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Author's profile photo Saskia Guckenburg

SAP UX Summit 2021 Recap

SAP UX Summit 2021 Recap

Over 3,000 attendees took part in SAP devX at this year’s virtual SAP UX Summit. As a virtual event, all user experience and development roles within SAP were invited to connect as one community and listen to 100 internal and external speakers.

“The goal of our products must be to deliver an experience that is reliable, effortless and delightful so that our users can use their innate creativity to solve the big and small business challenges at hand with joy,” stated Benedikt Lehnert in his opening keynote. Fun and business going hand in hand perfectly described the character of the event which was co-sponsored by Benedikt Lehnert, Chief Design Officer & Head of SAP Design, and Alexander Lingg, Head of SAP S/4HANA User Experience: 66 learning sessions, inspirational talks, and networking formats opened up room for new ideas and collaboration across solution areas. Among others, speakers from Orica, Trifork Smart Enterprises, and Netconomy enriched the event, along with sessions delivered by Cat Noone, CEO of Stark, and Gesche Joost, Professor of Design Research at the Berlin University of the Arts.

This year’s motto UX4U focused on the users in the same way as on the design and development community by putting the user experience mission front and center. Creativity, knowledge, and constant exchange are key to fulfill users’ needs and go beyond.

Intertwining product design and fun

Benedikt Lehnert started his keynote with an anecdote of users loving the friendly sound when checking off items of a to-do list. The result: more to-dos checked off the list. “We need to understand that we are able to get people to achieve their best by making the business software they use more fun,” concluded Benedikt. And furthermore, fun results in creativity, a much-needed skill to succeed in today’s fast-moving world. Thus, a fun work culture is closely connected to creating products with a delightful user experience. As the three driving attributes, Benedikt Lehnert highlighted reliability, intuitiveness, and accessibility along with a strong focus on measuring frameworks for qualitative and quantitative feedback to drive a human-centered product development process.

Please click on the visual recording and zoom in to see details. (Artist: Beate Riefer)


Organizing 1,424 SAP Fiori tiles

Sascha Wenninger, Technology Lead at Orica, talked about the SAP S/4HANA greenfield implementation for one of SAP’s long-time customers. Replacing SAP GUI with over 1,400 apps in a single go-live for users in more than 50 countries and eight languages proved far from simple. Now, 38 catalogs assign the enormous number of apps to roles. The Business Groups, the subsets of apps from one or more catalogs, are organized by rules: KPI tiles first, alphabetically sorted transactional apps second, and display-only apps as links at the bottom.

Saving 400,000 work hours every year

Jannike Mogensen, Senior User Experience Designer at Trifork Smart Enterprise, gave insights into the development process behind their mobile app suite for Vestas. One FieldService replaces over 40 legacy systems and has been nominated for the SAP Innovation Award 2021. Via design thinking and user research at four sites in four countries, the essential functions of 40+ IT-systems have been identified and consolidated into a portfolio of mobile apps. The four new user-centric mobile apps now help 10,000 field service technicians worldwide to service 80,000 turbines with real time data while saving 400,000 work hours each year.

Minimizing abstraction, maximizing interaction

UX/UI Designer Christine Safranek and Innovation Expert Basta Blinn from SAP partner Netconomy showed how they successfully combine user experience design and design thinking workshops. At the SAP AppHaus in Vienna, they help their clients’ different stakeholders, business users, and IT members to solve complex problems together. Including UX design from the beginning via Rapid Prototyping, they make solutions tangible and testable early on. By iterating first wireframes within the workshop, all attendees get to step into the shoes of their users. “More iterations with the client maximize the output of the time spent together,” explains Basta Blinn. “This results in a deeper understanding and less change requests.”

Accessibility, a byproduct of inclusive design

Cat Noone, CEO of Stark, a suite of integrated tools helping to build accessible software, talked about accessing innovation in her session. By integrating with the tools designers already use, Stark meets people where they are and optimizes their workflows through intelligent automation. The result: significant reduction in cost, time to compliance, financial and legal risk, and a product that can be used by everyone. Along with tips for software accessibility, her key message was to show that accessibility is little to no bottleneck, “simply by educating ourselves and learning how to apply it in our everyday work.”

Between Tech Utopia and Dystopia

In the closing keynote, Prof. Dr. Gesche Joost, supervisory board member of SAP, ING DiBa AG, and Ottobock and Professor of Design Research at the Berlin University of the Arts, elaborated on digital society. Whereas Tech Utopia optimistically focuses on its emancipatory possibilities, Tech Dystopia criticizes growing surveillance and threatened autonomy in favor of capitalism. “Yet, as a community, we have the chance to strive for a sovereign digital society – based on openness, transparency, accessibility, and civil rights,” stated Prof. Dr. Gesche Joost. Whereas universities had great responsibility in educating responsible decision makers, tech companies can do their part by implementing these principles in their products, services, or processes. Being a global player, SAP has a huge role in shaping the future society. Regarding design as the innovation driver, a lively design culture with events like the SAP UX Summit is key. “Let’s embark on this design journey together!”, were her closing words, “and it’s wonderful to be part of your community.”

Check out the SAP UX Summit webpage and recordings (internal only).

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      Author's profile photo Dnyandev Kondekar
      Dnyandev Kondekar

      Where can I see the recordings of UX Summit? is it publicly available?

      Author's profile photo Saskia Guckenburg
      Saskia Guckenburg
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Dnyandev, you can find the material here, but it is internal only: SAP UX Summit webpage and recordings