The Total Economic Impact™ Of Workday Adaptive Planning

Cost Savings And Business Benefits Enabled By Adaptive Planning

A Forrester Total Economic ImpactTM Study Commissioned By Workday, July 2023

To keep up with the rapid pace of change, businesses need a clear view of their costs and resources and the ability to analyze scenarios to support timely decision-making. Workday Adaptive Planning provides a single source of truth for an organization’s financial, personnel, and operational data; reduces the manual effort for planning and analysis; and improves data quality. The results of implementing the solution include productivity improvements, cost optimizations, and better, faster decision-making.

Workday Adaptive Planning is an enterprise planning software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution for an organization’s financial, workforce, sales, as well as operational planning. It allows integrations with a wide variety of data sources and supports a more holistic view of the business. In addition, its modeling engine, analytics, and reporting capabilities enable faster, more detailed planning and better decision-making for financial planning and analysis (FP&A) teams and business leaders.

Workday commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) study and examine the potential return on investment (ROI) enterprises may realize by deploying Adaptive Planning.1 The purpose of this study is to provide readers with a framework to evaluate the potential financial impact of Adaptive Planning on their organizations.

To better understand the benefits, costs, and risks associated with this investment, Forrester interviewed five representatives with experience using Workday Adaptive Planning. For the purposes of this study, Forrester aggregated the interviewees’ experiences and combined the results into a single composite organization with $1 billion in annual revenue and 5,000 employees.

Prior to using Workday Adaptive Planning, these interviewees noted how their organizations relied largely on spreadsheets and manual processes for their financial planning and forecasting activities, either because they didn’t have other solutions in place or because their legacy planning solutions were difficult for them to use. Aggregating, manipulating, reconciling, and reporting on data was time-consuming and error-prone, limiting the depth of analysis the FP&A team could perform.

After the investment in Workday Adaptive Planning, the interviewees’ organizations were able to standardize processes, analyze and report on data more easily and at a more granular level, and add new value to business decisions. Key results from the investment include productivity improvements for the FP&A team and business managers and savings from cost optimization across the organization.

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FP&A team productivity improvement by Year 3


Key Findings

Quantified benefits.Three-year, risk-adjusted present value (PV) quantified benefits for the composite organization include:

  • Improved FP&A productivity by up to 20%. Previously manual data aggregation, manipulation, and error-checking are minimized or automated for the composite organization by Workday Adaptive Planning. FP&A teams can spend more time on analysis and less time on non-value-add work. The productivity improvements increase from 10% in Year 1 to 20% by Year 3, worth $664,000 to the composite organization over three years.

For , improved FP&A productivity might be worth over three years.

  • Increased business manager productivity related to planning activities by up to 12%. Workday Adaptive Planning enables new data modeling and planning processes for the composite organization, reducing the time managers spend planning costs that have a lower impact on the organization. In addition, headcount planning is easier with clearer processes and fresh, consistent data. The three-year benefit to the organization is over $312,000.

For , increased business manager productivity related to planning activities might be worth over three years.

  • Eliminated FP&A reliance on IT for financial reporting and analysis. The composite organization previously required dedicated IT support for data access and reporting from its enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Workday Adaptive Planning enables the FP&A team to self-service data, so they no longer need to use IT resources. This benefit is worth more than $218,000 to the organization over three years.

For , eliminated FP&A reliance on IT for financial reporting and analysis might be worth over three years.

  • Cost optimization worth $2.0 million over three years. More granular data (including vendor and headcount information) with better, easier analysis and reporting allows the FP&A team to partner with the rest of the business to proactively manage costs and identify improvement opportunities. This benefit begins at the end of Year 1 and grows in Year 2 and Year 3 as the organization increases its adoption and expands its use of Workday Adaptive Planning.

For , cost optimization might be worth over three years.

Unquantified benefits. Benefits that provide value for the composite organization but are not quantified for this study include:

  • Better data quality. Workday Adaptive Planning acts as a single source of truth and reduces the manual effort required to consolidate and analyze data, which significantly reduces errors. This benefit contributes to the productivity and cost optimization benefits cited previously, as well as the unquantified benefits that follow.
  • Improved trust in FP&A. Better data quality and more time spent on analysis allow the FP&A team to provide accurate information and rich insights to their business partners, improving organizational trust in the FP&A team.
  • Greater employee satisfaction. FP&A employees are able to spend less time on tedious data entry and error-checking work and more time on value-added work, increasing their sense of engagement and job satisfaction.

Costs. Three-year, risk-adjusted PV costs for the composite organization include:

  • Subscription. This is based on an enterprise model, which for the composite organization totals $370,000 over three years.

For , subscription costs for Workday Adaptive Planning might total over three years.

  • Implementation and training. The organization works with an implementation partner and dedicates FP&A and business leaders to the implementation for four months. FP&A employees and business managers receive training in Workday Adaptive Planning. Partner implementation fees of $125,000 plus internal FP&A and business manager resources devoted during the deployment and training bring the composite organization’s cost to $422,000.

For , implementation and training costs might total over three years.

  • Ongoing management. Ongoing system management requires 50% of one FP&A employee’s time to manage integrations, update models, and perform quality checks. Over three years, this totals less than $131,000.

For , ongoing management costs might total over three years.

The representative interviews and financial analysis found that a composite organization experiences benefits of $3.22 million over three years versus costs of $922,000, adding up to a net present value (NPV) of $2.30 million and an ROI of 249%.

might experience benefits of over three years compared to costs of . This adds up to a net present value of and an ROI of .

“It’s time savings, it’s confidence in the numbers, and it’s analysis. [It’s about] being able to look into the business at different cuts of data and being able to do that quickly. We couldn’t do it before. ... So the ability to drill down and into the data is a big win for us.”

Director of corporate planning, engineering services

Key Statistics

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    Return on investment (ROI):

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    Benefits PV:

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    Net present value (NPV):


Benefits (Three-Year)

FP&A productivity improvements Business manager productivity improvements IT savings Cost optimization

TEI Framework And Methodology

From the information provided in the interviews, Forrester constructed a Total Economic Impact™ framework for those organizations considering an investment Adaptive Planning.

The objective of the framework is to identify the cost, benefit, flexibility, and risk factors that affect the investment decision. Forrester took a multistep approach to evaluate the impact that Adaptive Planning can have on an organization.

  1. Due Diligence

    Interviewed Workday stakeholders and Forrester analysts to gather data relative to Adaptive Planning.

  2. Interviews

    Interviewed five representatives at organizations using Adaptive Planning to obtain data about costs, benefits, and risks.

  3. Composite Organization

    Designed a composite organization based on characteristics of the interviewees’ organizations.

  4. Financial Model Framework

    Constructed a financial model representative of the interviews using the TEI methodology and risk-adjusted the financial model based on issues and concerns of the interviewees.

  5. Case Study

    Employed four fundamental elements of TEI in modeling the investment impact: benefits, costs, flexibility, and risks. Given the increasing sophistication of ROI analyses related to IT investments, Forrester’s TEI methodology provides a complete picture of the total economic impact of purchase decisions. Please see Appendix A for additional information on the TEI methodology.


Readers should be aware of the following:

This study is commissioned by Workday and delivered by Forrester Consulting. It is not meant to be used as a competitive analysis.

Forrester makes no assumptions as to the potential ROI that other organizations will receive. Forrester strongly advises that readers use their own estimates within the framework provided in the study to determine the appropriateness of an investment in Adaptive Planning.

Workday reviewed and provided feedback to Forrester, but Forrester maintains editorial control over the study and its findings and does not accept changes to the study that contradict Forrester’s findings or obscure the meaning of the study.

Workday provided the customer names for the interviews but did not participate in the interviews.

Consulting Team:

Elizabeth Preston

Jonny Cook

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