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Understanding the employee – or in tech speak: the end-user is the currency

Listening to our favorite songs, updating with friends, taking child photos or checking on our latest emails…the way we consume products and how we manage daily activities has significantly changed over the last decades. New trends and technologies emerged, having a profound impact on consumption patterns and working style of today’s generation.  While many still wonder or even push back, change has happened.

While not so long ago we were used to applying multiple gadgets to listen to music, checking agendas and sharing photos with others by sending it via email, more and more today have clear expectations on how to effectively handle his day to day activities based on latest technology trends and innovations.

Most of us I think will agree that we don’t want to miss out on our smart phones after we started to appreciate how their versatility helps us being more efficient in our daily activities and routines. Though it starts to get a problem when you not longer know where the “off” button is – literally and metaphorically speaking.

But let´s face it – very similar trends can also be observed in the business world. New technologies and innovations allowed us to make better use of business software and to facilitate the complexity when working with large enterprise systems. Yet the concept of such software merely remained the same over years, focusing primarily on processes, transactions and compliance aspects.


Specifically when looking into the cloud computing business this unilateral approach no longer holds true for today’s generation and behavior of business users. Consuming business solutions over the internet creates certain expectations at the user end. They want to adapt their Web 2.0 working style to the world of business software, such as:


  • being socially connected
  • exchange information and collaborate with their network
  • give recommendations or feedback
  • easily leverage multiple sources of content
  • instantly access apps or add-ons to increase productivity
  • have information available on their mobile devices
  • make use of latest innovations


These assumptions need to be the conceptual basis of all Line of Business OnDemand solutions so they have an appeal to the individual employee. Even better if you are able to combine the people centric approach and the process that ensures consistency across the enterprise.


At SAP and have evolved into a key design principle when it comes to product development:people- centricity and process savvy.


This mainly covers the following elements:


  • user experience based on attractive user interface and intuitive navigation
  • collaboration that is embedded into business processes and leverages social network concepts


  • insight-driven to make instant and efficient use of data
  • mobility to seamlessly access information
  • orchestrated to leverage and nurture key enterprise processes


The solutions to be effective also longer term need to be designed to seamlessly integrate into other business platforms – such as a Business Suite – to enable end to end business processes. Integration of third-party content and a wide range of services are completing the offer.


Solutions like SAP´s OnDemand solutions strongly build on these principles and have taken them as centerpiece of their design. For example, to offer a next-generation and people-centric talent management solution for the workforce of the 21st century, no need to focus on employee performance management and development first. The first ask of an employee will and should be: “what is in for me”, not “how do I obey to the HR processes”.




Unlike other solutions in the past, forward looking solutions should not primarily be build to help companies keep track of their data and to ensure compliance of their human resources related business processes. Innovative solutions need to be foremost designed people centric to empower employees to:


  • proactively take charge of their career
  • collaborate with their network
  • leverage their network to achieve their goals
  • become more visible by sharing goals and achievements


Surely managing relevant business data remains a key requirement for enterprises – and orchestration with traditional HR and talent management systems will help here. But when it comes to selecting software, people-centric aspects will become more and more dominant. Especially in the cloud business where the delivery model allows lines of businesses and end-users to directly consume software.


In one of the next blogs we will further elaborate on how our OnDemand solutions have incorporated person-centric elements in the context of business processes and how they can actually have a positive direct impact on the value creation process of a company.


Coming to the end of this blog one question remains open: How can you make sure the people-centric approach in your solution is actually meeting the requirements and expectations of the end-user, for who the product is designed for?

Basically you need to design your solutions from the employee up, not the enterprise down.

To ensure this, SAP established indirect quality gates by launching a dedicated and global co-innovation program for OnDemand solutions. Main objective is to continuously validate the latest solution development with end-users of our prospects, customers and partners. This not only allows SAP to stay focused on its design principles, but also ensures that latest market requirements and innovations are built into the solution in an appropriate way.

So in the light of today’s consumption patterns and delivery models one can truly say when it comes to solution development and being successful in the market of cloud based software: The end-user is the currency…at least he is becoming it more and more.


Let us know what you think.

Janto Müller-Gaska and Sven Denecken (@SDenecken)

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