Dimensions Migration: Insights & Best Practices

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2021-11-27 18:55:36

Comfort zones rarely go down without a fight. People like their established systems and few are running toward change with open arms. Even with Workforce Dimensions, a platform designed to improve efficiency exponentially, we’re finding end-users clinging to “the old way” of doing things. For this reason, we’ve found that a Dimensions migration requires a combination of technical and change management skills to efficiently guide and equip customers in how to optimize their investment.

When Dimensions released in 2018, Improv jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the new groundbreaking platform. Our senior team took its expertise of Dimensions to the next level by becoming independently Dell Boomi-Certified. Two years later, we have implemented and optimized Dimensions clients in multiple verticals.

We’ve learned to lean into the unknowns of a Dimensions migration, and in doing so, we’ve discovered why it is positioned as the most powerful, long-term enterprise solution. Dimensions’ robust features opened up the configuration skies, making just about anything possible in the world of workforce management.

Insights | Best Practices

Working with Dimensions customers, we’ve gained several important insights.

Kronos customers expect their next Kronos upgrade to feel similar in some way to their prior platform Workforce Central. However, Dimensions is an entirely new experience, especially if the client adds the HCM component.

This reality hasn’t discouraged us; instead, it has influenced and changed several areas of our implementation process.

For Dimensions, we’ve modified project timelines to make room for (1) Enhanced Communication (2) Timeline Flexibility (3) Deeper Analysis of Business Processes (4) Creative Configuration Exploration (5) Boomi Integrations (6) Additional Change Management and Training.

While all of these were critical components of our process before Dimensions, because of the different requirements, we’ve enhanced a few things.

Enhanced Communication

A Dimensions migration is filled with unknowns for our clients.

The best way to navigate the unknowns of a new system? Communicate well and keep moving forward. Here’s what we know.

Communicate early and often

Communicating with customers about the unknowns while confidently moving forward in search of a solution will keep the project on track and keep customers focused on the end goal rather than the obstacle (that’s our job).

Ask better questions

Exceptional communication includes asking better questions early in the process. With a Dimensions migration, the better your questions on the migration's front end, the faster, more concise the solution.

Don’t take for granted legacy Kronos configuration

A few questions might include: What business processes will migration impact? To whom are the people affected at the manager level? How much training will be needed to adjust the process? To whom does this notification get sent to?

Be proactive and honest

We let clients know ahead of time some of their functionality migrations won’t be a 1:1 from WFC to Dimensions, which is okay. It’s a small change compared to the efficiency gains Dimensions brings to their workflow. Revisit the facts: Kronos has always stated that 70% of the average WFC configuration can be migrated. That leaves 30% of the migration for new solutions (for now), and with new releases, those gaps are closing all the time.

Timeline Flexibility

Of the two different migration paths (1) Like-for-Like Migration (no enhancements or custom integrations) and (2) Enhanced Migration (custom configurations). Dimensions is the latter and will require additional configurations to optimize a workflow properly. Because of the migration process, a customer must make a series of decisions that are unique to a Dimensions project, so it’s wise to make additional room in your timeline. These choices always take longer than expected and are critical to the success of the migration.

In creating a realistic timeline, we try to assess: How many/what kind of interfaces and custom integrations will be used? If a client has custom interfaces, how will those affect migration? What’s the adoption/resistance climate on the team?

An Example: Business Structure

Allow additional time for manual transfers such as Advance Scheduler items and Adjustment Rules. An example of a configuration that will require extra time is Dimensions’ Business Structure, which replaces Workforce Central’s Labor Levels. This new organization structure more closely resembles an Org Map in Workforce Central. In this case, our team had to remap existing integrations from Labor Levels to Business Structure paths. Because every other configuration is connected to Business Structure, it’s critical to build this extra time into a project timeline.

Simple configurations such as Demographic Imports and Payroll Exports will be easier than other imports.

Business Process Analysis

Any new technology change causes a cascading impact on a client’s internal processes. When migrating to Dimensions, it’s critical to gain an in-depth understanding of how existing processes intermingle with their platform and how Dimensions will impact that structure.

The best way to understand the process-platform connection? Dive deeper with an in-depth assessment. Here’s what we know.

A preliminary deep-dive analysis of a company’s business processes prior to an implementation kick-off establishes a clear understanding of how a team uses its system daily and why managers do things in a certain way. An assessment allows you to be proactive with configuration obstacles and add existing business processes to the realm of possible solutions. Asking a Payroll administrator, “Why do you fix missed punches this way?” will give you a wealth of information and reveal if it’s the configuration or the process that needs tweaking.

With the addition of Attestation now coming standard in Workforce Dimensions implementations, we can transform a client's business processes in ways that may not have been an option in Workforce Central.

Creative Configuration Exploration

The best way to clear a daunting configuration hurdle? Start to imagine what’s possible. Here’s what we know.

An Example: Dimensions Attestation

Since Attestation is now a built-in part of Dimensions, the new architecture has left some users concerned about the change from their familiar processes.

We understand the initial panic; we’ve learned not to let our clients stay there. We look closely at business processes to see if there’s a better path that takes advantage of Dimensions’ new functionality.

Replicate where possible

As much as possible, we provide users the confidence of a similar setup. For instance, in the case of Attestation, meal breaks, per state, can still be configured as can fixing missed punches.

Reimagine the process

If clients relied heavily on Attestation for Timekeeping in WFC, we take a closer look at internal processes and business goals. From there, we suggest ways to reimagine a client’s existing approach to Attestation to take advantage of new, integrated functionality in Dimensions.

Contribute to the innovation journey

The Dimensions release came with one caveat —it’s a best-in-class solution, but it’s an organic solution. To innovate is to evolve continually, and that’s an inherent piece of the technology puzzle. As with Workforce Central’s subsequent releases, Dimensions R7 will be out soon as will other upgrades.

When it comes to Dimensions, we picture ourselves as contributors to the innovation journey rather than spectators – especially with the exciting announcement of UKG.

An Example: Interface Data Migration

Improv is currently working with a large Healthcare client who requested we migrate 20 custom Interfaces from Workforce Central to Dimensions. We hit a wall. So, we had to develop a solution from scratch.

We started by reimagining what Interfaces would look like in Dimensions. We started with the right questions: Who accesses the WFC interfaces and why? What business process is directly impacted by moving data? What was the interface’s value to the staff’s workflow? Could the information moved through the interfaces be more efficiently handled?

Asking those questions, we learned that the client was using WIM interfaces to essentially generate custom reports without requiring Visual Studio or SQL coding. There were far fewer integrations between systems than the initial number might have suggested, but a greater appetite for accessing Kronos data in digestible formats.

Ultimately, we designed a way to make the data from WFC Interfaces accessible by creating a separate Report in Dimensions for each Interface. That data can now be easily updated and pulled whenever it's needed. Problem solved!

Boomi Integration Skills

Dimensions is in a class of its own when it comes to integration capabilities, which is why Improv’s Dell Boomi skills proved invaluable during our first migration.

The best way to optimize Dimensions for speed and efficiency? Understand integration. Here’s what we know.

Integration is everything

Dimensions customers must make a significant technology shift to move from Workforce Central to Workforce Dimensions when they move to the D5 Cloud. This additional power allows integrations to be ported from WFC Integration Manager to Dimensions’ new Integration layer (Boomi).

Understanding how Boomi capabilities work within the Dimensions architecture gave us the problem-solving bandwidth required to increase efficiency throughout the process.

Proactive Change Management & Training

Dimensions is a whole new experience both for administrators and employees that can spark initial resistance. To ease the shift, we learned to design Change Management and additional training into the beginning of the migration process rather than later as adoption issues surface.

The best way to ease the pain of a technology change? Plan for it. Here’s what we know.

Plan for a learning curve

Building time into a Dimensions migration for learning curves, change management, and training is essential. When timeframes are unclear or, worse, unrealistic, it can double the project stress. Having a proactive implementation team committed to training and user adoption can make or break a project.

Focus on the gains

Despite the migration challenges, the technology gains Dimensions offers for most any workforce is undeniable. Couple its mobile interface, embedded analytics, API, and data integration capability, and it’s unlike any WFM software available. We’ve learned if you work on establishing a “gains” mindset, the migration will stay on course. Our approach: You can still do a lot with Dimensions Attestation, and in terms of superior power, in the long run, Dimensions has it all housed in its extensive engine. It’s entirely different than what you may be used to in WFC.

Tap into the momentum

Workforce Dimensions is still being actively updated with new features and functionality coming regularly. There is also a large following within the Kronos Community where customers can submit ideas for Enhancements that could be rolled into future updates.

Increase and customize training

Every team will adapt and respond differently to Dimensions depending on its platform history, established processes, and how people interact with the platform. Expect additional training for Kronos admins to shift to different modules to go as smoothly as possible. On the user end, the Dimensions UI has been designed for ease of use, much like a social network. However, that doesn’t mean it will be easy for everyone to make the transition. To ensure user adoption at every level, we plan for extra training along the way.

In Conclusion

Growing pains are inherent to those who dare to innovate. Each Dimensions migration challenge has armed us with critical insights that will inform and enhance future migrations.

We’ve learned that communication and establishing realistic timelines are critical to a Dimensions migration. Being proactive in assessing business processes as they relate to configuration goals will keep a migration on track.

We’ve also calibrated our focus on what’s possible. The depth of Dimensions’ — it’s flexible data architecture, unprecedented integration power, and robust API and AI capabilities — when configured to work in sync, can change everything about the way the world works.

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