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Author's profile photo Otto Gold

GUI-centric SAP systems design, part 3

In the first part I have introduced a concept, how can one find weak points in the company´s SAP system, which are caused by the misuse of the user interface. You can check it here: GUI-centric SAP systems design, part 1.

 In the second part I have introduced an example, a natural answer for the question which user groups are typically recognized in the companies regarding the different needs and abilities of the users and which GUIs and GUI technologies are expected to match the users´ demands. You can check it here: GUI-centric SAP systems design, part 2.

I hope it is clear, that we are going to create a model o f a company/ company´s SAP system to understand how people are working with the user interfaces. Today, I would like to elaborate how one can continue from the situation described in the part 2. The main questions are:

  • How many user groups should I work with
  • How many GUIs and GUI technologies should I work with
  • How these two numbers are connected

Everything begins with the third question (of course I could write it at the first place, but would you understand which numbers I am talking about?). The number of the groups and the number of the interfaces must work together in a balance.  In the example in the last part I mentioned 3 groups and 3 interfaces. Even if you don´t agree with that, believe me, it can be a good point to start.

Can you name some user groups you have in your company and I have not mentioned them? Probably you can. If you add the user group into the model, you should ask yourself what is the suitable interface for these users. Or you can start from the other side.

Let´s say you use SAP BW in your company. Let´s say the difference between using the NW Portal and the way your users use your BW system is big (ESS/MSS content and BW content for NW Portal are quite different, aren´t they). That means “portal BW” (I am not BW expert, please forgive me the awkwardness) is a new interface for the model (of course you can say one can pick one of many GUIs or interfaces when using BW data, but when you understand the message, you can deal with it yourself). Now you should ask who are the users using this “added” BW interface?

That means: you need to look for a suitable interface for every group defined before or ask about the user of an interface your company is running or would like to start running (in my opinion).

This way you can:

  • Look for interfaces without users (there is an option to use an interface delivered by SAP but no user is actually using this one in your company. That doesn´t mean you have to implement all available interfaces (!!)).
  • Look for the users without the suitable interface (people don´t like how things work, typical example: you have some people to maintain the warehouse and they don´t want to and cannot efficiently work with NW Portal. Why couldn´t they get Adobe forms for their routine tasks? Another example could be the company kiosk for “ordinary” people etc.).
  • If you cannot find any of above, you can describe a strategy for system development (with the interfaces on mind) as adding a new interface and looking for the users (with respect to their needs during the development/ implementation) or splitting an existing group of users to help a part of the group to work with a suitable interface.

In the next part I am going to discuss, how can one measure, if the interfaces is suitable for the users. Briefly… I will outline a set of attributes of the relationship between the user and his interface, which one can quantify. Have a nice day, regards Otto

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      Author's profile photo Ulrich Brenner
      Ulrich Brenner
      the links to part 2&3 are broken.
      Author's profile photo Otto Gold
      Otto Gold
      Blog Post Author
      Fixed, thank you for the warning. Sorry for the inconvenience. Regards Otto
      Author's profile photo Simon Kemp
      Simon Kemp
      Hi Otto,

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on this topic. It is an area I am also very interested in and look forward to hearing more about how you measure productivity.


      Author's profile photo Otto Gold
      Otto Gold
      Blog Post Author
      Hello, thanks for the comment (sometimes it is the only way how to meet people intersted in the same topic and get some feedback, so please keep on commenting:)).
      I am sure, my "idea" looks kind of naive or too general, but I was trying to create a general concept which one can easily "customize" or "personalize" and point out the fact, the user productivity has very little in common with the number of modules and very much with the "type of GUI" (SAP offers so many options how to create various GUIs or how to connect external GUIs to SAP, that people should think about it, try to learn if certain GUIs work better or worse for their users).
      If you could provide some more feedback, here or through an email, I would be glad.
      Have a nice day, Otto
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      It's sometimes good to recapitulate GUI from scratch. Generally it's related to user experience and user experience testing  of course also outside of SAP application area (e.g. traditional web e-shops etc.).

      Maybe better illustration by the example - principles for UX (clarity, transparency, control, consistency, value, design and content) should be included in CRM - internal marketing for external one - engaging internal users in attracting customers (web, application, device). *-)