Workday Rule-Based Business Process Configuration

If you’ve ever had to configure business process definitions in Workday, you likely know what it’s like trying to accommodate a myriad of use cases and conditions with one configuration. As much as possible, we as implementers attempt to streamline and standardize the organization's approach to business processes design, but sometimes in-place policies die hard. To name a few:

“For full-time workers a Compensation Change requires two approvals if manager level or below and three approvals if above manager level, but for part-time only one level or approval…”

“For US, the Post Job step goes to the Recruiter, but for International it goes to the HR Partner, and if it’s a student job it goes to the Student Employment Coordinator…”

“Change Job routes the Review: Current Manager to the Current Manager only if not initiated by the GM otherwise route to HR Partner if US, HR Partner (Local) if non-US…”

Over time, the recommended approach to handling multiple variations of a business process definition has evolved:

  • first, it was recommended to copy the default definition of a business process to the top level supervisory organization, then create any variations for other supervisory organizations requiring a different configuration. Often this approach was not useful because the supervisory organization was not the criteria for using a different business process flow, it was employee type or management level or anything but supervisory organization.
  • then it was recommended to only use the default definition of each business process type and handle all possible variations using condition rules.
  • then in Workday 25, Rule-Based Business Process Configuration was released. Finally, a way to create distinct business process definitions based on virtually any criteria relevant to the business process. Essentially, you can use any field available at the time of initiation to drive the condition rule to fire the appropriate version of the business process.

There are a couple compelling reasons to consider adopting Rule-Based BP Configuration:

  1. to make visibility, testing and troubleshooting easier
    Have you ever tried to troubleshoot a business process that has dozens of conditional steps? It’s not always easy. With Rule-Based BP Configuration, the business process definition is shorter and much more concise without the added noise of multiple condition rules on each step. Additionally, the view of remaining steps of a business process transaction is more accurate because it doesn't include extraneous steps that by condition would be deemed not required.
  2. to improve tenant performance
    When you have repeated conditions on steps in a business process, those conditions have to execute that many times. Depending on the size of your tenant, that can impact performance and make for a less appealing end-user experience. If, however, you use Rule-Based BP Configuration to specify the conditions once on the initiation, that eliminates the waste of the repeated executions.

The most convincing example for using Rule-Based BP Configuration originated at a higher education customer of mine. With the implementation of Workday Recruiting, it was identified that the processes for opening a job requisition for a staff job vs. a faculty job vs. a student job were distinctly different: the levels of approval were different, the approvers involved were different, the associated compensation was different, and the custom validation rules required were different. By adopting a set of three business process definitions instead of one with multiple repeated condition rules on each step, the configuration was clearer, more concise, and easier to monitor and troubleshoot.

As with a lot of configuration options, there is a cost-benefit analysis required:

  1. are there enough clear patterns of distinct condition rules being repeated on multiple steps to merit a redesign?
  2. are the patterns identified static enough, or will there be more maintenance in continually editing rule based definitions?
  3. will tenant performance be positively impacted by eliminating the unnecessary condition evaluations?

If your tenant contains business processes overrun with condition rules, Rule-Based BP Configuration can help you clear the clutter.

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Workday Rule-Based Business Process Configuration

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