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Author's profile photo Chantele Smith

SAP Fiori – Taking the “phobe” out of Technophobe

Hi reader, this blog post is short and sweet, as i wanted to share a funny story with the community.

Here at Barnsley MBC we are currently going through large scale digital transformation, by including rationalizing both our systems and our processes.  Basically bringing the council into the 21st century.  One of the biggest changes taking place however, is the push towards digital, and making processes accessible on multiple devices.

My role in all of this is to develop our internal mobile applications, using SAP Fiori and UI5.  The princple of SAP Fiori being simplicity, click here for a demo.

There are a set of design guidelines to follow, that mean all the apps have the same look and feel, meaning the user experience is the same across all the apps. Each app is there for one transaction in SAP, meaning there shouldn’t been too much interaction from the user in order to complete the process.

But anyway, how is the helping the technophobes you wonder?

Well, the other part of my job is to promote the use of these apps across the council to increase buy-in from end users.  We thought this would be pretty easy given the fact that one our first apps was to book leave, and it’s the only way this can be done now, so you’d expect everyone use it right? Nope.

It’s not that simple

First all, apps can be accessed outside of the authority network, meaning they can be installed on personal devices.  However, some staff claimed they do not know how to do that, or that they don’t have a device to use the apps on (yes some of these employees have facebook profiles, so how does that work, hmmm).

In answer to this, I hosted a drop-in session where staff could come in and ask any questions they had about the apps, no matter how big or how small.  This was a huge success, as we had all types or questions to answer, and answer them we did.  Meaning everyone went away happy, and more comfortable going forward.

But here is the best bit.

About half way through the day in walks “Employee A”, of middle to late age, who hands me a brand new tablet device, which even has the plastic film on the screen.

Employee A says “I’ve brought in my tablet, can you help install the apps on show me what i need to do?  I got the tablet for Christmas a year ago, and it’s never been out of the box, but now I have a need to use it i thought this would be a good place to start”

Employee A had never been one for technology, their role was one that required them to go out and visit members of the public.  They have a simple mobile phone, and a paper diary to keep appointments in, so never had a need or desire to embrace technology.  Until now.

Employee A is no longer a technophobe, in fact from what I gather they have since installed more apps on to their tablet, and even shopped online.

All because Barnsley council started using Fiori.

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      Author's profile photo Jeremy Good
      Jeremy Good

      Hi Chantele,

      Thank you for the inspiring blog - you now are a repeat contributor to the myfioristory content on the Share your SAP Fiori Implementation Experience with the Community! page 🙂

      A personal reflection I take away from your story, and one that is an excellent reminder to all of us - don't assume that all end users are the same, and if they don't think/act like 'us' that they are wrong.  I am personally guilty of being stubborn and reluctant to change at times, which is why your patient and tireless efforts to help Barnsley move forward in the digital transformation is so inspiring.

      In about 15 seconds on your council's website I came across the schedule for the digital device sessions, so going forward should we unofficially address you as Dr. Smith?

      Best Regards,

      Jeremy Good

      Author's profile photo Chantele Smith
      Chantele Smith
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks so much for the kind words Jeremy, I really believe in what we do, and have passion for introducing people to technology.  One of our most valuable assets is time, and people really respond when you spend your time on them, especially where technology is involved.

      As much i would love the title Dr Smith, the device sessions are mine, but a re just another example of Barnsley's willingness to help the community get to grips with new technology.