Dimension Data HR exec urges peers to "just start" digital transformation journey

Micheala Voller of Dimension Data talks to Workday's Zuko Mdwaba about her experience with his product.

Having made the transition to Workday’s digital platform a few years ago, Dimension Data is reaping the benefits of the system, but this hasn’t been without some challenges along the way. This was what Dimension Data HR executive Michaela Voller shared with the audience during a candid and engaging discussion with Workday South Africa country leader Zuko Mdwaba on the first day of the inaugural HR Indaba being held at the Sandton Convention Centre on 3 and 4 October.

“Just start,” is the advice Michaela told Zuko she would give to those who’ve yet to embark on the Workday journey:

“A lot of people want this perfect product that fits every single functionality and we overcook the whole solution, and I think if you don’t go and start the journey you’re going to get left behind in the digital journey itself, which is what every company in every industry is facing.”

Zuko reiterated that digital transformation is top of mind. Michaela agreed adding that without a platform as a system of record where digital applications can plug in and interact with, there’s “absolutely no way you can transform”. She said a firm foundation from an HR point of view was needed to make the journey to digital transformation easier. 

Finding the right platform 
“All vendors have certain features and functions that are 'tickets to the game’,” says Michaela. For her, the most important criteria was finding a partner that you can work well with. “Unless you can work with the people that head up that organisation, you’re going to be lost,” she adds. She also wanted to partner with a company that is innovative and constantly evolving in the face-paced world. For Dimension Data, that was Workday.

But, where should you start? Michaela advises: “Do your due diligence first. Take time and plan what you are trying to achieve; relook your policies.” Through the process of transitioning to Workplace, Michaela says Dimension Data has to question whether the way it was working made sense. “We spent a lot of time working out what benefit HR is giving to our business and defining what we call our target operating model.”

Another challenge was getting people to accept the change Workday brought to company processes.

“Once we had the perception in place, it made it easier to start deploying the business processes. We got the ‘why’ in the hearts and minds of people first and then the processes started making sense going forward."

A mistake Dimension Data made, according to Michaela, was not switching off its old systems. “We were quick to deploy, and should have taken the time to have a proper cut-off; to say there are no alternatives, only Workday. This will force people down the journey, and soon they will get used to it,” she adds.