How to get the best from your Workday AMS partner

Photo of Workday AMS advising helpdesk staff

Once you have implemented Workday in your organisation, an Application Management Service (AMS) partner can play an essential role in your Workday support structure.

At their best, AMS providers can help you maintain and update Workday, keep on top of any updates, fix bugs and address many other issues. However, in our experience, they can also be an expensive long-term commitment providing a reactive, ticket-based service with limited added value.

In this blog, we suggest three ways to get the best out of your AMS provider.

1)   Be an expert client

While you might expect a good Application Management Service provider (AMS) to advise your team, having an in-house expert will improve the effectiveness of the relationship. Your expert should know enough about your business and Workday’s functionality to clearly explain your requirements in a language that AMS will understand, and with your best interests at heart. Briefings and meetings become more focused and productive, and misunderstandings can be avoided.

An additional benefit of developing in-house expertise is that you will have the capability to run tests on bug fixes and new functionality. Regression testing is essential to Workday’s smooth operation but sometimes falls outside of an AMS’s remit.

Whether you choose to hire, train or contract in this Workday expertise, your internal experts will need adequate security permissions in Workday to do their job. This comes with some risks, and you will need a robust control process to ensure any changes are configured, tested, and signed off before moving into production. Your AMS can usefully act as a second pair of eyes for this process.

2)   Remember, you are the client

Some AMS organisations prefer to maintain a reactive, transactional relationship with their clients, focused on closing support tickets quickly and efficiently. We have noticed clients often feel reticent to challenge their AMS partners on this.

While there is value in this kind of responsiveness, you have a right to ask for more proactive ways of working that better suit your needs. Ticketing systems may work well for the AMS, but you will often gain greater benefit from having a phone conversation with the agent to discuss an issue and learn from their experience.

3)   Knowledge transfer is essential

The exchange of knowledge and expertise is critical if you are to get the most out of your AMS, and this needs to happen at two crucial stages.

Stage 1

Clients often use a systems integrator to implement Workday and a separate AMS provider to manage support, maintenance, and upgrades post-go-live.

However, the deep understanding of the business and Workday configuration developed during implementation can be lost in the transfer of responsibilities. This can have a detrimental knock-on effect on the support and guidance that AMS provides to your teams, including internal helpdesk staff, and future developments of the system.

Therefore, it is essential to ensure a detailed handover between the systems integrator and the AMS, even if they are two departments within the same organisation.

Few handovers are comprehensive enough in our experience, meaning that a new consultant with limited knowledge of your configuration is assigned to your account. As a result, solutions can be short-sighted and fail to spot dependencies and downstream impacts within Workday and other integrated applications.

Stage 2

AMS organisations focus on maintaining your system, and fixing issues are, in many ways, admirable. But it does mean that training and mentoring take a back seat. And let’s be honest, they have a vested interest in ensuring you remain dependent on their services.

As part of your accord with your AMS partner, make sure you get an agreement that they will transfer Workday expertise to your team by mentoring helpdesk staff and discussing how they have tackled issues.

How far you wish to pursue this knowledge transfer depends largely on your appetite for self-sufficiency.

Some clients are happy to keep paying the Application Management Service provider fees and effectively outsource this Workday support element. Others recognise that they can find significant cost savings by bringing the function in-house and reducing their reliance on an external partner.

Where you sit on this spectrum will determine how hard you push your AMS for knowledge transfer. As a minimum, we recommend regular meetings with your AMS to review their performance and discuss emerging issues and insights. A standard quarterly meeting is not enough.


While we appreciate the vital role AMS providers play in Workday Optimisation, we believe it is essential that clients recognise they are in the driving seat. It is a mistake to become overdependent on a partner, and part of the deal should include the development of your staff to the level you want.

Professional AMS providers will recognise this as a reasonable request and work with you to make sure it happens.

Photo (c) Shutterstock | fizkes