Transform the customer: from consumer to innovator
The subject is inspired by Mr. Andreas Hauser’s webinar on User Experience. Changing the Game of SAP User Experience – YouTube
As part of the developer community, our favorite topics during the coffee breaks are:
1. The management is technically, so outdated.
2. Our customer is so outdated.
3. We are so unfortunate, to always take the blame.
I was always wondering, the process to bring about a change in this pattern. I feel that, only way we can bring about a change is by presenting the right vision.
Whenever, we approach the management or customer, we need to articulate our vision. However, we fail to understand is that vision is also “.. in the eye of the beholder”.
Now, to bring about change we have to package our proposal by understanding their concerns. If our message is constructed with the right intention and to address the audience’s concerns then the chances of its adoption will be higher.
Lets look at a typical day of an SAP developer( at least mine ): A table is given a scroll bar option with the new version of SAP. I am super-excited as its so much better than old version paging. I ask for an upgrade.
Now, as a team lead/customer, when this request is placed he will consider the cost involved and its value add. Its almost nil.
So, his response is: “Its a nice option. Let us consider in future”.
If we tweak our approach: Now, I approach my manager with the set of new features available with the upgrade. I also show how with the new UI enhancements, we can reduce the time taken by the user to complete the operation. This way, more users will use this solution and will bring better ROI to the customer.
It will surely bring in a positive response from your management and hopefully, this can influence the customer, too.
The customer, who is always looked as a consumer, who is fed what he wants but not what he really needs. So, instead of a passive aggression towards the consumer, we need to adopt a positive transformation.
Traditional approach is to empower the customer with the vision which is made for his scenario. We state SAP documents to bring about customer involvement, then all the sales teams outside SAP go about preaching the gospel of SAP with the standard set of solutions/possibilities. We attempt to understand the customer’s needs and adapt SAP’s solution and offering to suit the customer.
This approach is good but it fails in bringing about a transformation in the customer. The customer becomes ever-dependent on the IT provider. Now, as an IT provider its good to have a permanent account but that’s where we lose the aspect of customer value. The customer loses interest over a period as he is not deeply involved in the IT decisions. Finally, IT budgets are cut and we end up losing the account.
Now, when we need a scenario where the customer is the innovator.
The customer should be able to decide their IT vision with the assistance of the IT provider. Only then, will we enable the customer to feel the true value in IT. Internet solutions are no more only about being accessible outside office.
User Experience is the driving factor behind user adoption of the IT solution. To ensure the that customer understands the IT needs of their users, we need customers to become innovators. As professional IT provider’s it is in out mutual interest to ensure this new design thinking.