In calendar week 45, a plenum of international customers and consultants met for a 4-day workshop in Walldorf. The goal of the workshop was to bring customers and development together in order to push and further define the new configuration solution that is currently being developed for the S/4HANA cloud, SAP S/4HANA for Advanced Variant Configuration.
The workshop participants used the design thinking approach, so mockups and prototyping played a huge role. As part of their discussions, the customers collected ideas and feedback with regard to features, UI, further requests particular for their industry or company, and so on. SAP development directly used these ideas as a basis for new paper mockups, which, enriched with real-life data, were then again tested by the customers. The response to this circular approach, as well as to the solution SAP is aiming at, was very positive:
“I have been working to influence SAP in the area of Variant Configuration since 1999, including the LO-VC, IPC, SCE, and PMEVC applications. Without a doubt, the SAP S/4HANA for Advanced Variant Configuration project has been the best example of SAP and customers working together that I have ever seen. The 2016 series of workshops using Design Thinking have been especially exciting. Customers were directly able to see the things they had asked for in June applied by SAP and even expanded upon. SAP tries very hard to listen and asking clarifying questions. They try very hard to make sure the customers viewpoint is understood. We still have a long way to go, but I am confident that the continued use of Design Thinking and willingness of SAP to listen to their customers will make the SAP S/4HANA for Advanced Variant Configuration solution a fantastic product!” (Steve Schneider, Steelcase)