Mark Powell

EMEA Business Change Lead, Cushman & Wakefield

Supernova Award Category: 

Future of Work – Human Capital Management

The Company: 

Cushman & Wakefield is a leading global real estate services firm that helps clients transform the way people work, shop, and live. Our 45,000 employees in more than 70 countries help occupiers and investors optimize the value of their real estate by combining our global perspective and deep local knowledge with an impressive platform of real estate solutions.

The Problem: 

Being a complex global business, we needed to streamline and modernize our key HR and Finance processes and implement a new SaaS application, Workday. The project was multi-phase and enterprise-wide across our HR and Finance teams. The project was extensive, rigorous and continent-wide.

We’d recently engaged in a merger with DTZ, a commercial real estate services firm, so there was significant pressure on our business for this project to succeed. To achieve our goals, we engaged with AppLearn about utilizing Its software adoption tool ADOPT.

Our overarching goals with ADOPT were:

  • To consolidate all HR and Finance processes across both businesses,
  • To support in the rollout a new best of breed cloud software application.
  • To help employees embrace transformational change
  • To maximize user adoption of the new system
The Solution: 

Prior to go-live, AppLearn created their own version of the ADOPT Platform for us and immediately began to publish targeted communications directly into the Content Cloud module; this content was bespoke by language and job role. The content was distributed via the Training Pages module and links were embedded and in various other areas within the Workday tool so our users had fingertip access to content. They also embedded content into other in-house communication and resource channels.All our users have access to just in time support directly from within Workday and through Split Screen. We could track our ADOPT consumption data and compare it to our support desk data to optimize key areas where users were having challenges.

The ADOPT Platform supported the additional populations that were introduced to Workday in the merger. The platform accelerated the onboarding process and providing a flexible, dynamic environment that supports our ever-changing business landscape.

The Results: 

To consolidate all HR and Finance processes across both businesses. AppLearn’s ADOPT platform assisted in the delivery of consolidating over 120 finance and HCM systems into a global platform. They supported the digital transformation rollout of a new best of breed cloud software application. And supported the end-to-end process and maximized user adoption of Workday, throughout all stages of the project.

To help employees embrace transformational change. ADOPT delivered Split Screen to allow users to utilize support tutorials and navigate a system collaboratively. To maximize user adoption of the new system. ADOPT delivered Advanced Analytics to analyze widespread adoption across Workday.

To speed up delivery, AppLearn had a dedicated support team and made recommendations based on the Advanced Analytics module to ensure certainty of outcome.The solution was successfully launched to the user community and usage has been very positive. Support required from the Help Desk was minimal, indicating that the delivery mechanism and the quality of the communication and support plans (including content) was high.

Feedback on the use of Split Screen has very positive as users found it especially useful in-screen. Following the merger of C&W with DTZ, AppLearn is now supporting the global roll-out of Workday to the new business.


The success of the project was measured through tangible results. This included successful onboarding of 10,000 employees. During the first week of go-live, our global IT support desk only recorded 200 tickets across a full-scale enterprise organization. It eliminated the need for high-level external support from Hypercare. The Hypercare support desk team even stood down after 6 days because of no significant activity.

We saw a 30% adoption of the new Workday implementation globally, 4 weeks later, our work with ADOPT helped us reach 70%+ adoption of Workday with users continuing to watch. It’s an ongoing relationship, ADOPT continues to deliver rich content and training throughout our global organization.

The Technology: 

We used ADOPT, AppLearn’s digital adoption platform to support us in our Workday implementation.

Disruptive Factor: 

The most disruptive challenge we faced was part way through delivery. The merger with DTZ was exacerbated by a significant Workday system overhaul that arrived 3 weeks after the HCM capabilities went live.

As a federate group of companies with a patchwork of HR and Finance system with varying degrees of process digitization, the key challenge was to manage expectation across a very diverse user community. Adapting to different needs proved disruptive. For some users, the project was going to provide a radically new approach to tasks completion, including self-service. Whilst for others, it was barely replacing an already successfully used solution.

In addition, a mature sales driven culture made introducing Talent modules specifically challenging as not all accepted the value of increased individual and management accountability. Concurrently, the Finance module was considered very complex in terms of self-service use.

Shining Moment: 

Aside from excellent tangible results and achieved ROI, the most poignant moment of the project, was the relationship I built with the AppLearn team. The team leads by example, inspiring others to demonstrate the same dedication. AppLearn fosters an open environment where team members can contribute and challenge, leading to better product development and a culture that encourages others.

About Cushman & Wakefield

Cushman & Wakefield is a leading global real estate services firm with 45,000 employees in more than 70 countries. 2017 marks the 100-year anniversary of the Cushman & Wakefield brand. 100 years of taking our clients’ ideas and putting them into action. To learn more, visit, or follow @CushWakeon Twitter.