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Whether your company is planning to keep using SAP ECC or going now for S/4 HANA, one sure fire way to improve your teams productivity and reduce costs is by using SAP Screen Personas.

Unlikely many projects in the big software area, projects with SAP Screen Personas can be fast and cheap whilst generating outstanding improvements on the way the ERP system is used inside companies. And it will happen at a fraction of the time and cost that you would expect in order to have the kind of benefit you will get.

It happens because, if you have the right project team and a modern approach like design thinking, SAP Screen Personas is an extremely powerful tool to completely modify the user experience or user interface of SAP systems. It’s possible to make the same business processes to be executed in a much faster way.

The team can be formed of even just one person who profoundly knows Screen Personas and UX principles, tied with programming skills in JavaScript and ABAP. This person should work with your business team to identify and build the scenarios and solutions. If you don’t have such a person on your team, you surely can bring two of them to work together.

One of the main strengths of SAP Screen Personas comes to automating manual labor that is repeatedly done over and over again by employees to have the work done. There are endless repetitive tasks still made inside companies that are needed to make business flow, and so many times the details of software interface make the execution of these tasks unnecessarily slower. If we take a hard look on the company’s processes and find where this kind of situation happens, then we are automatically able to radically shorten the necessary time for people get the work done.

I’ll use here a real life example to illustrate, it happened on the customer service team of a multi national company that uses SAP ERP. Keep in mind that this very same approach can be used in any scenario where daily repetitive tasks are still necessary to get business processes done.

In this case, the goal was to shorten the time necessary to deal with customer service calls. A secondary goal was to make the training of new staff quicker and cheaper.
Let’s see how we get things done:


First Step: Identify the problem and the benefits required from the solution

The problem was easy to see: the time to answer any customer inquire was long and it was highly associated with complexity to access information and navigate between functions (transactions) in the ERP system. It clearly was an issue for customers, making them anxious with the overall experience. Each new customer contact took so many time from the user to reach information about the customer, his sales orders, credit info, material availability, and so on. Each single information was located in a separate place on the system and it took time to be reached.

So the expected benefits were also easy to see: the customer must have his questions quickly answered, making the overall experience much faster and better. With that, the user/employee must be free to pick the next task.


Second Step: Design a Prototype using Design Thinking

With the solution being understood by the Screen Personas / UX expert, it was needed to validate with the users. SAP Screen Personas can by used as the prototyping tool in a way that you can build your mock-up and show to the users before you spend the full effort to make everything happen for real in the solution. So you can validate and redesign until you get approval to build the full solution.

The main point here is that the prototype can be used as a great starting point for the final solution because it’s already built inside SAP Screen Personas.

At his point I think it’s worth to mention that the costs incurred to change software already built is much higher than the cost to change it in the design or prototype phase.

Take a look at this graph showing how costs increase as the development process advances:

So this is the real value in using design thinking and prototyping to make sure you’re building the right thing.


Third Step: Build the Solution

Now that you have the prototype built using SAP Screen Personas you already have part of your solution ready. Now you have to implement the task automation and make the overall visual experience easier and better for you users. You must automate everything you can without getting any business value out of your user’s hands. Always think about finding ways to have the user getting the work done with the minimal required screens, clicks and typing.


Fourth Step: Measure the Results

Finally we got to what really matters, the bottom line! For sure, we need to show the results so we know that the effort has achieved the intended rewards and the company gets inspired to duplicate the approach on other areas.

In this scenario, customer service team reduced the needed time to help a customer by 30% to 40%. This his a huge difference that means the possibility to use people’s time in other tasks that should be valuable for the company.

If we imagine that this result is achieved 20 times per day by 10 different customer service agents we can easily see that results are multiplied! Finally, when we account for the reduced costs needed to get the same work done, we can see that the improved productivity justify the project investment plus the costs to maintain it.

Besides that, there were significantly economies of time and costs related to training employees to make use of this solution. New employees only know the Screen Personas solution, not the standard ERP solution and, because of that, they say that “SAP is extremely intuitive, easy and nice to use” from their first day!


Conclusions

The most important thing to learn from this story is that your company now is able to do a major change on the productivity of your employees that use SAP software. And you just need three things: a clever business person who can see where repetitive work happens inside your company, a experienced Screen Personas specialist with UX and programming skills and SAP Screen Personas itself. Give you have all three, you can build a impressive solution in even a few days!

So, go ahead and start now by asking the business expert on you company to find a scenario where the approach described here can be used. I’m sure there are large chunks of time spent by the people in your company “just because of the complexity to use and navigate through the software”.

Give it a try and let me know!

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