Last Friday I spent a couple of hours in a session with an SAP SuccessFactors hybrid customer. Christy Robinson, my solution consulting colleague demonstrated SuccessFactors talent management applications including Goals and Performance management.
Christy did a fine job of telling the product story from the point of view of Carla Grant, a general manager with many direct reports. The demo was engaging and along the way Christy immersed herself in the persona of Carla Grant and talked about solving talent management problems and discussed how the customer also faces similar problems. HR Business partners from the customer organizations joined the conversation.
During this back and forth something interesting happened. One of the business process owners from the customer organization started addressing Christy as Carla. Rather than point out the mistake, Christy went with the flow, put herself in the shoe of Carla Grant and continued the conversation as if she were Carla. I do not think that the customer even noticed this.This is a great example of the power of personas. Telling a story from a person’s point of view is one of the most effective ways to convey the value of a product or service.
In the design stages of a product, putting oneself in the shoes of the end-user and visualizing the solution via stories and prototypes is the most effective way to build a product, present it and seek feedback. In most new projects at SAP, we put the person in the middle and think about empowering the person first, even if the person is not the direct buyer. Our designers, product managers and sales executives are trained in the design thinking process.
I personally believe that this approach of building and marketing products is going to make SAP products better and more valuable for customers. I have noticed that product teams that use this approach are in a better position to succeed compared to the product teams that do not take this approach.