payroll Modernization

August 19, 2014

Dear Colleagues,

The national health care system is experiencing transformational change at a faster pace than any other period in time since the inception of Medicare. Keeping pace with these changes, which are accompanied by enhanced reporting and regulatory compliance issues, requires information technology. To remain among the best health care systems in the country, UW Medicine is making significant investments in IT.

An image of Paul Ishizuka, Medical Centers Finance Officer & AVP for Medical AffairsIn the last several years, we have implemented:

  • Cerner and EPIC, electronic health record systems;
  • Patient admissions and financial billing systems;
  • Kronos, an electronic system for time and attendance;
  • SumTotal, a learning management system to provide online training.

We are enthused about the decision to replace the 32-year-old legacy  payroll system. Our current payroll system is antiquated, lacking modern HR capabilities and reporting functionality, and requires updates to be coded in a programming language now considered outdated.

The University of Washington and the Medical Centers will be able to adopt industry standard pay practices and reporting through the new Workday system. At the Medical Centers, we will be able to reduce some of the current non-value added workload to process and verify payroll. Our employees will be able to match their pay to hours worked in a way that makes sense. We also will add features that make managing personal affairs easier for the staff, including more direct deposit options and online benefits enrollment.

The critical success factor for the project is the willingness and ability of the staff and leadership to manage the changes necessary to install the new system on time and on budget, and to achieve the expected benefits of the new system. Please join me, the executive sponsors, the project team, and the leadership and staff at all levels of the organization to make this project successful so we can serve our employees and the mission that they fulfill every day.

Paul Ishizuka
UW Medicine, Medical Centers Finance Officer
Associate Vice President for Medical Affairs
Sponsor, HR/Payroll Modernization

August 19, 2014

Executive Sponsors share messages of support in the August 2014 UW@Work newsletter.

April 4, 2014

As part of the University of Washington's vision to be "Tomorrow's University Today," we have made the decision to move forward with HR/Payroll Modernization – an exciting and much-needed project. Why? Because we can't be tomorrow's leaders if we're using yesterday's technology and work practices. HR/Payroll Modernization is an investment in our technology and, more importantly, in our people. Our University is world-class in research, teaching, and scholarship. This modernization effort will complete the circle and give our employees the tools and best practices they need to operate at that world-class level.

An image of V'Ella Warren, Senior Vice PresidentThis spring, after a couple of years of planning and preparatory work, we have reached an important milestone – the start of implementation of our new HR and payroll system. We will have a new system and new ways of handling work in the HR and payroll areas. With the quick implementation timeline, this project requires agility, determination, and cooperation. We must work hard to change "the way we've always done it" and pave the way for how such efforts will be done in the future. The benefits to be realized are substantial. We will be able to standardize our processes, eliminate a high error rate in our HR and payroll functions, become more sustainable by reducing paper use, and gain the ability to focus on strategic planning instead of administrative intervention.

I share with you the words of Henry Ford, "Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success." We look forward to this success and many more.

V’Ella Warren
Senior Vice President

December 4, 2013

Provost Ana Mari Cauce sheds additional insight on the project:

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August 29, 2013

In the last several years, we have focused extensively on positioning the University of Washington as the model for public higher education. Working cooperatively across the University, we created a vision in which the University of Washington is more competitive, collaborative, and nimble, incorporating technology that effectively enables that vision.

Michael Young, PresidentWe must lead change in higher education not only through our teaching and learning, but also administratively. HR/Payroll Modernization is a significant initiative supporting this latter objective and helping make our vision a reality. An updated technology platform will support modern practices for Human Resources and Payroll, creating efficiencies within those systems, providing comprehensive data for strategic planning, increasing compliance management, and facilitating accountability at every level of the University. These efficiencies will enable better recordkeeping, ensuring that employees can be confident in the reliability and accuracy of individual benefits accrual and the payroll process.

I'm extremely excited about the many benefits we'll realize from this important effort and wholeheartedly support the investment of time, expertise, and resources. This collaborative initiative is just another example of how the University of Washington is Tomorrow’s University Today.

Michael K. Young
President, University of Washington

May 16, 2013

Dear Colleagues,

Constant change seems to have become our new normal. It can be both exciting and create disruption.   It can also inspire action. We do know that to move forward, change is a necessity. As we wrap up the academic year, I want to bring you up to date about a change that is on the horizon – one that will help us work smarter to remain a strong and competitive University.

As I’ve mentioned in earlier communications, HR/Payroll Modernization is a major initiative to replace our existing payroll system and implement a modern human resources and payroll system. The impacts and benefits from this modernization will touch every member of our workforce.

I am writing to update you on three key accomplishments this year: the system procurement, the redesign work on key HR and payroll processes, and the benchmarking effort.


More than 30 years ago, we implemented the Higher Education Payroll Personnel System (HEPPS), which was a technologically advanced payroll system at that time. In the intervening years, we've added two campuses, seen our research enterprise grow tremendously, watched the demand for our medical services skyrocket, and as a result, have doubled our workforce.

While the technology around us has changed dramatically from year to year, our payroll technology has remained the same and without companion human resource functionality. As a result, the existing payroll system has significant operational inefficiencies and service deficits, and it is increasingly difficult to keep pace with ever-changing regulatory requirements. This, along with the absence of an enterprise-wide HR system, has resulted in significant gaps that are being plugged by hundreds of specialized unit and departmental systems around the University, requiring daily heroics and more work for over-burdened and scarce resources – our people.

Expected Outcome

The HR/Payroll Modernization effort will transform the infrastructure supporting our workforce. It will significantly improve critical HR and payroll functions for the entire University (including recruiting, payroll, time and leave management, compensation and benefits management), strengthen regulatory compliance, deliver better information for decision making, and produce substantial efficiencies and productivity gains throughout UW units. As a result, it directly aligns with our Two Years to Two Decades Initiative to operate more effectively and efficiently while providing improved services.

University Involvement

While this is a multi-year project, we've taken significant strides in FY2013 to advance this very complex effort. A staged procurement process has been underway since September to help us identify the technology solution that will best meet our needs. I appreciate the work of the 75 subject matter experts and technical and functional advisors who have been involved in this strenuous and detailed system selection process. As the academic year draws to a close, we are about half way through the process.

This summer, two vendors will provide open demonstrations of their solutions on the Seattle campus, which will help us better envision our future state. A recommendation for a final vendor will be submitted to the Board of Regents in October and, if approved, routed to the State of Washington Office of the Chief Information Officer for approval shortly thereafter.

At the same time we’ve been advancing work to select a technology solution, some 300 representatives from the University's three campuses have worked tirelessly over several months to redesign key HR and payroll processes, using best practices as the starting point. This effort will conclude next month, and will help inform the selection and subsequent configuration of the new system.

Ana Mari Cauce, Provost and Executive Vice PresidentAnd finally, just this week we wrapped up an extensive data collection effort that will help us create a baseline of UW's current costs for supporting HR and payroll functions. Sample data was culled from 50 units that are representative of our diverse community. The data will now be validated, and then used to provide a benchmark against relevant peers and help support the need for change. This data will be an essential part of our business case to the Board of Regents for moving forward with this project.

You will receive more information about the HR/Payroll Modernization over the next several months to help you understand the proposed changes, opportunities for involvement, and any impact you may experience.

Remember that change is necessary to progress. It may be hard and painful at times, but we're in this together. And together we'll create a stronger and more competitive UW of the 21st century.


Ana Mari Cauce
Provost and Executive Vice President