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Workday® Prism Analytics: Implementation Considerations

Workday® Prism Analytics: Implementation Considerations

Workday® Prism

Workday’s Prism Analytics value proposition is essentially the ability for organizations to combine external data with Workday internal data to create analytics in the form of reports and dashboards. A Prism dataset can be derived from the following source types: Workday custom report, SFTP/API, an uploaded file, or another dataset. If at a high level this is not your goal, then Prism may not be the right product for your organization. If in the extensive variety of Prism use cases yours meets this criterion, then Prism is likely the best product because it leverages the same Workday security model and quickly enhances overall Workday report writing capabilities.

Prism can be a giant step towards harmonizing your HRIS systems. The ideal Prism Analytics customer is one that is highly self-sufficient and wants to enhance their tenant with limited guidance. Analysts do not need additional training in programming languages but experience in WQL or SQL is desirable. Initial use cases should deliver high impact results to build user acceptance early.

Time & Effort

Quoting time and effort for a Prism implementation is a bit like predicting the number of hours required for ongoing report configuration and support. The core configuration and security setup for Prism is the first step in implementation but is a drop in the bucket compared to the number of hours required for ongoing support. Ongoing support needs vary greatly between organizations based on their resources and capabilities, and datasets vary in complexity. On the low end, a Prism dataset may take a few hours to complete while a demanding effort could require a team comprised of reporting, integrations, business, and project management professionals. Organizations that lean heavily on people analytics may need to add a BI analyst to their team or contract additional support.

In my experience, ongoing support for Prism is a shared effort between technical and functional IT support, report writers with access to Prism datasets, and business analysts who warrant the creation of a Prism Analyst role. Empower business analysts and report writers with access to Prism datasets and Data Discovery to receive the full benefit of Prism and relieve admins from report development that can be self-service. Data Discovery is relatively easy to master compared to traditional Workday report writing and business users can fulfill their own requests more often. Look at self-service reporting to offset some of the costs associated with implementing Prism.

Example: Simple Use Case: The People Operations team wants to blend external survey data with internal employee data. External survey data is in an Excel file and new reports are needed for the internal data.

Example: Complex Use Case: A holding company uses Workday and its subsidiary companies use a variety of other HR systems. The holding company wants the ability to report on all subsidiary company data in Workday.

Analytics Roadmap

Data Discovery is only available to Prism Analytics customers currently, but starting with early adopters in WD33, Workday plans to make Data Discovery available to non-Prism Customers. Data Discovery is a reporting tool which enables creation of visualizations via drag and drop analysis. Visualizations can be exported as matrix or advanced reports with composite report capabilities coming soon. It is secured by the Drive domain and its own Discovery Boards domain. Report writers generally have permissions to create and export visualizations as Workday report definitions. Consider applying for early adoption of Data Discovery if it is your primary motivation for acquiring Prism.

Workday delivered fields, custom fields, and calculated fields can be exposed in a Prism based report provided the Prism dataset contains instance fields that refer to the respective Workday objects. Reports with Workday delivered data sources cannot contain Prism fields right now, but Workday plans to make this feature available to Prism customers soon.

Common Questions

Q: How is Prism different from Big Data Analytics?

A: Prism was built on Workday’s platform which allows Workday to deliver more value to customers in areas of security, the UX, visualizations, and data source creation.

Q: Is Prism a substitute for another analytics software?

A: It depends on the specific use case and functionality required. Prism is a full end to end analytics product. It does not offer all the same features as its competition just as the competition does not offer the same Workday features.

Q: Are there data storage limits?

A: Data storage and published row limits are set so high that it is highly unlikely a customer will reaches their limit.

Q: What is the cost of implementing Data Discovery?

A: Although only available to Prism customers currently, Workday plans to make Data Discovery available at no additional cost to all Workday customers.

Q: How easy is it to connect to other data warehouses and tools?

A: When Prism was first released, SFTP was the only option but Workday quickly made API capabilities available. Data can be exposed to other tools and systems via the API or a web service via RaaS. Direct data connectors for external reporting tools such as Tableau or Power BI are not available or on the roadmap.

If anyone has any comments, or feedback, we would love to hear it in the comments section, and as always, thanks for reading!!!!


  • Thomas Doescher

    Tom is a former HR professional and now Workday consultant whose areas of expertise are HCM, Reporting (including BIRT and Prism), and Total Rewards. He holds an MBA from the University of Louisiana and has progress towards the CCP (Certified Compensation Professional) designation. Tom has successfully implemented Prism with multiple organizations and enhances configuration for organizations already live with Prism.

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