The project will deliver operational efficiencies and move one step closer to meeting the Government’s target of a true Digital First public sector by 2020.

HEFCE is powering ahead with the government’s Digital First agenda by choosing Workday, a cloud based ERP solution, to replace its existing HR, Payroll and Financial platforms.

Choosing market newcomer Workday makes HEFCE the first UK public sector agency to move away from traditional vendors and embrace more innovative, agile ways of working.

“We felt that of all the vendors we looked at Workday was a natural choice as they were, we believed, the only truly multi-tenanted, cloud based solution that would enable us to deliver a sound return on investment, now and in the future,” said Alison Jarvis, Head of Finance at HEFCE.

Embarking on what is set to be a truly digital transformation, HEFCE chose Kainos WorkSmart as its Workday implementation partner via the GCloud9 tender process.

Kainos WorkSmart’s extensive expertise as a dedicated Workday consultancy, coupled with unrivalled experience in leading a number of Digital First programmes across the UK public sector, was a factor in the decision.

“We chose Kainos WorkSmart as our implementation partner primarily because of its understanding of the public sector. We were conscious that choosing a vendor like Workday is new territory for us, and having Kainos WorkSmart on board with its knowledge of similar projects in the public sector was a way of mitigating any perceived risk,” Jarvis added.

The challenges HEFCE faced were threefold: an aggressive timeline of six months to implement Workday HCM, Finance and Payroll modules across the organisation; increasing pressure on government budgets, and the need to show a return on investment that is now practically a prerequisite to any project.

Jarvis also had other concerns to balance: “We were living with legacy systems that meant we were focused on transactions, not growth. We choose Workday because nothing else would enable us to deliver the future. I felt that of all the implementation partners we considered, Kainos WorkSmart was really invested in our success and had a genuine drive to see us succeed. Its informal approach and its effort in engaging with our people was vital.”

Padraig Callaghan, Head of Public Sector at Kainos WorkSmart, led the HEFCE project from the outset, putting together an agile team that had the experience and understanding to guide HEFCE through considerable transformational change.

“HEFCE could see that we were committed to and shared their focus on enabling success. We were able to effectively demonstrate not only that we had an excellent reputation in both working in the public sector and as a Workday consultancy, but that our teams were empathetic to and could work collaboratively with theirs to grow their capabilities along the way. We work as an extension of their team in an open and honest way which makes us approachable and the project more efficient,” said Callaghan.