A recent ransomware attack served as a wakeup call to city of Baltimore leaders that they needed a more secure system. Anonymous hackers brought city productivity to a standstill after seizing parts of the computer systems that run Baltimore’s government. Real estate transfers stalled, and the city could no longer accept bill payments. Even email traffic came to a halt. The attack rattled city officials, who realized they needed not only a more secure system, but a unified solution that could be deployed citywide.
Fortunately, they had a head start. As part of the “Move Baltimore Forward” strategic plan, leaders had already identified other essential changes needed to better manage the city.
“We wanted to establish a tech ecosystem that would reduce redundancy and cost, align standards, and eliminate siloed data,” says Quinton Herbert, the city’s director and chief human capital officer. “We had leaders in the past who talked about this transformational change, but they weren’t comfortable changing. The ransomware attack forced us to look for a more secure system that could also be our foundation for a modern enterprise.”
Todd Carter, the city’s chief information and chief digital officer, says Baltimore wanted to eliminate time-consuming, paper-based systems, including manual time sheets and vacation leave slips with triplicate carbon paper.
Our Workday deployment wasn’t just an IT project, HR project, or finance project. It was a City of Baltimore project. Now we have systems and teams that work together across the enterprise.
Director and Chief Human Capital Officer
Cloud-based applications to the rescue
Using Workday Human Capital Management, Workday Payroll, and Workday Financial Management, Baltimore could move its financial and human resources systems to cloud-based applications. As a result, the city saw dramatic savings that included eliminating the need for 370,000 pieces of paper.
The inability to access real-time data presented many challenges, including tracking the status of employees. Workers could have been reassigned to another agency, but that may not be reflected in outdated manual spreadsheet reports managers had to rely on.
Information on demand
Besides tracking down real-time data related to city financials and HR, managers can check the status of any given employee on their phone or computer after a few simple queries. Herbert recalled a meeting where a council member asked how many employees received health benefits. He answered on the spot by opening the application on his phone.
With approximately 40 agencies, each one performing even the most basic functions differently, city leaders wanted a standardized system that broke down silos. “If you think of a recruitment or a requisition request, one agency required 15 people to sign it,” Herbert says. “We customized the system so much that one vendor said, ‘We don’t even recognize this, so you’re on your own.’ ”
Time is money
Standardizing the business process in Workday also helped the bottom line, saving $2.5 million in IT costs. “We wanted the employee lifecycle in the Department of Public Works to be the same for an employee who was coming into the Department of Transportation,” Herbert says. “That was very important to us, and with Workday, we’re seeing this happen.”