How Workday® Makes Integration Easier

How Workday Makes Integration Easier.jpg

Two things drive competitive advantage in today’s rapidly-changing business environment: the user experience and integrated enterprise systems. Finding applications that can handle business functions is easy – there are thousands of providers, and several will surely meet your needs.

Connecting them has always been difficult. With many disparate platforms, organizations often had to rely on expensive middleware or a large IT staff. Today, Workday® and other cloud providers are creating plug-in connections that make the integrations easier and much less costly.

Integrating enterprise platforms is a critical business competency, but one that many companies struggle to achieve when the options are managing a large number of custom integrations or using very expensive middle ware.

The Workday® Approach

Watching the way Workday® has disrupted the enterprise software industry has been a study in service delivery. While the major enterprise software providers were chasing comprehensive functionality and complexity, Workday® brought us a new way of thinking about existing technology and the how it is delivered. The strategy, from our viewpoint, is based on simplicity, ease of use, and a relentless focus on service.

In Workday®, integration is core service, fundamental to the platform design. Workday® builds each of its applications and services on the principle that they must connect to other business systems to be useful to the customers.

Workday® Services

At the core of Workday® services are comprehensive sets of standard APIs grouped by functional areas. These services support all interaction with Workday®, and they inherit the security permissions of the user. The services use open standards (SOAP and REST) compatible with other standards-based platforms and middleware. Workday® provides these services in four ways:

  • Business Services are the primary way to interact with functional operations. The services operate with business events and objects in Workday® to return related datasets that you can configure to operational requirements.
  • Reporting Services are designed to deliver data using selectable standard messaging protocols (SOAP, REST, JSON, and RSS). Services are configurable, and can use calculated fields, giving customers the means to define and create custom APIs without programming.
  • Outbound Message Services provide external notification of business events in Workday® so the external systems can query and process details about the transactions.
  • Monitoring Services expose Workday® metadata so external applications can monitor the scheduling and execution of integration events.
  • These four services are the connection between Workday® applications and the Workday® Integration Cloud platform. They form what is to us the first layer of integration with any external platform.

Workday® Integration Cloud

The Workday® Integration Cloud is an integration-platform-as-a-service (iPaaS) that provides a complete range of services to connect to any application. While you can build any integration you like using middleware or your on-premises integration infrastructure, Workday®’s services make it unnecessary. The platform eliminates the need for on-premises integration support. Everything you need is housed in Workday®’s data centers, and you manage it using the Workday® UI.

Enterprise Interface Builder

EIB is a tool that enables users to create integrations without programming. It has a graphical interface that guides business users through a three-step process to send data to external applications.

  1. The Get Data step consists of specifying the data source, usually a custom report, and choosing the data format. By specifying the format that the receiving endpoint requires, you can reduce or eliminate the need for transformation.
  2. In the Transformation step, you can use the built-in user interface or upload your custom XSLT. Most often, the integration the data format you choose at the Get Data step is sufficient, so it does not require transformation.
  3. In the Deliver step, you define the target endpoint, whether it is your own tenant or an external application. You select the transport protocol from a list, and can provide a PGP key to compress and encrypt the transmission. You can sequence multiple files, define the filenames, and control document retention.

You can create inbound processes, but in many cases, a simple file upload will handle the job. To make file uploads easier, Workday® can generate a worksheet to use as a template for uploading data to the EIB. The template allows you to add or delete columns and to add comments to guide other users who will enter data. See this article about EIB for more information.

HR System Integrations

Workday® Integration Cloud Connect

Workday® Integration Cloud Connect is an integral component of the platform. It is a core service that consists of pre-built integration packages that connect the external application to Workday®. By developing a flexible, configurable package for each of these needs, Workday® achieves economies of scale for its customers and rapid deployment with no coding.

Workday® Connectors are integration packaged developed with Workday® partners to provide a fully supported connection to their applications, including Kronos, Cornerstone OnDemand, Salesforce, American Express, ADP, E-Verify, and many others. There are also custom development connectors for specific data sets such as Worker Sync, Organizations, or Job Profiles. Workday® tests these integrations with every release so you can always trust that they will be compatible in the future.

Cloud Connect packages are collections of connectors for integrating with third-party systems, such as benefits and payroll. They include data mapping, validation, and formatting tools. Some integrations might require the customer to apply formatting and transformation to prepare them for the external application.

Workday® Studio

You can handle most of your integrations in Workday® using pre-configured connectors in Workday® Cloud Integration, but situations do occur where a connector doesn’t exist, or you have a unique requirement that requires the skills of a developer. For this purpose, Workday® provides Studio, a graphical tool for integration developers. It is a set of plugins in the Eclipse IDE, with a complete set of drag-and-drop components.

The assembly framework provides all the components you need such as splitting, transforming, aggregating, and streaming. It also provides all the standard transports in addition to the Workday®-In and Workday®-Out transports.

Integrating Workday HCM with SumTotal LMS

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Workday® is the employee system of record for many enterprises. These companies also have human capital management platforms from other vendors to handle the unique needs of their businesses.

To enable these platforms to work together, Workday® provides a variety of tools designed to manage the flow of data between them. These include open, standards-based web services, the Workday® Integration Cloud Platform, Enterprise Interface Builder (EIB), and Workday® Studio, a sophisticated tool for skilled developers.

Workday® Integration Cloud provides pre-built connections with other enterprise applications. Workday® provides and manages the connectors. However, there is no default connector available for SumTotal, so most customers end up doing custom integrations.

Workday® eases the pain for ElixHR customers with pre-built integration for Workday®, but for customer who have SumTotal Learn or Perform without the ElixHR integration add-on, the need for a custom solution remains.

The solution is to use EIB to send data from Workday® to SumTotal, and a custom Workday® Studio integration to bring training data back into Workday®.

For the EIB integration, create a custom report in Workday® with the following data:

  • employee personal information,
  • location,
  • manager relationship,
  • organization,
  • job data, and
  • skills and competencies.

Create transformation steps in EIB to format the data to SumTotal DSU specifications and generate a flat file for processing into SumTotal Learn using the nightly process.

For the data transfer from SumTotal to Workday®, build a custom Studio integration in Workday® to receive SumTotal roster management web services to pull activity completions. This will allow you to retain training information in Workday® for reporting, employee development, and succession planning.

Be sure to schedule the activities for the overnight data feed so records are up to date. Since Workday® is the system of record, we recommend transferring the EIB file to SumTotal before processing the SumTotal file for Workday®.

We hope this helps you manage your integrations so you can achieve the full performance value of both platforms.

Workday tools for SAP integration

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Integrating cloud platforms with traditional ERP platforms like SAP is difficult, and ERP integration methods like SAP’s Application Link Enabling (ALE) are limited and inflexible. Attempts to improve flexibility have compounded the complexity. For most IT organizations, integrations between systems is a difficult, budget-consuming endeavor. Since large ERP vendors are systems of record, their requirements control the relationships.

Workday® is breaking the logjams by creating packaged integration solutions, flexible tools, and advanced developer platforms. As more SAP users implement Workday® as the system of record for worker information, Workday® has standardized the approaches to SAP integration, among others in its cloud integration platform.

Workday® Integration Services

Workday® has unified all the many ways to integrate data flow into a single Enterprise Service Bus (ESB). The platform provides three ways to deploy integrations: packaged services, tools for business users, and tools for integration developers.

Connectors and Toolkits. Where the number of integrations makes it feasible, Workday® creates and maintains packaged services pre-configured for specific external platforms or toolkits for external vendor types. These include payroll vendors, benefits providers, financial systems, procurement, and many others.

Enterprise Interface Builder is a graphical tool for business users and analysts. Users can extract and load data using Excel spreadsheets, and package data sets using standard data formats, protocols, and transports.

Workday® Studio is a full-featured developer tool for creating and maintaining Web Services integrations. It includes a graphical IDE and pre-packaged components. It is customizable with Java, Spring, or third-party interfaces.

Workday® Services

Workday® maintains internal services that make data integration easier and more transparent than traditional ETL operations. These are configurable services that handle data extractions without programming.

Business Management Services return data sets from the major functional areas in Workday®. The operations correspond to business events and business objects in Workday®. They return large data sets but can be configured to return subsets.

Reporting Services, known as Reports as a Service (RaaS), are used to define and create custom REST/SOAP APIs. You define the data set and package it for Workday® or any third-party integration tool.

Outbound Messaging Services provide real-time notifications to external applications when business events occur in Workday®. The workflow behind the event is configured to push an outbound message to a subscribing ALE system. The subscribing system can then query Workday® to get details about the event.

Infrastructure Services expose Workday® metadata to external applications to extend the functionality of integrations. External applications can monitor the execution of integration events to see the status and when and how data will come from Workday®.

SAP/Workday® Integration

Integrations between Workday® and SAP use a combination of Workday® Services, Connectors, and Studio Web Services APIs.

The most common implementation model for SAP customers who use Workday® is to make Workday® the system of record for people information and SAP the financial system of record.

Maintaining SAP HCM

SAP maintains Human Capital Management information in Organization Management (OM) and Personnel Administration (PA). Once data migrates to Workday® Human Capital Management, OM and PA must still be maintained for payroll processing, financials, and workflow.

Organization, Position, and Job Connectors or Web Services in Workday® update OM in SAP. The Worker Connector or Web Service updates PA. The Workday® Document Transfer and Deliver process transforms the data into the SAP IDoc XML format.

Since the Workday® cloud is XML with an XSD, standard XSLT will transform the data into the data format the SAP IT group specifies. Workday® provides an XSLT library for validations and error-handling.

Cost Center Updates

When cost center information changes in SAP, it is necessary to update Workday® when the event happens. The event triggers an IDoc to a Workday® Organization Connector or Web Service.

Worker Updates

Depending on the data needs of the existing SAP modules, updates to Worker records in Workday® will need to initiate a simple Worker Connector/Web Service or a Worker Full Stack via Web Services to SAP Personnel Administration.

SAP Mini Master

SAP created a small file requirement for maintaining Personnel Administration information for workflow routing in SAP applications. The typical file will have about a dozen fields.

For Mini Master files, the best practice is to use Connectors to generate the data.

  • Integration maps are configurable, reducing the risk of failure by eliminating extra processing nodes and the need for programmatic troubleshooting.
  • Workday® Core Connectors detect data changes on an object or event and deliver only those changes in the final file extract. The integration can be configured to manage the types of changes detected in the transaction log. SAP info-types can be mapped to Workday® transaction types.

SAP Payroll

If Mini Master is the current method of feeding master data to Payroll, the data feed will need to be expanded to run payroll, depending on what countries payroll may be running. This method may not capture sufficient information where in the cases of proration, retroactivity, and adjustments.

Workday® Cloud Connect for Third-Party Payroll can be a solution. It takes a top-of-stack approach by taking a snapshot of the transaction history and sending a full or changes-only extract file to SAP.

Workday® Studio will be the option if transactions must be sequenced.

Cloud Connector Workday® Studio will also be the best options for using a payroll processor other than SAP.

Using Workday® Payroll

If you are using Workday® Payroll, you will need to update SAP Financials after each pay run. In that case, a Workday® Custom Report and Enterprise Interface Builder will handle the job without programming.

Integrating Sales incentives with Workday


The growth of cloud technology has been a boon to sales organizations. We now have application suites that can handle anything sales needs to do: incentive compensation planning, sales performance management, analytics, risk management, employee development, and more. However, producing a paycheck for salespeople is quite another matter. For compensation, your sales platform must be integrated with your HCM and Payroll software.

Almost all companies who use Workday® rely on its Finance and Human Capital Management applications as their systems of record. Integration with other business applications such as CRM and sales support are necessary.

Workday® Integration Platform

From its earliest beginning, Workday® has made easy integration with other business applications a priority. Workday® provides a complete integration solution in:

  • Pre-packaged integration with Workday® Partners and Cloud Connect packages for 3rd party systems, with standardized connectors for Finance, Worker, Organization, and Job Profile synchronization. Workday® and its partners maintain and update these connectors, and provide a guided setup to simplify implementation.
  • Enterprise Integration Builder, which is an integration tool build for ordinary business users. It enables them to create integrations without programming using a three-step guided process.
  • Workday® Studio, a graphical IDE for developers, with drag and drop components for splitting, transforming, aggregating, and streaming using open standards.

Integrating Your Sales Platform

For integration with your sales platform, you will need two-way integration. Consider whether you will manage sales compensation in Workday®, the sales platform, or both. If you do not maintain the plans in Workday®, you will send worker information but not compensation plans.

  • Your first concern will naturally be what is best way to quick and accurate pay for your salespeople, but we urge you to consider analytics at the outset of your planning. Determine what information you need in each platform to produce the business intelligence that will help you make well-informed decisions.
  • Send worker information and each employee’s compensation plan, base pay, targets, any other required information to the sales platform. Decide the timing and frequency of your data transfers. You will probably want to send terminations daily, but other data less frequently.
  • The sales platform should accept a change file, but for some, you may be required to send a complete file each time.
  • Determine whether the sales platform can manage future dated worker transactions. If not, actions such as base pay changes should not be sent to the sales platform until they are effective.
  • Send retroactive changes to the sales platform, but you may need to handle retro payments in Workday®.
  • When an employee moves to a non-sales job, the employee should remain on the data feed from Workday® to the sales platform until payments are complete, including retro and future payments.
  • Map pay types and earnings codes in the sales platform to Workday® One Time Payment Plans. Make sure you identify all the components of compensation that affect earnings.

One last bit of advice: if you don’t have enterprise-wide integration strategy and governance, get started right away. Proliferation of easy integrations increases the likelihood your people will create bring-your-own integrations in the office. Establish standards and controls as soon as you can.

Integration of Workday with Employee verification vendors


Almost everyone in an HR organization is a knowledge worker who works on complex tasks. We know that when we interrupt knowledge workers, it can take 20 minutes or more for the person to get back in the “groove” on a complex task.  Even minor interruptions can have a significant impact on productivity.

One of the easiest and least costly means of ridding HR staff of untimely interruptions is to outsource employment verification inquiries.

Thousands of credit reporting agencies provide employment verification services as means of gathering information they need to provide their employment background check customers. It makes good business sense to provide the information in a daily integration to relieve staff and managers of the administrative burden, while at the same time providing a means to enforce standardization of appropriate information-sharing.

Employment Verification Service Integration

Workday® provides easy integration using the standard connector, Core Connector Worker, in the Workday® Integration Cloud.  The integration then uses a post processor to convert data into a vendor specific format and post a change file to the vendor SFTP server. The process should be scheduled, but you could also run it as an ad hoc process.

The following table is an example of the standard outbound file mapping.


Things to Consider

The National Association of Professional Background Screeners can provide all the information you need to get started, including vendor accreditation and certification for employment verification services and background check services.

There are some things you need to do to make sure you have the correct policies and procedures in place.

Decide what information you will provide. Work with your attorney to determine what your practices should be and establish the guidelines with your verification provider.

  • Many employers provide only employment dates and position. If you decide to provide reason for leaving, eligibility for rehire, salary information, or employment status, include that information in the file.
  • Many states have requirements for child care and other care providers to provide information to prevent a negligent hire. Check with your attorney to see what your requirements are.
  • Many employers do not provide any information, but will only verify information provided by the requester. If that is your policy, include that policy in your vendor agreement.
  • Make sure everyone in your company is in compliance with how to handle requests. Best practice is to require all requests to be referred to your provider.

Employment verification services can save you a lot of administrative overhead and lost productivity. They can also help you enforce policies that protect you from liability. If you are not taking advantage of this service now, we recommend you start doing so right away.

Integrating workday with ATS


Workday® Recruiting is a well-functional application, but many enterprises are still using applicant tracking systems (ATS) provided by other vendors. Many are happy with their current recruiting application, and others need special capabilities of a more robust platform.

Whether you are implementing Workday® to use with your current ATS or adding an ATS to your existing Workday® portfolio, you will want to create a smooth integration.

You can handle Integrating most recruiting applications with Workday® using the Enterprise Interface Builder (EIB), which is an integration tool built for ordinary business users. If you require a more robust integration, Workday® Studio is available for developers.

In most cases, users manage the entire recruiting process on the applicant tracking system and the ATS sends a file to Workday® when it is time to process the hire. If you are using Onboarding in Workday®, you will want to create the record when the applicant accepts the offer. (Since we are advocates of a vibrant onboarding experience, we recommend that approach.)

Prepare for Integration

Before you get started, we have several recommendations to help you get started.

  1. Map your processes from the time a manager becomes aware of a vacancy until the employee completes new hire processing and starts work.
  2. Determine which application you will use to manage each process. A good way to manage that is to color code the objects in your process maps.
  3. Determine what types of hiring you will be processing. For external hires, send a file from the ATS to Workday® to create the applicant record. For internal hires, the method will vary depending on how ATS handles internal hires. One method is to send a notification to HR to process the event using Job Webservice, Supervisory Organization, and Job Profile.
  4. Determine what fields you will send to Workday®. Some organizations send only enough information to create the applicant record. Others specify a complete file.
  5. Create a data mapping specification worksheet to define the requirements for your integrators. You can download a sample worksheet here. 
    Download Your File
  6. Test the integration, end to end. Test and retest until you have full confidence that the integration will work for every situation.                                                                                                           

 Other Considerations

  • One of the most troublesome areas in new hire processing is invalid employee addresses. A common practice is to have the Workday® integration process the record without the address and notify HR to have the applicant correct the address. Consider also the costs and benefits of using address validation at the point of entry. You could also consider automating creation of a task in Onboarding for the employee to correct the address.
  • Use data entry validations with carefully worded user messaging wherever you can. Help your applicants enter the correct information, but don’t be tedious.
  • How you trigger your integration will depend on the ATS you are using. In some cases, we set up the Workday® Listener Service to receive HTTP calls based on new hire event in the ATS.
  • Above all, be mindful of the candidate experience. Compliance and risk management are important, but make your enforcement as user-friendly as possible.

We hope this guide helps you with a smooth ATS/Workday® integration. If you have a question, leave it for us in the comment section below.

Greenhouse integration with workday

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Greenhouse is the most flexible application tracking system designed to improve your overall recruiting process and Workday is the leading provider of cloud based Human capital solutions for enterprises globally. Both these applications are being used by enterprises to satisfy their hiring and recruiting needs. Building integrations between these applications would make transfer of data easy and also enhance your new hire overall experience from recruitment and onboarding.

Let's review on few things important when integrating Greenhouse ATS with workday.

  1. Greenhouse uses http post call to send the data.
  2. Greenhouse uses webhook* CMS and posts the data to a URL with occurrence of an event.
  3. Need to make sure we configure webhook url using your greenhouse developer account. Provide webhook name, event to deliver the payload and end point url.
  4. Configure listener service in your workday studio that can listen to greenhouse http request.
  5. Using workday cloud explorer, specify the launch url later, this is nothing but our endpoint url

How this works:

Greenhouse webhook is configured in a way that whenever a hire event occurs in greenhouse, webhook will deliver the respective payload to the URL we specify. Once the payload is delivered, the listener service would automatically trigger the integration to load the payload and complete the integration. Store the payload to a variable using document accessor and then use the variable to continue with your integration.

*Webhook is a CMS used by Greenhouse and it uses a customized url that can be configured to send and receive data.

Consistent and seamless integration between your Greenhouse ATS and workday leads to maximum ROI for both the platforms and also enhances user experience of your user along with overall reduction in the maintenance burden for your administrators.

Debugging integrations With Workday


Integrations between different HCM systems and vendors get complex at times and we end up using multiple transformations and expressions to meet the requirements. Once the integration is launched after successful design and development of the integration, the output is delivered if everything goes well. If not the integration shows an error message which is too complex to locate in the cluster of components. This will end up in a position where we need to check the integration from starting so as to configure every step again until the error is identified and fixed. Considering these types of issues, there is a need to highlight the process to   troubleshoot problems in an assembly source code. Let’s go through some of the steps about how assembly debugging works in Workday®.

Steps involved in debugging an assembly:

Creating or Setting up a toggle assembly breakpoint : Breakpoints enable us to stop the integration at that particular step for analyzing before moving forward. Toggle assembly breakpoints can be added on all mediation steps and majority of other components.

For creating an assembly breakpoint, just right-click on the context you need to analyse and set the toggle assembly breakpoint. Breakpoint can be located by observing blue dot on the right corner of the component

However we cannot assign breakpoint to transport components, as their function is to kick off the assembly rather than processing an actual message.

Launching a debug session: Debug session can be launched from the cloud explorer. Select the respective integration in the cloud explorer then drill down the tree to the assembly start i.e., a in-transport node most likely Workday®-in node. Right click on that node and select Debug Integration.

  • After selecting Debug integration you will be asked to select the environment where you can make selections between sandbox and production. You can also select Document Retrieval options where documents can be loaded manually without waiting for the retrieval service to complete before debugging. Once this is configured, from the second and subsequent occasions when Debug Integration is selected through email, the previous configuration is loaded. After you click on Debug in the debug integration window. debug kicks off and Eclipse Perspective is changed to debug mode.
  • In the debug session we see a green box around the toggle assembly breakpoint component. This indicates that integration stops here until the user tells it to move to the next step. "Message root part" tab on the assembly debug view gives us the complete idea on entire contents of the message root part which is nothing but the message content of that particular component.

Once this is checked, we can move forward by clicking on the step over button on the top or use F6.

We can check for the outputs or results for mainly Eval expressions by clicking on the Scratchpad on the Assembly Debug view. We can write different expressions to obtain their respective results. For example in this integration the Eval Expression is picking up the names of the employees one by one from the splitter. So, we can enter an expression “props[“Name”]” to check the output of Eval step which is Logan McNeil.

  • If the debug process stops at executing any step then it indicates that there is an error at that specific point or in that component. Once the error is found we rectify the error accordingly.
  • Then once again after rectifying the error go to step 2 which makes you to deploy the integration again into the tenant so that your new file is deployed into the tenant before running the debug again.

This type of debugging help us to identify the exact root cause of the problem. So, we can act on that problem and debug again in the same process until all the issues with the integration are successfully debugged and resolved. We can determine the outcome by looking at the console which prints out the integration debug status messages.

Overall integrations tend to become complex, with efficient debugging methods and strategies, we would be able to find solution to our integrations issues in a better way.