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Author's profile photo Jocelyn Dart

Make sure it Matters – Skilling up for UXaaS Discover phase with SAP Splash

Update:  Almost a year later and at Teched 2016 it was announced that the term Splash would no longer be used… but don’t worry the content is all still there.  SAP has simply decided to put everything together under the brand SAP BUILD.  You’ll find the SPLASH content mainly in the Build Learning Center and the Build Gallery at .  And although the prototyping tool BUILD has now gone GA, all the Splash content is still free, and even BUILD prototyping can still be used in free trial mode… although if you want to scale you’ll need a subscription licence from HCP or the SAP Store.

Image courtesy of nongpimmy at


ID-100197219.jpgRecently I posted a blog on adapting to UXaaS priorities Make it Work, Make it Right, Make it Fast – Adapting to UXaaS priorities – partly because I wanted to highlight to IT people that when it comes to User Experience you can do everything technically right and still miss the mark. You can build a brilliant app and see everyone in the organization ignore it.


In fact I just had another of these conversations today. This customer is planning to put in a bunch of standard Fiori apps as-is with a stated goal of enhancing user experience.  Which is all well and good from a technical perspective, but risks completely missing the mark of enhancing user experience, and making no-one in the business happy.


Real UX success starts at the Discover phase. In this blog I expand on the Discover phase – what are the priorities in this phase and what skills do you need.


Why the Discover phase is essential to UX

When we talk about scaling UX we have a mountain of UX renewal to climb in the Enterprise world.


Customers and employees expect Enterprise UX to be as good as Consumer UX.  Consumer UX has it easy. Take something like Facebook – there’s only about 20 to 30 screens that reportedly 1.55 billion people use to do a very small number of tasks.  It’s comparatively easy to create great UX when you can focus on such a small number of screens even with such a huge volume of users.


Contrast Consumer UX with Enterprise UX. SAP has estimated there are some 300-400K screens created over the last 40 years servicing a vast array of tasks performed by widely differing groups of users with widely differing needs.  Some of these tasks may be critical to the organization but performed by a very small group of users… 


…like security administrators – there’s usually only a handful of people but if they accidentally grant the wrong person the wrong authority, the costs to the organization can be huge (think law suits and industrial action).


With so much Enterprise UX to renew we have a marathon in front of us.  Motivating stakeholders and end users to hang in for a long journey is essential.  That’s why the Discover phase – where choose our first/next UX targets – is so important in UXaaS.


The cost of missing the Discover phase

I have personally seen an organization’s mobile strategy put back a year by choosing the wrong first target for UX renewal.  Here’s how this little tragedy unfolds:


IT wants something to showcase that everyone will understand to motivate them for UX renewal.  So they choose an app like Leave Request, because everyone understands Leave Request. 


IT thinks:  “Everyone will get it … they will immediately see how this can be applied to their tasks … the crowd goes wild… IT are the heroes once more…” 🙂 😎 😆


In this organization most people can count on the fingers of one hand the number of time in a year they submit a Leave Request. And that’s where it all goes wrong… because while everyone understands Leave Request, no-one really cares.  And it’s very hard to get people excited about something they don’t care about. 


Stakeholders, business and end users think: “Why is IT showing me this irrelevant app … this app won’t help me personally … this app has little business impact… IT doesn’t get it … again!” 😕 🙁 😡


Choosing the right UX targets

The Discover phase of UXaaS is all about making sure we are tackling the right sort of user experience that will motivate the business and end users for the journey ahead, and restore hope that IT actually understands them. The right user experience target has:

  • Real  business impact – it provides real business value
  • Really matters to the business – it solves real pain or brings real opportunities


Choose something with real business impact


If you start by renewing a UX that people do 5 times a year, even if you manage to shave 2 minutes off each task, you are only saving them 10 minutes in a year.  That’s rather underwhelming.


But shave 2 minutes off a task they do 5 times every working day, and over a year you are saving them over a week.

Save 2 minutes off a task done by 1 person 5 times every working day, with 300 days per year:

2 minutes * 5 tasks/day * 300 days = 50 hours saved (more than a week)


They can do something real with a week – plan an event, learn a new skill, network with a new contact.


If there’s 10 people that do that task, you are giving the business back close to 3 months.

Do that for 10 people:

50 hours * 10 people = 500 hours / 8 hour working day = 62.5 / 5 day working week = 12.5 weeks (approx 3 months)


Show you can scale that to a dozen other tasks and soon you are giving back nearly 3 years.

Scale to a 12 tasks:

12.5 weeks * 12 tasks = 150 weeks saved (just under 3 years)


Factor the time savings against the salaries of the affected people and you can even turn that time into a dollar value saving for the organisation.

150 weeks saved * average annual salary 50,000 USD = Over 144K USD


That would probably pay for an innovation proof of concept…. and the real savings are potentially much much greaterImprove not only the time taken but also the clarity and simplicity of the task and you can add in reductions in training costs, support tickets and change requests and you are talking real business impact. 

UX Value Calculator.JPG

I’ve been deliberately conservative in these figures, but it’s easy to see that it doesn’t take much to start seeing some fairly encouraging numbers from even small UX improvements for a very small number of users – which by the way is one of the reasons UX renewal often starts with small pilot groups – and that’s something the business can get excited about.


The UX Value Calculator tool is an easy way to generate a high level estimate of the business impact of your particular UX scenario. As someone involved in the Discover phase I’d highly recommend reading this blog by Tobias Gollwitzer to understand more:



Choose UX that really matters


What’s more your first UX target doesn’t need to be an app that everyone understands – it’s enough to pick a user experience that really matters to one part of the organization. An app that solves real pain or provides a significant new opportunity.


Right now it’s usually not that hard to identify some part of your organisation that is experiencing real UX pain and select an app that remediates a significant part of that pain.  If they do lots of purchasing it might be My Shopping Cart or Track Shopping Carts.  If they struggle to get up-to-date pay information it might be My Paystubs. If it’s getting new customers created it might be Request new customer in MDG.  There are lots of apps to choose from in the Fiori Apps Reference Library.  It doesn’t matter which app you pick so long as it:


  • Solves real UX pain, or
  • Brings significant new value, and
  • Fits your environment, e.g. don’t choose a HANA app if you are on a AnyDB environment


At a recent AnyDB customer of mine, Fiori My Inbox was our first target.  The current inbox used by this part of the organization was over complicated and was suffering from some serious performance challenges and data replication delays.  There were so many complaints about the current inbox, and knowing that Fiori My Inbox would meet most of those challenges either out of the box or with some tailoring via the extensibility features, Fiori My Inbox was an easy choice as a first target app.  Especially since we knew that we could draw on an excellent collection of cookbooks and lessons learned on SCN: SAP Fiori – My Inbox


The Discover phase is about making sure we are choosing to renew UX that matters. We identify tasks that have high business impact and put those as early targets in our roadmap for UX renewal.  We make sure that we know who cares about the task – that’s your stakeholders – who knows about the process and it’s touch-points to other tasks – that’s your business process expert – and who we need to do the task and get it right – those are your end users.


From Discover to Design, Develop, and Deploy

Once you know what app you want to target, the final part of Discover is gathering information about the as-is and to-be user experience that we can take into design. 


It’s vital that you gather information on user experience – not just user interface.  So we are talking more than just what someone sees on a screen. We also want information on:

  • the criticality of the information the user needs to capture, i.e. how that information affects subsequent processes – especially what’s the cost of a user entering the wrong value
  • what sort of role performs this task? How do we correctly identify the affected users and their needs?
  • what sort of environment is the user in when they do these tasks – are they at a quiet desk where they can focus or on a noisy factory floor with lots of distractions?
  • what’s their real process for completing the task now – is everything to hand or do they need to go and gather part numbers, barcodes, cost codes, etc. from a bunch of different people or places to complete the task?
  • what’s the project sponsors vision of how this role will change in future – is it moving from in-the-office to in-the-field? is it moving from user intensive to partly automated? how will that change what the user needs to do?


SAP Splash already provides some accelerators in its Learning area that are helpful for defining the roles (personas) that match the user and their context,  interviewing users , consolidating your findings and for defining points of view.


This is critical as the points of view insights we gain from understanding the user experience are crucial to the design phase – without them we simply cannot build a good  – let alone a great – new user experience.  And often these insights need to be passed to the Develop and Deploy phases also – so that trade-offs in security, device access, and behind the scenes background processes can be made in a way that enhances or at least does not degrade the overall design.



Why Design Thinking fits with the UXaaS Discover Phase

A well-proven methodology for the Discover phase is Design Thinking. You can find out more about design thinking here: SAP also offers courses and certification on design thinking and there are industry equivalents as well such as the Stanford crash course in design thinking.


If you are not familiar with design thinking you may have heard that quite a lot of Post-It notes are used… but design thinking is not about workshops with Post-It notes – they are just a handy tool.  As a practitioner myself I view design thinking in UX as primarily about:


  • Efficient discovery of real actionable requirements …in a way that far exceeds what is achievable by just asking people what they want
  • Innovative solution creation engaging stakeholders, subject matter experts, IT  and selected end users in collaborating on a holistic, pre-validated way forward


With respect to UXaaS, design thinking helps us with UX discovery and setting up success for the Design, Develop, and Deploy phases of UXaaS.  It helps us make sure we are targeting our UX renewal on apps that matter to our chosen audience, and that we’ve understood problem and needs that we can validate our chosen solution against.  More than that, it builds mutual understanding of the UX problem and solution between stakeholders, business process experts, developers, designers, and most importantly end users.


If Design Thinking is not an option

However not every organisation’s culture supports design thinking.  So what do you do if your organisation isn’t quite there yet?


Well design thinking comes with a lot of techniques that work in particular situations. In fact learning design thinking teaches you what sort of techniques will work well in which situation and why.  For instance, if you are in an organization that typically holds meetings by everyone sitting down around a table, just getting people up to draw a diagram of the options on a whiteboard can be a big step forward.


There are lots of techniques you can use to improve different parts of your discovery.  One reason I really like the new SAP Splash Learning Center is that it doesn’t make assumptions that you will be using design thinking end to end. Instead it provides accelerators – some as simple as a PPT slide – and method cards – some as simple as a step-by-step bullet list – that help you incorporate some new techniques in your organization as an when you think appropriate.


Your organization may not even be quite ready to recognize the Discover phase itself, but someone still needs to choose that first/next target app.  You may want to start by simply being the voice of reason when it comes to choosing the app that will make a real difference to the organization.  Get your point across and then use early UX successes to drive greater recognition of the importance of putting together an effective UX roadmap. Which is what the UX Discover phase is ultimately all about.


Skilling up for the Discover Phase

If you are involved in the Discover phase, consider skilling up in Design Thinking methodology and techniques, and mining the resources in SAP Splash.

But even more importantly understand what we are trying to achieve in the Discover phase of UXaaS, and make sure you are choosing first/next target apps that provide real value to the business and maximize your chances of UX success.


I also recommend blogs by Andreas Hauser such as this one How to Convince IT and Business to Value Design and this Design, UX, UI … what is the difference to learn how to get the message across about the importance of the UXaaS Discover phase, the difference between UX and UI, and how what we learn in the Discover phase helps us in the Design and Deliver phases.


For a discussion on Skilling up for the Design phase you may find my next blog helpful: Make it work … Skilling up for UXaaS Design with SAP BUILD

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      Author's profile photo Henk Verdaasdonk
      Henk Verdaasdonk

      Hi Jocelyn,

      Very good blog. Gives a lot things to think about and to reconsider. I'm for sure going to look into SAP Splash,

      Thanks Henk.

      Author's profile photo Jelena Perfiljeva
      Jelena Perfiljeva

      Great blog, Jocelyn (as always)! 🙂

      Just recently I thought about the lack of UI design skills or just plain good ol' empathy among the IT crowd. I have a habit of opening Outlook first thing in the morning and would like for it to be always in the leftmost position on taskbar. Possibly a little OCD but hey, I'm a user here, I want what I want. 🙂 But unfortunately if I accidentally close it (for a variety of reasons, small laptop screen one of them) then it looses its prime position.

      I did Google search for "Outlook confirm exit" and among multiple posts from Microsoft domain (none with a solution) there was a non-MS one, so I thought - cool, this one might have some trick. But instead from that post I've learned that I am a complete moron who does not exercise good "computer hygiene" and should just stop clicking f*g buttons.

      Unfortunately, this kind of attitude is still prevalent in the IT world (can't deny I'm guilty of it as well). Instead of trying to understand our users as customers we dismiss their needs and concerns with "just stop clicking buttons!". No matter what fancy tools we get we won't make better UI designers if we don't empathize with others.

      Author's profile photo Matt Fraser
      Matt Fraser

      Hmm. Well, I have that same OCD about where Outlook should be on the task bar, but I've solved it (at least for Win7). By putting a shortcut to Outlook permanently on the taskbar, whenever I open it, it opens in the shortcut's position.

      Author's profile photo Jocelyn Dart
      Jocelyn Dart
      Blog Post Author

      Hey Jelena! Love your story... and yes I frequently feel like taking my younger self aside and giving her a sharp talking-to for some of my less than empathetic behaviours.  At one stage I'm ashamed to say one of my favourite sayings was "dumb screens breed dumb users".  😳  

      These days I find that the more I learn about design, not only am I more empathetic, but you stop blaming yourself for not being able to figure out sorts of things...because you know.... clearly it's just bad UX design.  Bathroom fixtures, kitchen appliances, even that glass door that doesn't clearly indicate whether you should push or pull ... bad designer.

      And of course that makes us lift our own game! 😉

      I make no claims to be anywhere near a professional designer, but these days I'm happy to claim "developer with some design skills" and I think that's what it's going to take to scale UX.

      And hey - I've grown to love the button-clickers long as I can direct them into testing stuff where the can do most good by finding those pesky bugs and poorly documented features before the rest of us do. 😏

      Author's profile photo Matt Fraser
      Matt Fraser

      I do need to echo Henk and Jelena, this is an excellent blog, with a lot of food for thought and great (and actionable!) ideas. Gonna have my boss look at this one, because the scenarios you paint will soon apply to us.

      Author's profile photo Jocelyn Dart
      Jocelyn Dart
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks Matt - please look also at the prior blog. I'm planning to do at least one more soon on Make it Work.

      It's important that managers understand the mindsets and aptitudes of their people for UXaaS. 

      Some developers and architects just won't be able to make the leap - and those you don't want anywhere near Discover/Design because they can kill UX before it gets out the gate. 

      But the ones who do have the right mindset and some aptitude - those we need LOTS of!

      Author's profile photo Jocelyn Dart
      Jocelyn Dart
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Matt, Just in case you missed it the Make it work blog is also out now... you'll find it here...

      Make it work … Skilling up for UXaaS Design with SAP BUILD

      Author's profile photo Christopher Solomon
      Christopher Solomon

      EXCELLENT!!!! 🙂

      Author's profile photo Gaurav Dey
      Gaurav Dey

      Great blog

      Author's profile photo George Hayes
      George Hayes

      Excellent Blog on BUILD, Jocelyn. For more information visit the BUILD SCN page or head to