Aon Logo (source Aon) Aon to implement Workday Financial Management
Aon to implement Workday Financial Management

Workday has achieved a significant step in the acceptance of its relatively new Financial Management application with a planned roll out across Aon plc to support its 70,000 employees in 120 countries.

Aon will be using its own consultancy division, Aon Hewitt, to deploy the application across the business. This unit has a lot of experience in deploying HCM cloud solutions into businesses and it makes sense that the company would use its own resources rather than outside contractors. A successful implementation would give Aon Hewitt the necessary expertise to deliver Workday Financials into their customer base.

Jonathan Schembor, president of Cloud Solutions, Aon Hewitt certainly seems to believe that once completed Aon Hewitt will be able to offer such a service to its clients: “As a Workday Services Partner, we’ve helped hundreds of clients deploy and support Workday, and have seen the value of a unified finance and HR system in driving business results.

“By deploying Workday Financial Management across our organization, we will experience these benefits first-hand, helping us strengthen our capabilities and expertise in providing our clients with a full spectrum of services — from advisory, to deployment, and ongoing support — across all Workday products.”

Once deployed across the entire Aon plc group this will be one of the largest deployments for Workday Financial Management Solutions. Even if they do not deliver implementation services to Aon they will be an advocate for the solution within their enterprise customers.

Aon Hewitt are the largest Workday partners in EMEA following their acquisition of Kloud earlier this year. They have recently launched consultancy services in the UK, Ireland, France, Poland and the Netherlands and have deployed solutions in over 150 countries using more than 520 Workday consultants. If they employ some specialists to help with the implementation then this could kick start their foray into deploying finance software.

This is in the future though and while this may be a revenue stream for Aon Hewitt, which will deepen the relationship between Aon and Workday, they will need to complete a successful implementation first. What is clear are the KPI’s and objectives that Aon believe they can achieve from the implementation. Laurel Meissner, senior vice president and global controller, Aon commented: “To deliver the best services and solutions to our clients globally, it’s important to have a technology foundation that unifies our people and costs so we can gain the insights we need across our business.

“Overseeing accounting, financial reporting, and compliance for a large global organization requires a comprehensive understanding of our day-to-day financial performance. Workday will enable us to have more control over financial performance, with timely insights into the current state of the business and continuous innovation to help ensure we are always up-to-date with new standards and regulations for each region in which we operate.”

Aon has four objectives it expects to achieve from implementing Workday Financial management and completing the integration of its HCM platform with its financial management to create a central administration engine that will drive the business forward. Aon expect to:

  • Utilize built-in reporting and analytics to equip organizational leaders with real-time, actionable insights that will enable them to more quickly and confidently make informed decisions that drive client and shareholder value.
  • Increase financial data transparency and relevancy with one unified financial application for all accounting and reporting needs across business units and global offices. Using Worktags, Aon will also be able to easily analyze, drill down into, and report on data using dimensions such as a region, department, or customer, and take action to better drive results.
  • Realize efficiencies and improve productivity by reducing time spent on manual processes such as extracting and consolidating data for spreadsheet calculations. As a result, Aon will be able to redirect resources to more high-value work which will greatly impact business effectiveness.
  • Further empower its on-the-go, global workforce to access information and take action, where and when needed.

There is no mention of how long this will take to achieve but it seems likely that this news will also be talked about at Workday Rising to be held in Dublin at the beginning of December. Aon are both a platinum partner for and heavily involved in presentations at this event giving them plenty of opportunity to talk about their experience of Workday Financial Management.

In delivering the cloud HCM platform so successfully into businesses it will be interesting to see whether Aon Hewitt can also talk CFO’s into migrating their finance application onto the same platform. Aon Hewitt has been successful in Europe recently in helping Workday win business away from the traditional providers such as SAP (See: Workday to kick out SAP again) and Oracle, once they have completed the installation it will be a key reference going forward.

Aneel Bushri, CEO and Founder Workday Source Linkedin)
Aneel Bushri, CEO and Founder Workday

The depth of the relationship is clear in that it was Aneel Bhusri, co-founder and CEO, Workday who commented on this latest piece of news for Workday saying: “As one of the world’s largest and most successful insurance brokers and professional services firms, Aon’s selection of Workday Financial Management underscores that global business leaders continue to look for a cloud-first, data-driven approach to real-time finance as a way to gain and maintain a competitive edge.

“With Workday, Aon will be able to access deeper insights across all of its business units, helping leaders better align financial and employee performance to drive global business growth.”

Conclusion

This is another good win for Workday. Although somewhat “in house” it demonstrates that the Financial Management solution is capable of supporting the largest of multinational enterprises in the same way that its HCM platform does.

With the announcement of Dynamics AX by Microsoft being launched in early 2016 the market is about to become more crowded. Workday will need to maintain its sales push and growth path in these large corporates. Once the implementation is complete, with Aon plc as an advocate of the Financial Management application Workday should be capable of accelerating the success of its Financial Application to match the HCM cloud solution.

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Steve Brooks
Steve Brooks has worked in IT for nearly 30 years, working through different roles to CIO in a number of vertical markets including Finance, Manufacturing and Real Estate. A qualified Project Manager. He spent 17 years at Savills plc, a FTSE 250 real estate company, rising to CIO before leaving in 2012. Steve is Director of Consultancy at Synonym Ltd and while studying at Henley Business School for his MBA was deputy editor at www.business-cloud.com, a Dods Group publication. He joined CIC as an associate consultant in 2013. He is a member of BCS and an associate member of the Institute of Directors.

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