More than 3,500 people assembled at Moscone Center in San Francisco this week for Workday Rising 2013. Tidemark had the opportunity to sponsor the event for the 3rd year in a row, and the excitement among Workday customers is impressive. Workday's approach is summarized nicely in one of the keynote videos: "People drive financial performance and financial goals drive people performance."

We had the opportunity to meet many new people at our booth, and the theme we we kept hearing was, “How can we engage more people in the performance of the organization?” One CIO said, “It just isn’t working to do things the way we’ve always done them. We aren’t driving the results we need. The organization has to change and adopt a culture that drives performance.”

We were honored to join Brown University when they presented how they are transforming their budgeting and planning process with Tidemark. One of the most interesting questions from the audience was how the project team is dealing with the required cultural change. Roberta Gordon, Workday Project Director from Brown University said, “By giving people the tools they need to influence change, we have created a value-add environment, where employees are encouraged to engage, and can feel a sense of ownership. Team members across the organization are empowered to interact with data, suggest improvements and initiate change. It is a culture shift that we expect to spread as we continue working with Tidemark and Workday.” There is tremendous excitement in the Higher Education community about the innovation Workday is bringing to that industry, and Brown University is a pioneer in the transformation occurring in Higher Education.

Ashley Johnson, CFO of ServiceSource, generously spoke to about 75 people on Tuesday evening at our networking reception for Finance professionals. She said, “We are pushing all of the planning and analysis out to the field so they can access information when they want it. They can re-forecast, roll it up, and iterate as many times as they need to get to the targets finance has set. The targets are better because my team has time to spend on figuring out the right targets instead of racing to get a new template rolled out in Excel.” After seeing many nods from the crowd, she quipped, “I can see we’re not alone here.”

The message is clear: transforming to a culture of performance is not an option – it is a necessity. Leading organizations are already well down the path and finding that people in the organization are responding positively to the new way of doing things. How is your organization engaging more people to drive transformation?