Sunday morning 3 o’clock, time to wake up.
Early departure; Flying from the Netherlands, to Madrid. Reason being: Attend SAP Innojam.
If you’re wondering what Innojam is all about, see over here
To summarize; a 30 hour taking event to create and present a working solution. An event where you get to play with the newest SAP technologies, work with the technology experts, and meet lots of other SAP specialists.
Arriving at the Innojam we directly noticed something has changed. Hester Hilbrecht was telling us how & what design thinking is and how we can apply that.
Very interesting. Totally different compared to the InnoJam I joined earlier in 2011. At that time it was business cases and tech fires (introduction of the technology). Then you would decide on team to join, discuss rather shortly what techniques to use and start on development. It is different now.
We first got an explanation of design thinking.
Design thinking does make a whole lot of sense. Create something which actually is what the end-users want and need. Design Thinking is the process do to this by having interviews, collecting data, brainstorm and decide on idea’s, before writing any line of code.
I won’t completely explain design thinking in this blogpost. An example can be found in this post: Spreading Design Thinking a practice workshop
Design Thinking in practice
Having had the explanation of the business cases; It was all about cities for us. As explained in: Design Thinking – better lives, better cities.
I decided to go for the parking case. Finding a parking spot easily in the city.
Teams were formed and we all were assigned a desk/ laptops and a whole set of attributes. playdoh, and a bunch of colorfull pipecleaner material(flexible spaghetti), big sheets of paper, and a whiteboard, and lots of and I mean lots of PostIt’s.
Of we went and we started the design thinking process.
During Innojam for us it meant, perform interviews, collect, compare and group data. Brainstorm on ideas.
Create a point of view, which is a persona + insight. Review another team and vice-versa.
Our resulting point of view:
Next was think about what to create and how it should look like. Think about screendesigns.
We even had the brilliant idea to not only focus on the person trying to find a parking spot. But also on the city government side of the parking theme, see the tax rates which need to be charged to the parkinggarage, the satisfaction rate per garage, etcetera.
One of the screendesigns is shown here.
After the design thinking we presented our ideas.
A final video at the end of the design thinking phase is visible below (14:50, team Park-IT starts):
Decide on the architecture
We knew what we wanted to create. Time to have a discussion on technologies. We figured we needed a frontend (the app) and a backend(persistency) and an easy way to create dashboard on top of the stored data. We discussed on team strength and weaknesses. It turned out we had one ABAP developer and one Java developer (myself) in the team. We decided for a backend which was easy to create, and easy to open up, since we had limited development capacity in the team. Chosen was for Business ByDesign. As frontend a HTML5 interface for the Blackberry RIM tablet.
ByDesign is an SAP ERP Cloud solution. I personally had not worked with it ever before. Neither had anyone in the team.
We used tools like: ByDesign SDK. (ByDesign Studio). This is a Microsoft Visual Studio based development environment, where partners can extend solutions like ByDesign or Sales on Demand or Travel on Demand.
As client there is the iPad app and the webbrowser plugin available for dashboarding purposes.
What we created were two businessobjects for our persistence layer. On top of this we also created reporting by using standard features, like charts. To enable connectivity to the frontend a couple of SOAP services were created, simply via wizards. All of this is done in the ByDesign SDK.
Creating a solution with the blackberry specific technologies, as initially decided, didn’t quite work for us. The HTML5 UI elements weren’t that flexible as we liked them to be. We decided on changing the technology to a native windows8 app, and started coding in C#. In the morning of the 2nd day we had the backend persistency working, the webservices running properly. And a first version of the windows8 app running. We could start with integrating the various pieces and creating the dashboards.
We managed to have a full working demo, including a proper presentation finished on time before the 15h deadline.
Final presentation InnoJam
The recording of all the final presentations on InnoJam is visible here.
Innojam ended in draw between team WeCare and team Park-IT.
The team got this far in my opinion for a couple of reasons;
- Very proper teammanagement
- Diverse skillset which generates a broad set of ideas.
- Conscious and realistic decision on what we could and will be able to create within the given timeframe.
- Split up tasks in the team, to really get something done. One preparing on presentation, others creating the backend objects, creating the dashboards, code on the C# frontend. Create the webservice, manage the team.
- A sexy UI, for sure, it helps
- A solid business case
- A decent presentation
Winning the InnoJam, had a very nice benefit for both the winning teams, we were allowed to present on the DemoJam. We were given the whole tuesday to improve a bit on our app and presentation.
See below for the video of the presentation on DemoJam Madrid.
It resulted in a 3rd place for our team Park-IT, with our ParkingShark app.
We want to thank the Business ByDesign experts for their great help during InnoJam and in preparing for DemoJam.
Thanks to the Microsoft Team, for whom I unfortunately not know all their names; Denis Bauer, Oliver Lohmann, Kirstin Walter and the other members. They were very dedicated to help us in building the native windows 8 application.
Thanks to the Blackberry team, unfortunately it didn’t turn out to be the platform of choice, however they assisted us really well.
And lastly to my great team members in the Park-IT team, together we’ve build the ParkingShark app. In the order as on the picture;
Jan Laros (not on the picture, could only join for the design thinking part of the challenge)
Do you like to try it yourself, or see the technologies behind it:
We want to share what we did;
Frontend: The code of the C# app is available for download here.
Backend + Dashboards: The Business ByDesign solution we created is still available, you could ask one of the Business ByDesign experts, mentioned in this blog to help you get connected.
As a team we all enjoyed being in InnoJam and DemoJam.
Glad you made it to the end of this blog.
Thanks for reading. Certainly hope to see you at a next InnoJam!