Intuitive enough for the Stone Age? Involve end users to design better solutions
Did you ever take a break from work only to see things more clearly for the distance? Such was the case when I escaped to the Red Sea for a few days of diving. On the way thru Cairo, I checked out the pyramids. What does this have to do with my day job running the co-innovation program at SAP for the cloud? Bear with me a minute. So the guide points out how these monuments were constructed like gigantic calendars using star alignments to mark key dates such as spring planting. Suddenly, it dawned on me that calendars have been central to how we think for as far back in history as we can see. This is when I came to appreciate the wisdom of the co-innovation customer who suggested we use the calendar paradigm to navigate the landing page of SAP Travel OnDemand.
As an engineer, I might easily fall into the trap of thinking of User Interfaces in terms of database fields that need to be populated. That’s why feedback from end users is so critical to creating people centric solutions. By aligning the user experience along the way end users think, navigating the solution becomes intuitive. As for the database fields, they are simply populated as a byproduct of the end to end process.
The introduction of calendar navigation is just one of the many innovations in the latest release of SAP Travel OnDemand scheduled to be released to customers in the coming weeks. Another popular new feature is automatic itemization of hotel bills. Thanks to Optical Character Recognition (OCR), travelers no longer have to manually break down hotel bills into the various cost types such as room, meals, telephone etc.
What’s the next Travel destination: Geographic breadth. The platform (PaaS), upon which SAP Travel OnDemand is built, already supports a dozen countries. Therefore, don’t be surprised to see SAP Travel OnDemand on sale in the UK, Australia, Mexico, Canada, Austria, Switzerland, France, India and China (in addition to Germany and the US) yet this year.
If anyone is interested in joining our co-innovation program to aid in the localization of Travel OnDemand for one of these countries please let me know. I can’t promise any field trips to exotic locations like Cairo; however, you might have the opportunity to make a difference like the co-innovation customer who introduced the concept of the calendar!
John Hunt and Sven Denecken