Following up from my previous blog on common usage patterns, I now want to share the common UX Pain Points consistently prevalent with most customers I have worked with.

Gaining this type of insight is very helpful in guiding your first efforts to identify UX value opportunities. 

I summarise these UX pain points into seven main categories.  In addition, I find there is a correlation between the common UX pain points and the organisational level of the role.  This is due to the type of use of SAP from the user.

Common UX Pain Point Patterns.png

1. Decision Making

Mainly found in the leadership roles.  These users require outputs from applications to support decision making.  The key pain points are timely data, relevant data and quality of the data.

2. Workflow & Analytics

I group these together from a pain point perspective due to the correlation with the roles that require this type of use.  These are mainly management pain points.  Workflow relates to the impact of late approvals where the delay incurs higher or additional costs, as well as access to multiple systems for different type of approvals.  Analytics refer to the outputs of operational reports and the lack of relevant or accurate data.

3. Coherence

Coherence is a broad term and I want to highlight the following elements specifically.

  • Single Point of Access: Users suffer from a lack of coherence when they need to access multiple different systems or consume multiple different UI technologies using different access points.  The ideal solution is a single access point that integrates access and consumption of all SAP applications.
  • Menu: The standard hierarchy menu [SMEN] provides a general menu that is the same for all users.  A coherent menu solution provides
    a role specific solution with capabilities to support an integrated experience.
  • Navigation: The consistent pain points with navigation are the use of multiple sessions, the navigation options from any point within the system process, and the ability to interact with the role specific menu.
  • Visual Design: Although this may appear superficial, it remains a contributor to fragmentation of user coherence through the different ‘look and feel’ of different solutions.  The reason I add this is that SAP now provides very good capabilities that help to improve visual coherence without the need for much effort spent.

4. Search

In an internal study at SAP we found that up to 20% of the time of a user can be spent searching in SAP.  The UX pain points relate to finding the correct data object where the search engine results are either too restricted, producing limited or incomplete information, or too open, producing 500+ results.  Both these results are problematic and may cause further data quality erosion though the subsequent creation of duplicate data.  Clearly the indexing and parameters of the search engine are relevant, but equally the data quality is paramount.  SAP embedded and Hana search offers great capabilities to our customers.

5. Complexity

Complexity here relates to the user interface.  There are 4 consistent pain points in addition to the topic of coherence:

  • Fields: SAP GUI reflects a design paradigm that transposes the configurability of SAP.  As a result there are many fields that may
    never be relevant for you.  This stands in stark contrast to what is required from a consumer grade user experience.
  • Layout: The layout of the screen – where different objects are placed – influences the ability of the user to intuitively complete the transaction.  This was not a primary design principle when SAP GUI was designed.  The value opportunities come from reducing the risk of data entry errors or reduced the time and thereby user productivity.
  • Flow: Flow is about the sequence of completing a transaction.  SAP GUI provides a flow, but based on the underlying configuration complexity.  It is therefore not optimised for any particular role.  As a result there is a gap between how the user needs to interact and how the user wants to interact and this increases the risk to user productivity.
  • Screens: Many transactions in SAP GUI runs over multiple screens.  The more screens and pop-up windows a user needs to complete the longer the transaction takes to complete.  We have already seen that radically reduced number of screens can increase user satisfaction as well as improve user productivity.

6. Access

This pain point relates to the ability of a user to use SAP when they need to.  In this regard mobile access to SAP provides the desired capability.  This will also trigger the need for security and other supporting capabilities. 

7. Context

Context here relates to the context that supports a user to be more successful while busy with a transaction in SAP.  The pain point in this case is that a user may need to undertake additional actions in the system or with other people before they are able to proceed within the system.  For example to create a sales quote, the user may need to run a credit check.

  • Display: Provide additional context within the UI Client and not a separate screen.
  • Master Records, Reports & GeoTags: Displaying specific details relevant to data objects in the main transaction e.g. a map of where a shipment needs to be dispatched to, or a 3D CAD diagram of a material object like a pump and assembly instructions.
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