Workday Professional Services Innovation Awards Winners 2023

We’re delighted to share how our professional services customers are planning with agility, finding efficiencies in finance, and improving the employee experience. Read on to learn this year’s category winners for the Workday Industry Innovation Awards.

In this article, we discuss:

At Workday, we value our growing and inspiring professional services community where customers collaborate, innovate, and share best practices with each other.

To celebrate this community’s achievements, we’re delighted to share the 2023 winners of the first annual Workday Professional Services Innovation Awards. Announced at Workday Rising, these awards honor customers who consistently cultivate improvements across their organization, support and empower their peers, and advance the industry.

“The professional services community continues to prove their commitment to innovation,” says Patrice Cappello, managing director of the professional and business services industry at Workday. “We are incredibly excited to recognize both our winners and finalists as they invest in their firms and drive transformation.”

Without further ado, here are the stories behind our Workday Professional Services Innovation Awards winners.

Platform Rock Star Award: CrossVue

Leaders from CrossVue accept the Platform Rock Star Award from Patrice Cappello at Workday.

CrossVue, a boutique technology consulting firm, provides clients with the blueprint to modernize their operations and processes through Workday. Just over a year ago, CrossVue spun out as an independent organization from a larger consulting firm. The company soon realized that in order to provide a better employee experience, it needed to leverage the right technology to empower its people.

Through an initiative called Project PeopleVue, CrossVue rolled out a comprehensive workforce management solution that included Workday Financial Management, Workday Human Capital Management (HCM), and Workday Professional Services Automation (PSA) solutions. 

“We wanted to refocus our internal teams to be more strategic to continue to innovate and spend their time supporting our consultants rather than manipulating data,” says Amy Gibbs, director, people and culture, CrossVue. “We also wanted to ensure that we created an employee experience centered around our consultants.”

To provide a true self-service experience, CrossVue built dashboards that helped consultants track their real-time progress toward meeting their utilization targets and see which projects they’re forecasted to work on. Prior to going live with Workday, this process involved pulling time-tracking data from multiple systems and analyzing it in spreadsheets. 

“Sometimes calculations were getting a little bit rough,” says Jonathan Roth, senior consultant, Workday HCM reporting at CrossVue. “This gave us one unified solution to report utilization accurately across the board. Now it’s as easy as just logging in to Workday and clicking one button.”

In addition, CrossVue created a dashboard that helps managers staff and forecast accurately, and another dashboard for its executive team to analyze utilization trends across different areas of the company month over month, and by divisions and service lines.

“We were impressed by the results, which created opportunities for our business to scale at a much faster pace,” says Gibbs. “We also simplified operations and reporting, and reduced the administrative burden of our team. This elevated the work of our team.”

Through Workday, the team can also continuously make improvements to stay nimble and support the organization’s evolving needs.

“We are so excited that Workday has allowed us to continue to innovate,” says Gibbs. “At the end of the day, it allows us to drive recognition and bonus awards for our organization to continue to create a great experience.”

Scalable Services Award: Accenture

Leaders from Accenture accept the Scalable Services Award from Patrice Cappello and Alison Natali at Workday.

Accenture is a leading global professional services company with 738,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. To better empower all its people, the company set out to build a talent planning platform that’s more efficient, effective, and scalable. 

After first identifying the project’s criteria, Accenture selected a use case around leader headcount planning, with a goal of building a solution that was a minimum viable product (MVP).

When Accenture forecasted its headcount before using Workday Adaptive Planning, the process involved many moving parts that had to work in concert. It made operational planning complex. 

“Complex” might be an understatement—leadership headcount planning included 10,000 leaders, 5 dashboards, 35 reports, and 2 million calculations. To avoid getting bogged down in this challenging environment, the delivery methodology was to build fast and be agile.

“We were able to build an MVP in three months, which really surprised the Accenture folks involved in the program,” says Nicole Muench, global talent supply chain leader for global HR at Accenture. “Had we done this as a custom solution, it probably would have taken 3 to 4 times as long.” 

And Accenture continued to expand on the MVP, adding more functionality to support its customers. The delivery model worked, so Accenture rolled out seven solutions in total using Workday Adaptive Planning, including equity planning, chargeability targeting, and leadership financial metrics. 

“I want to call out the flexibility of Workday Adaptive Planning,” says Therese Dahlberg, CIO, HR product manager, Accenture. “We’ve been able to scale Workday Adaptive Planning successfully and bring these enterprise solutions to Accenture, and allow our users to do their work efficiently and effectively. Our data is now more connected and secure, and the process is more automated.”

“This significantly reduced the amount of time and effort with contract setup.”

Beth Whitaker Senior Financial Applications Analyst Cognizant

Smart Money Award: Cognizant

Leaders from Cognizant accept the Smart Money Award.

Formerly Collaborative Solutions, Cognizant’s Workday Practice helps organizations transform their finance, HR, and student management programs. Cognizant is also our longest-tenured Workday Services Partner and customer. 

Cognizant realized it had numerous invoice layouts for the same types of transactions, often with minor differences between versions. And with multiple invoice types, the risk of selecting the wrong type increased. The company’s contract setup was also time-consuming. Teams created 200 new contracts each month and each one had anywhere from two to three transaction-based contract lines.

“Our billing team was manually creating billing schedules separately for each line,” says Beth Whitaker, senior financial applications analyst at Cognizant. “And then each of those billing schedules was also undergoing a two-step approval process, which was on top of the overall contract review and approval process. It was very inefficient.”

Cognizant identified three big goals: reduce the number of invoice types and layouts, automate the creation of transaction-based billing schedules, and streamline the approval process for contract setup.

IT leaders created a company custom object to help solve the complex banking setup and provide more flexibility in the invoice types and naming fields they could store and display. They simplified and streamlined the invoices. For example, they now have one single invoice type for project expenses and for each type of transaction, when they used to have three. And they’re able to implement billing schedule templates.

“We were able to then implement the new functionality that was released in 2023, including the contract line level billing schedule templates added to our contract templates,” says Whitaker. “This significantly reduced the amount of time and effort with contract setup.” 

The final part of the solution was the approval process. Cognizant implemented business process step conditions to eliminate the approval requirement. Now there’s a single all-encompassing review. 

Cognizant achieved significant outcomes:

  • Invoice layouts decreased from 38 to 8
  • Invoice types went from 22 to 8
  • Monthly inbox tasks for the contract lead and the revenue manager decreased by roughly 520

Happy Colleagues Award: Accenture

Leaders from Accenture accept the Happy Colleagues Award.

Accenture built two Workday Extend solutions, and the underlying reporting and infrastructure needed, to solve critical problems for its managing directors (MDs) and client account teams.

MDs at Accenture handle multiple accounts and are tasked with achieving many goals and priorities. To make their jobs easier, Accenture needed to help them better understand what was being asked of them to complete their priorities. For example, what should their priorities be? How do they work with their leadership and their organizations to have the right priorities? And then how do they make sure they’re staying aligned on those priorities with their leadership? 

All of this would help assist their talent discussions and performance outcomes.

This gave birth to Accenture’s MD Success application, created via Workday Extend. Accenture replaced generic inputs with innovative features such as a sliding scale to determine priority impact. Both the MD and a reviewer could assess their impact and give feedback. The application captured a more robust assessment of an MD’s impact and behaviors. It was a huge success.

“We had an incredible adoption of this tool,” says Katie Baker, managing director, global HR solutions at Accenture. “We had a more than 75% adoption rate of this process with over 41,000 priorities reviewed. That shows that the ease and simplicity of using the tool really helped our people.”

Accenture also developed another Workday Extend tool in the past year called the Client Account Input. Now the client teams have a clear voice during discussions and can weigh in on recommendations for projects. This also helped talent leads understand the needs of the client teams and have all the information necessary to make better decisions. 

This year, more than 69,000 people have received client account feedback and last year more than 13% of their people received input from their client teams.

“As a professional services company, people are our product,” says Nate Brown, managing director, Workday delivery lead at Accenture. “And so providing performance management capabilities and continuous feedback and making it relevant in the flow of the work that they do is essential for us.”

Innovating and Transforming

Workday is committed to helping our professional services customers try new Workday solutions and ultimately drive innovation.

“Our goal is to foster creativity in our customers to innovate beyond the Workday platform," says Cappello. “The partnerships that we have created in this industry are paramount to the continued success of our customers as they look to deliver successfully. We look forward to seeing even more submissions in 2024 as we continue to grow the professional services community.”

Congratulations to the winners, and thank you to all our professional services customers for your continued commitment to Workday. We are excited to see all the innovative work next year.

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