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Author's profile photo Sharath M G

Transform the customer: from consumer to innovator

Hello All,

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 The management is technically, so outdated.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 Our customer is so outdated.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.

Thank you.



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      Author's profile photo Tobias Gollwitzer
      Tobias Gollwitzer


      what you describe is absolutely true and is one of the biggest challenges for SAP
      and the user experience for the end users. Due to the facts you described the
      adoption of new UX technology in the past was quite low as this cannot be
      implemented as a big bang for the whole company. The lessons SAP also learned
      here is that you have to focus on the right scenarios for the right user group
      where you gain the biggest impact. In the same way SAP has prioritized the
      scenarios which have been chosen for renewal in e.g. SAP Fiori the customer has
      to identify his biggest pain points and the areas where he can push the most
      with an improved user experience. We are helping the customer here in identifying
      those sweet spots and the selection of the right technology per scenario per
      user group and per issue. At the end the customer has then an own adapted user
      experience strategy. As there is today not only one fit all approach any
      more. The scenarios and its target user role requirements are deriving the
      selection of the right technology in addition the content of the scenarios need
      to be reviewed and eventually be stripped down to remove additional complexity
      which is not always needed for all user roles. This example illustrates that it
      is a journey and a roadmap where the customer need to start and then follow the
      path along the previously defined priority in its own user experience strategy.
      This does not always mean a lot of development days, there is a bunch of
      scenarios renovated by SAP in standard with and improved user experience which
      can help immediately for certain use cases and then there are do it yourself
      tools like SAP Screen Personas where the customer can improve the usability
      of the scenarios which are not renovated by SAP in standard with very low
      efforts. As the customer will be in the driver seat in all those strategic decisions
      he will be the innovator at the end.

      I´m a program manager in the team of Andreas Hauser called Design and Co-Innovation Center.

      Best Regards Tobias Gollwitzer

      Author's profile photo Sharath M G
      Sharath M G
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Tobias,

      It was nice to receive your feedback.

      This is the right time to involve the customers along with the implementation teams.

      Its definitely the collective failure of our customer engagement teams(Sales/Marketing/Technical) in failing to get the customer involved in the IT design process.

      Thank you also for your inputs regarding the SAP road map.

      I would definitely attempt to do some difference and continue the crusade towards a better SAP UX and in that sense a better SAP.

      Thank you.