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Developing a Strategic and Delightful User Experience

This week SAP Services will descend upon San Antonio for Innovation Days.  This annual gathering of practitioners across North America will feature key messaging from SAP service executives as well as the opportunity to learn and share with each other best practices and techniques in areas such as transformation strategies, simple delivery approaches, and operational excellence.  For me after 20 years in the SAP ecosystem and having attended a dozen SAPPHIRE conferences, FKOM and PKOM this will be my first exposure to SAP Services practitioners in their native environment.

I’ve been working with a small collective of SAP experts in the area of User Experience strategy since mid-2014.  This is a relatively new discipline spear-headed by SAP Chief Design Officer Sam Yen.  The essence is that SAP customers demand a consumerization of their business systems, similar to the user consumer experience of many environments such as Amazon and others.  To this SAP has responded with a three-pronged strategy:

  1. create new consumable applications, particularly in the mobile app space
  2. renew existing applications with a richer, more pleasant user experience
  3. enable SAP customers to create their own user experiences how and where they like

With nearly 80% of all global SAP applications using a SAP GUI interface that is over 20 years old, the challenge appears daunting.  However SAP knows (because its customers have said so) that not every application needs to be mobilized into a contained app and not every SAP customer is prepared to even web-enable some or all of its applications.  (Sam has a fantastic free course on the rationale and logic behind this strategy and how SAP and its customers will make this journey together in an openSAP course available to the public upon availability SAP UX Strategy in a Nutshell by Sam Yen.)  SAP priovides a quick 2-minute white board primer on the YouTube channel.

This week at Innovation Days I will join my colleague Carsten Boekholt from SAP Business Transformation Services as we explore what this strategy means to its practitioners, customers and the company.  If you plan to be in San Antonio, please give our sessions – which will be presented three times – consideration.  (The full agenda is available on the SAP Innovation Days Jam Site.) Carsten will provide a case study for discussion on UX Strategy and value realization at a strategic SAP account.

For those of you who can’t attend the conference, here is a sneak preview of our 5 pitfalls to avoid:

  1. UX is a strategy, not a tactical discussion
  2. Do not engage in a technology or solution led engagement (e.g. “Let’s implement x number of Fiori Apps”).
  3. Start by understanding the issues before advising appropriate technology or solutions Involve real end users and not proxies
  4. Discourage customers “doing it themselves.” This is not simply a HTML5 conversation!
  5. Select pathway concepts carefully, with high impact potential.

Practitioners can also visit the UX Strategy SAP Jam site. Customers can learn more information on the SAP Marketplace. Or please feel free to contact me via SCN or Twitter at @william_newman.

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