Business challenge

City Year had 18 unintegrated tools and systems for managing HR and finance functions, all requiring manual work. It needed a scalable, unified system to simplify IT and enable growth.


City Year worked with IBM to deploy the Workday solution, an easily integrated, flexible, intuitive and cloud-based tool that saves the organization time and provides data with fewer delays.


Up to an 85% decrease

in reimbursement time with a system that provides increased processing speed and visibility

Find the right data quick

with real-time reporting and analytics tools

Provides flexibility

with access to data from multiple devices and a customizable solution

Business challenge story

Simplifying IT for growth

Like most nonprofits, City Year focuses on its larger mission and less on its back-office operations. Unfortunately, that resulted in 18 bespoke, homegrown, unintegrated tools for managing HR and finance functions, all requiring manual work to provide essential information. City Year wasn’t prepared to scale and, if it wanted to achieve its ambitious 10-year goals, needed to simplify its IT.

“We had multiple versions of the truth, including how many people we had on staff. Our federal funding is dependent on our retention rates, so these things are critical. We needed to change our direction,” explains Evelyn Barnes, City Year’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial and Administrative Officer.

Workday and IBM have made my job easier. I’m not just trying to find data. I have the data. That’s a very freeing position to be in.

Evelyn Barnes, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, City Year

Transformation story

Melding 18 tools into one

City Year needed to find one easily integrated, flexible, intuitive, cloud-based tool that could save the organization time and provide data with fewer delays. City Year selected the Workday solution.

“HR and finance are part of the same spectrum. All of our financials and analysis have to do with head count. It’s all part of the same process,” says Barnes. “The Workday product treats the two as one process, which made the tool all the more attractive to us.”

Next, they needed to find the right deployment partner that could help the company grow in terms of best practices, preferably one with knowledge of the product and enterprise resource planning systems as well as an understanding of City Year as an organization. IBM was a perfect match. “Our relationship with IBM has been top-notch,” Barnes shares. “It was important that the implementation partner could take on this project with shared problems and shared solutions—and laugh along with us. We found that with IBM.”

Results story

Reaching a single truth

According to Barnes, IBM’s deployment of the Workday solution made a huge difference for City Year. The solution provides real-time reporting and analytics tools, so there’s no need to hunt for data by searching multiple systems. Workday helps save time and access data quickly. For example, their reimbursement process used to take a month. Now it takes 3 - 5 days, effectively decreasing reimbursement time by up to 85 percent.

Further, the solution offers flexibility. Employees on the go can access the solution’s cloud-based intuitive interface from multiple devices. It allows for customization; City Year had the opportunity to test, change and iterate on it until it meets its specific needs. In addition, the solution constantly updates to meet evolving organizational needs.

“Our whole organization is excited about Workday,” concludes Barnes. “Our problem now is that we can’t move fast enough to bring on additional features and functions that people are hungry for.”

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City Year

City Year is an education nonprofit that helps students and schools succeed. Diverse teams of City Year AmeriCorps members partner with schools and educators to deliver research-based academic and social-emotional supports designed to help students come to school every day ready to learn, achieve at high levels, and graduate from high school prepared for college and career. Founded in 1988 in Boston, Massachusetts, this nonprofit organization started with just 50 employees but now has more than 3,500, a budget in excess of USD 150 million, and 28 locations in the US and sites in the UK and South Africa.

Take the next step

To learn more about IBM Workday Consulting Services, please contact your IBM sales representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: