Broward College is all about giving its vast student body of 68,000 students the access they need to achieve their educational and career goals. “We have an open door that provides access to students wherever they are in their educational process,” says J. David Armstrong, president of the college.
But Broward College’s commitment to access doesn’t stop at its student body. Since the college’s deployment of Workday, the administrative staff has gained access to the tools and data they need to help them operate more strategically. In turn, the college has been able to channel more resources into its most important goal: student success.
Workday helps us take our resources and push them toward students and student success, and less toward technology.
Executive Director for HR
A better way to change and adapt.
“We are student-focused and very much an academic institution,” says Armstrong. “But fundamentally, we still manage people. We have HR issues, just like anyone else. Before Workday, we were operating with an old legacy ERP system that was designed with a number of other colleges. And for some time, we’d known we needed a more efficient system.”
Previously, the college was using more than 40 different software products. The old system was so difficult to use that Armstrong estimates only about a third of employees could actually use it.
“The system was created in the late 1980s and early 1990s,” according to Dr. Denese Edsall, executive director for human resources and equity. “It was very transactional, and there wasn’t a lot of ability to create reports or pull data out to make management decisions.” Broward College realized it needed to make a change to support its rapid growth.
The college began their search for a new cloud-based product that would offer the flexibility to adapt to future change, make sharing information easy, and provide mobility—the ultimate in access—to conduct transactions from any device. They found all this in Workday.
The IT department was especially interested in a system that offered flexibility and adaptability. “We were looking for something that truly was configurable and that we had control over without having to do a lot of customizations,” says Patti Barney, vice president of information technology for the college. When she looked at Workday, she was impressed by the built-in analytics and the controls.
“The applications are based on business processes. The ability to expose those business rules and be flexible was key for us. We wanted a cloud-based product that we could configure, allowing me to avoid hiring programmers or spend a lot of time writing code,” she says.
“The legislature is constantly making new rules and we have to adapt. We have to change quickly and it was not easy, obviously, in our legacy system. Workday’s changed that for us,” she says. “Also, our technology strategy has us looking for ways we can reduce complication by moving to a single provider, so we can get out of the customization and application development business.”
Using data to support the mission.
The team at Broward College sees multiple advantages in having access to real-time finance and HR information in one unified data core.
“Because Workday is an integrated, real-time system, we can capture data at any moment,” according to Tom Olliff, senior vice president of administration at the college. “We can see not only where we were a quarter ago, but where we are right now. Since we’re not waiting for the end of a period of time to adjust, we can adjust mid-stream. If enrollment doesn’t come in, or if it comes in significantly stronger, we can make the adjustments we need on the fly.”
Last year, Broward College was able to reallocate significant resources toward its students because of insights gained through Workday Financial Management. “It allowed us to look at unspent resources over the course of the year and move that into more productive areas,” says Olliff. “As a result, we were able to move almost $9 million from the administrative side of the house over to the academic side of the house this past year. And that’s allowed us to be able to put a lot more resources into our student success initiatives.”
Workday Financial Management also helps the college deal with traditionally tight state budgets. “The insights we get from Workday allowed us to specifically target those areas where we needed to reduce budget so that we knew it wouldn’t impact student success,” he says.
“The important thing is that more students graduate, more students get successful jobs, and the faculty spends less time dealing with administration and more time and talent on teaching students,” he explains. “Broward is in the business of changing student’s lives. We believe we’ll be able to do that better with the insights and metrics we have with Workday.”
President Armstrong concurs, saying that Workday has improved the college’s ability to make strategic decisions. “I think the success of any organization depends in part on your ability to access information any time you need it and to be able to make good management decisions. At the highest level, Workday is going to be increasingly powerful for our organization because we’re able to make decisions faster with more complete information.”
Workday is going to be increasingly powerful for our organization because we're able to make decisions faster with more complete information.
Designing Workday Student.
In addition to using Workday applications for Broward College’s faculty and staff, the college is a design partner for Workday Student, collaborating on the development of a purpose-built student information system in the cloud, something Armstrong believes is long overdue. “There has not been a new student information system designed in over 15 years. As you can imagine, the legacy systems that are out there are not doing what we need to be doing with our students today,” he emphasizes.
“I don’t know of anyone else who is designing a brand new product that will help us engage, interact, and manage our students better, and also help our students manage their own lives, such as scheduling their courses and staying on track toward a career or academic goal,” he says. “The whole country is focused on how we can help more students complete their academic and educational goals. This system will help our students be more successful.”
Workday Student includes a recruiting solution, Workday Student Recruiting, and an admissions solution, Workday Student Admissions, both of which take advantage of Workday’s mobile capabilities. As Armstrong puts it, “Our recruiting package previous to Workday was paper and pencil and Excel spreadsheets.” He continues, “Now, our recruiters can take their handheld devices or laptops out to a high school and use the data we’ve loaded beforehand when they talk to students.”
Support for growth and student success.
Edsall has been impressed with how Workday has helped the college manage growth. “Even though our college is growing, we have not hired more HR professionals. I credit Workday with that because I think if we‘d stayed with the old system, I would have been begging for more employees at this point. We wouldn’t have been able to handle the volume,” she says.
“When we began the Workday process, we believed that if we could take some of the burden away from the campuses—getting people hired, making sure their travel is done, and their purchasing requisitions are complete— they would be able to focus more specifically on student success, which is really what Broward College is about. And we believe that has actually happened,” she says.
“We have been able to move our organization forward 15 years from where it was before in our ability to create reporting and use metrics to drive decisions. These have all been part of what we’ve experienced with Workday.”
“President Armstrong agrees. “We believe that Workday, especially Workday Student, is going to help us reach out to more students and get them on a successful career path. But more importantly, it will help people in communities across America access a college or a university education that will support them with a good career.”