02 – Let’s talk about SAP’s UX Strategy
It is a real privilege for me to be a part of the SAP UX Strategy work group. In this blog I want to share a little bit about this process as well as highlight a key practical message relating to how you translate the SAP UX Strategy into reality.
Evolving the SAP UX Strategy
Although the UX Strategy document only lists 5 authors, there is a group of people involved with us. The imperative of a coherent UX Strategy from SAP came at the very first Executive Advisory Board meeting for Usability, hosted by Nestle at their head office in Vevey, Switzerland. During this meeting there was a groundswell of support from our customers for the complete refresh of our UX Strategy with the defined purpose to help them make better investment decisions for the future.
This process broadly involves facilitation of multiple groups internal in SAP, plus discussions and validation with EAB customers. During these meetings we always need to discuss the best way to explain what is currently available and our own ‘course and speed’ – where are we investing, what are we working towards, what are the best estimates of the future state. Although this sounds easy, believe me these discussions can be very intensive. One of our key roles as an author group is to ensure coherence of all aspects of the UX Strategy.
As I write this blog, we are already well underway to complete the fourth version of the UX Strategy in time for the
next UX Council meeting in mid-October. We are working hard to cover a wider scope and I believe this will continue on in 2015 as we work towards full coverage of our portfolio.
Translating the SAP UX Strategy
Now on to the practical side. The SAP UX Strategy defines New, Renew and Enable as key strategic pillars, underpinned by UX & Design Services. The full implication of this strategy is that SAP is in a transition state where multiple UI technologies exist in parallel. This can be a source of confusion, or on the other hand I suggest it is an opportunity to create better solutions. Better in the sense that we can leverage the strengths of multiple solutions and UI components as well as target specific user groups with a specifically designed solution.
To put this in another way, it is now possible to create a coherent user experience for a specific role or user group by combining multiple UX solutions and UI components together in a UI client. I refer to this as the ‘Coherent Multi UI technology Solution’.
This approach is based optimisation > better utilise your existing estate and the standard solutions available from SAP. This is a transition solution that is a result of the massive scale of what SAP is undertaking by transforming our user experience to Fiori UX, based on cloud, a HANA platform with simplified Applications and integrated and applied Analytics. Please refer to my blog 01 where I highlighted the key architectural decision for each of our customers. In this regard please consider that standard maintenance of ECC 6 to help crystallise your planning milestone.
In order to realise the Coherent Multi UI Technology solution, you need to have real insight into transactions, pain points, and end users. Without doing Discovery work it would not be possible to determine a holistic solution and a subset of this as the scope for the UX prototype. A key pre-requisite is the availability of a representative environment with all the UX solutions ready for use. Once you have all the details to determine the exact scope ito. processes, users, and solutions, you need to design and build the solution components.
At this stage the next practical consideration is End User Coherence. Specifically, a single point of access. We need to avoid that a particular end user suddenly has multiple access points to consume different scenarios, processes or tasks in SAP. The key component of this step is the UI client. In a way, SAP has been preparing for the Multi UI technology solution by developing highly capable UI Clients that act as the foundation for future UX improvement initiatives. Both the UI clients integrate SAP Embedded/Enterprise search, support role based menus, and integrate multiple UI technologies.
• Desktop Users: Utilise the Netweaver Business Client;
• Device Users: Utilise the Fiori Launch Pad.
Note: Portal is a valid UI client in this context. A portal has extensive capabilities and will be the right solution if you require these additional capabilities such as application hosting, content hosting and management etc.
A final note. I have seen many customers take a technology based approach to drive a UX initiative. I have not seen many successes with this approach. A key issue is that each solution from SAP has strengths and weaknesses. By going at this with one or 2 solutions only (as a wild guess SAP Fiori and SAP Screen Personas), I see most customers run into the limitations of the solutions. This is the so called ‘I have a hammer, and now I am looking for nails’ approach. NB: What are you trying to achieve? How do you know that you are targeting the right areas? Why limit yourself to only 2 solutions?
In conclusion it should be clear to our customers that while SAP is undertaking this transformation journey in User Experience, there are huge opportunities to realise business value through UX improvements. I encourage you to make best use of the wide array of
opportunities as soon as possible.