Asda adopts Workday as part of digital transformation

As Asda undergoes a digital transformation as part of its separation from Walmart, the supermarket has adopted Workday to manage its 140,000 employees

Asda has chosen Workday for its internal people management, tasked with keeping track of and looking after its 140,000 global employees.

The software company was chosen as part of the supermarket’s ongoing digital transformation, as it works to separate its systems from Walmart’s after being bought by the Issa brothers in 2020.

The Workday systems used by Asda will include Workday Human Capital Management, Workday Absence Management, Workday Benefits, Workday Compensation, Workday Learning, Workday Prism Analytics and Workday Recruiting.

“We want to inspire and enable our colleagues,” said Hayley Tatum, chief people officer at Asda. “Workday will provide employees with the tools to learn and develop new skills relevant to their roles, while helping us to sharpen team and business performance. Workday’s agile technology architecture means that we’ll be able to take on tomorrow’s challenges, helping to ensure that our colleagues have the support they need.”

Prior to the £6.8bn deal in October 2020, which saw Walmart sell Asda to the billionaire Issa brothers, pandemic lockdowns had already boosted online orders for the supermarket, leading to it increasing its number of weekly delivery slots to 700,000, with plans to make up to one million delivery slots available each week the following year.

The pandemic also saw Asda expanded its trial partnership with online food delivery service Uber Eats, and begin trialling the Sorted delivery management platform to track its George by Asda parcels to customers.

Digital age verification from Yoti is now also being trialled in a small number of Asda locations to allow customers to prove their age at a self-checkout without talking to an employee, and in 2020, many Asda stores became home to Müller’s digital marketing displays, which show digital marketing content in shopping aisles.

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Shortly after the news Asda was sold to the Issa brothers, Anna Barsby, former chief technology officer of Morrisons, joined Asda as chief digital and technology officer on an interim basis because of her past experience with change management.

The supermarket then hired Carl Dawson as its permanent chief information officer, to handle the digital transformation that would be needed to transition Asda off any Walmart-related technology platforms and on to new ones.

Dawson recently told Computer Weekly the move presented an “opportunity” for the business to eradicate legacy systems and select new, cloud-based applications for all of its functions.

“The position we should be in in two years’ time is having no legacy technology; we’ll be the only business of any scale that’s got absolutely no legacy technology anymore, because we’ll replace it all,” he said.

Using Workday for its people management will allow Asda to consolidate employee management onto a single platform, as well as give employees access to personalised training content for skills development throughout the employee’s time at the firm, such as content relevant to onboarding, goal setting or role changes.

The system will allow employees and their managers to book and track time off, and will also use data imported from other systems, such as point of sale, to monitor the efficiency of certain organisational processes and highlight where there could be improvements.

The retailer has also recently selected Rise with SAP S/4 Hana on Microsoft Azure as its core enterprise resource planning system, as well as SAP Business Technology Platform and SAP Ariba for procurement.

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