DENVER – The City of Denver spent tens of millions of dollars on a new computer system to manage its finances and personnel, but city employees say they aren’t trained well enough to use parts of it specific to their jobs, and many don’t think it’s exceptionally useful, according to a new report out today from Denver Auditor Timothy M. O’Brien.
“The city has an expensive contract with Workday,” Auditor O’Brien said. “If we’re going to spend that kind of money on a new tool, I would expect the people who use it regularly to find it useful and easy to navigate.”
The Auditor’s Office contracted with BKD LLP to assess whether the new Workday system was successfully implemented. The city started using Workday in 2017 for financial systems and personnel management. Technology Services is responsible for supporting the Workday system.
As part of the assessment, BKD LLP surveyed employees about their satisfaction with the system. For the most part, users were fairly satisfied with the ability to use the system remotely, including on their mobile device, and they were satisfied with streamlined systems and paper flow.
According to the survey results, the average rating for overall usability satisfaction of the financial system was 3.17 out of five and the overall satisfaction of the human capital management system was 3.19. A three is considered a neutral rating. However, in individual interviews, users expressed frustration with training, cumbersome steps, and poor interfacing with other existing systems. Those surveyed also had concerns about what information is accurate or helpful in their day to day jobs.
“If city employees have such mixed reviews of the Workday software and some legitimate concerns about its usefulness, I must question whether we could have pursued a cheaper option that would have achieved the same results,” Auditor O’Brien said about the results of the surveys in the report.
The survey indicated that many city employees feel they could use more training. The overall satisfaction rating for training was a 2.73 out of five for the financial system and a 3.10 for the human resources system. Most agencies surveyed had an average of a bit below a three, indicating a slight overall dissatisfaction with provided training. They requested a training manual, video training, job aids, and agency specific training. The team found most people interviewed thought the generic training upon launch of the system was sufficient but need more help for tasks specific to their individual duties.
The survey also found people who use the system regularly find the reporting tool more useful than those who do not use it as often. Those who are not regular users reported feeling like they could not access the right reports or don’t understand the reporting functionality well enough.
Based on these survey results, the assessment recommends the city consider reviewing training tools to see if there’s a better way to make the system user-friendly and effective. The team also recommends more targeted trainings for various users, including specific trainings for how to find more common reports.
“I think the city should have high standards for the tools it uses,” Auditor O’Brien said. “I hope city leaders will consider the concerns raised in this assessment in the future when choosing new systems and approving contracts of this size.”
The assessment did find the requirements for features of Workday agreed upon in the contract and the timelines for implementation were met.
The Controller’s Office agreed to all of the report’s recommendations.