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A phenomenal number of people in the world are affected by cancer, whether individuals battling the disease, their family and friends, or the medical specialists researching cures and treating patients.


That’s why I’m humbled and grateful to be associated with the SAP Medical Research Insights solution, powered by SAP HANA, which recently won the highly regarded Red Dot Award for Communication Design, in the Interface Design Category. SAP co-innovated this real-time analytics tool for cancer research with the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) in Germany, which enables researchers and caregivers to work more effectively and efficiently.


I’m certainly honored and proud of the team that worked so hard to develop this award-winning solution. And the accomplishment means so much more: by applying user-centered design to an enterprise system, we have engineered and delivered a solution that benefits not just the NCT but all of society.

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What’s amazing to me is how this system showcases the role of design in enterprise software today. It’s true that a key component of the solution is SAP HANA, which offers blazingly fast analytics on huge volumes of data, both structured and unstructured. But beyond engineering excellence, it’s the design that is making a contribution to the world, helping patients get better care and, literally, saving their lives.


Design, after all, is more than just the colors and icons on the user’s screen. Design can actually deliver real value when it creates a visually appealing and intuitive experience that aligns with users’ needs and the challenges they face, and enables them to work in a whole new – and superior way.

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Consider that when NCT first approached us, they hoped to improve the work of determining which patients would be the best candidates to test new drug treatments in clinical trials. The old approach involved painstaking, manual processes that could eat up weeks of precious time. They rightly thought SAP HANA could speed up that process by analyzing millions of data points in real-time.

But we went beyond that initial request. Using Design Thinking methodology, SAP’s designers, developers and UX experts carefully observed how physicians, nurses and researchers actually work in their daily lives, asking probing questions about what they needed to accomplish. Through this on-site research, we discovered that both doctors and researchers would benefit from fast, easy and secure access to critical information, better search capabilities and more automated processes. Using that insight, our design expertise and principles of design thinking, we developed a solution that shows doctors a holistic view of patients’ medical histories through a graphical timeline.  As a result, doctors can spend more time with patients and less on paperwork, patients get more individualized attention, and research studies are conducted more quickly. Most important, we all stand a better chance of beating cancer.


In the end, this is SAP’s mission: to change people’s lives. We believe that with our capabilities in design and engineering excellence, we are fully equipped to help our customers realize the increasingly important role – and game-changing value – of design.

Interesting reads:
Design + SAP HANA = Innovation
How to convince IT and Business to value design?
The value of design (video)
More customer success stories

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  1. Boyd Lever

    Kudos, Andreas- I also think this is important. Segmentation of patient experience in medicine is an opportunity for software developers and product managers.

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