Workday Podcast: Avon’s Secrets for a Beautiful Global Deployment

What does it mean for a beauty company to scale new systems worldwide, and how can an organization strategically plan for the challenges that arise once the deployment dust has settled? Tina Hutchinson, director of Workday operational excellence at Avon, shares her experience.

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Audio also available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

The drivers of change can be diverse and numerous when a global HR deployment spans countries, time zones, and languages. The need for timely execution extends just as far and wide. In this podcast, I spoke with deployment veteran Tina Hutchinson, director of Workday operational excellence at Avon, about how to cover all contingencies with a strategy that takes a team around the world and well beyond the finish line. 

Below are a few highlights from Hutchinson, edited for clarity, about what she’s learned about successful deployments. (Note: This podcast was recorded before Brazil’s Natura & Co. acquired Avon, so some of the details may have changed.)

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  • “Everything works or doesn't work because of people. Nobody would disagree, I think, with the fact that you need a change lead or a change manager. But what I see all the time is, there's a role of a change manager defined, but it's not filled until halfway or three-quarters through the project. Because people feel, well, that's money we can save, because there's no change to manage yet. But I truly believe that's a critical role in the project that needs to be filled at the very beginning.”

  • “There is a lot of fear out there about resistance to change. But the fact is, people never like the system that they're on. But people also don't like changing systems. So that's the starting point. I think the very best thing you can do to build trust is to start with a really thorough migration plan. Because everybody has been burned in the past by some IT change going wrong. And they'll be a bit cynical about that.”

  • “When I first joined Avon, one of my main challenges was the huge complexity that was built into the processes. And we didn't know if we could change them, because we [were afraid] we would break something. Some smart person once said, ‘The best solution is the simplest solution.’ I think you need to bear that in mind and go back to very simple processes.”

  • “My advice to business leaders starting out with a deployment is that data and testing, in my experience, are always the two things that take longer, don't work as expected, can derail the project, and often need more people. So I would say [focus on] those two things during deployment.”

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