People and Change: Sandy Tanaka

People and Change: Sandy Tanaka

July 20, 2020

As Assistant Dean and Director, Finance at UBC Sauder School of Business, Sandy Tanaka has been a trusted member of the UBC community for over 30 years. Building on relationships at UBC Sauder, Tanaka is leading the change to Workday in her role as Finance transition lead in the Integrated Renewal Program’s Transition Network.

Having been through several implementations of major finance systems, Tanaka understands the importance of change management when introducing system renewal to a large institution. Her interest in change management led her to complete an Associate Certificate Program in Change Management from UBC Sauder Continuing Business Studies. Learnings from this certificate program have enabled her to apply a change management approach to engage stakeholders in the coming implementation of Workday.

“After taking the change management program, I started to really hone in on the areas where we evaluate the impacts, because most people want to know how they are going to be affected,” says Tanaka. “Being communicated to by a person who has built that trust and credibility with them has made this easier.”

Tanaka’s perspective is that as a business school, UBC Sauder lead the way in terms of modernizing business processes. As such, UBC Sauder was a pilot for the Procurement Modernization project which looked at finance and procurement processes within the faculty. Over 300 people were trained during the project to start submitting requests electronically, using an enhanced Online Payment Tool. By having gone through the Procurement Modernization project, UBC Sauder is poised for a smooth adoption to the coming change with Workday.

The implementation of Workday will relieve the complex reporting structure currently in place in UBC’s faculties and units. Workday facilitates interaction with its system while allowing users to be more autonomous in the ways they accomplish tasks. For Tanaka, this means more streamlined financial planning, up-to-date reporting, and the ability to delegate reports.

“If I can get away from the time-consuming processes of creating reports and concentrate on some other projects it would be very beneficial,” she says. “There are value-added projects on hold that I would really like to get to, which would only increase efficiency and cost savings.”

With Workday going live with human resources and finance in November 2020, UBC Sauder is continuing to ready its faculty and staff through information sessions, town halls, their new intranet ‘Sauder Hub,’ and in-house training. By engaging with in-house training, UBC Sauder will personalize its training materials with examples that are specific to the faculty, helping to increase adoption to the new system.

Through Tanaka’s trusted leadership, UBC Sauder will continue to engage the right people at the right time, packaging Workday information to launch to their community. Presenting materials within a certain period before implementation is a strategy to prevent over-communicating and generate excitement for Workday.

“Within the business school we do embrace innovative ideas. A lot of what Workday is bringing is being innovative and moving us towards how businesses operate with up-to-date data and electronic processes,” says Tanaka. “Workday really is moving our institution into the 21st century.”