Kelly Emo: The world we work in seems to be changing even faster each year, and developers hold the key for staying ahead. They're building the business capabilities that will give their organizations the power to respond to change, and even more importantly, they're coming up with innovative solutions to help their businesses thrive in change. They are the backbone of any technology-driven organization. What they create can propel a business forward, opens up new avenues for growth, and builds the future of work. On this episode of the Workday Podcast, Anu Parthiban, senior manager of HR technology at Discover, is sharing her journey on becoming a developer and a leader. And she's sharing her insights on leading a team of developers to achieve business success. I'm your host, Kelly Emo. Let's go ahead and dive in. So thank you for joining us today, Anu. Tell us a little bit about you. What led you to choose a career as a developer? And what brought you to your current role at Discover?
Anu Parthiban: Thanks for having me here today to share my experiences and Workday journey. I've been in the HCM space for over 22 years working with various ERP products like PeopleSoft and Workday. When I came to the United States back in 1998, I had a degree in social psychology but developed a keen interest in the field of HR and technology. So I went back to school and got a bunch of coding and HR-related classes and was really fortunate enough to find an amazing manager who was willing to take a chance on me. Over the course of several years, I progressed my career working in different industries in HR technology before landing at Discover Financials last fall. At Discover, I manage the Workday practice and have a team of 11 HR tech professionals who are subject matter experts and help support the various Workday modules.
Emo: That's quite a journey. That sounds great. I would be really interested also in exploring a little bit more about what was the inspiration for you to shift from a more traditional consulting area to leading developer teams. What really inspired you in that area?
Parthiban: So starting my Workday journey on the consulting side allowed me to get partner-certified, and I got to work on several different projects for various clients. This is a fast and fun way to pick up a lot of skills and learn while you earn. Once I moved from a Workday partner to a customer, I realized I'm not a fish in the ocean anymore. I was able to build strong, close relationships with my stakeholders and make an immediate impact on the organization. I would say look for opportunities around you and push yourself out of your comfort zone. When I moved from being a lead into a manager role, I seized the opportunity to form an offshore team in India, thus making myself a people manager instantly. Here currently at Discover, I'm working on a strategy to improve Workday adoption among our customers by providing ease of use and innovative solutions.
Emo: That's really interesting. Developers have so many opportunities today. What would you say really attracted you to building specifically on Workday as a direction?
Parthiban: When I made the shift from PeopleSoft to Workday, I fell in love with the ease of use and how intuitive the application is for both the end users and developers. Workday's UI is engaging and provides a great customer experience. As a developer, once I was able to connect the dots and understand core concepts like business process framework, configurable security, object model, and so much more, I was able to develop innovative solutions and add value to the business. Here at Discover, we use one of Workday's offerings called Success Plans, which offers comprehensive expertise, education, and support to help manage any skill gaps on my team. Workday is not an independent product. It's truly a community in the sense where you're able to interact with other customers, participate in design partner groups, and share solutions.
Emo: Really interesting. It sounds like a lot of opportunity for you and your developers to really engage with your business stakeholders, and Workday really helps foster that. For our audience here, what advice would you have for them, for them to build strong connections between their developer teams and their business stakeholders?
Parthiban: That is a great question. I would say step one is to get to know who your stakeholders are, start building a relationship with them, try to understand your customer's process and the problem you're trying to solve before configuring a solution. The thing I like about Workday is there's more than one way to develop a product or a process. I always like to present a couple of different options to my customers, calling out the pros and cons of each option so they can make a well-informed decision based on what works best for their organization. When solutioning, keep in mind not all problems can be solved with a technology solution. It's maybe a behavior change or end-user training that's required to solve the problem at hand. Lastly, I would say stay on top of Workday's product roadmap, system alerts, upcoming release enhancements, and share them proactively with your customers. Timely communication and action are key components in building that relationship and gaining the trust of your stakeholders.
Emo: Those are all really good points in terms of really keeping that connection between your development teams, your stakeholders, continuous communication really being a key part of that. Really, really good points. You've done a lot with the Discover. Would you mind sharing with our audience some of the capabilities that you and your team have built on Workday and potentially some things about what's next?
Parthiban: At the beginning of this year, Discover made the decision to move to a hybrid workplace model. Employees local to the Chicago metro area were expected to follow a core schedule and come into the office a couple of days a week. To track this request and approval process, we built a flexible work arrangement application using Workday Extend in just under three weeks using the support of our Workday partner. Both our employees and the leadership team truly valued the convenience of submitting the requests and tracking the approvals all within the same app without having to leave the Workday interface. Another application that we had recently built using Extend was to support our company's requirements for multi-state taxation. An employee is required to submit a form in Workday if they anticipate working in a different jurisdiction outside of their assigned work location for more than 30 consecutive days in a year.
Parthiban: Before I speak about some of our upcoming projects, I want to say these are some forward-looking statements. We are currently looking to implement an interview scheduling Workday to support our talent acquisition teams. We are also in the process of changing our contingent workforce system from Coupa to VNDLY, which is also a Workday product. I'm super excited about the future and looking forward to partnering with Workday to build innovative solutions and provide better customer experience.
Emo: So, Anu, before we wrap up, I just want to leave the audience with kind of a parting thought. What would be a piece of advice you would have for a new developer who maybe is just starting their journey developing on Workday?
Parthiban: Great question. I would say reach out to your peers and network with your partners. Workday Community is a great resource that has an ocean of information, whether you're connecting with other similar customers or you're using their next-level series, knowledge-sharing sessions. Use the resources that's available at hand to improve your knowledge about Workday or the specific functional areas that you're being focused on. Shadow your peers, or just talk to your customers. Get to know more about the processes that you're supporting so you can develop better solutions that works best for the business.
Emo: Anu, thank you so much for spending time with me today and sharing your journey here on this podcast.
Parthiban: Oh, thank you for having me. It's been a great opportunity attending DevCon and networking with my peers and getting to know more about Workday Extend and all the other cool innovations that Workday is coming out with. Thank you again.
Emo: You've been listening to the Workday podcast with our guest, Anu Parthiban. If you enjoyed what you heard today, be sure to follow us wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. And remember, you can find our entire catalog at workday.com/podcast. I'm your host Kelly Emo, and I hope you have a great workday.