5 reasons why Consumer Grade UX in SAP adds value to your business

9. marts 2017

by Lars Bork Dylander

In my partnership with Apple I have learned the true value of Consumer Grade UX and gained insight into the successful ‘Apple way’ of thinking. The new partnership between SAP and Apple and the newly released SAP SDK for iOS starts a long desired era for creating an enhanced experience of SAP.
The five reasons why your business gains value of Apple consumer grade in your SAP enterprise solution:

1. User-centric vs. System-centric

Apple introduces a paradigm shift in the way of thinking SAP user experience. In the old SAP world, we have been preaching: ‘You must align your ways of working to standard SAP – that’s best practice!’
Apple’s approach to great user experience turns the table and focuses on the end-user by asking the question: ‘What’s the most efficient and greatest solution for the user in a specific context?’

This paradigm shift will make most CIO’s lift their eyebrows and question the changes to the backend and the skyrocketing development and maintenance costs. But just relax – this is where the SAP HCPms and Apple SDK makes all the difference.

2.  Understanding a mobile device is not a small laptop

You won’t make great, value-adding solutions by just taking your existing solution and turn it mobile. A mobile device is richer and includes a huge number of new features. This has not been part of either process or solution design in your old SAP system. Furthermore, the Apple platform includes a built-in feature setting, making the consumer grade experience come true.

You must think about, how these features make life easier and more efficient for the end-user. Sleek features like ‘Accessibility Identification’, Location-based services, Camera, Touchscreen, Dictaphone, NFC Reader, ‘Current status’, Sensor data, Activity information (including time of day) support radically better ways of interacting and collaborating during a business process.

The Apple platform includes collaboration tools like FaceTime, App notifications, device enrollment, and an enterprise-wide security setup enabled ‘behind the scene’ creating seamless VPN, certificate exchange and single sign-on.

It’s when you approach enterprise mobility from this angle that your solutions transform the way you are doing business and generates real company value.

3. Meet your employees’ expectations

I’ve been working in the world of SAP for more than 20 years. I’m a true believer and lover of the good old SAP R/3 system and see the S/4 as a giant step forward. No doubt it’s the world’s best ERP system.

But when that is said, it’s also fair to say the ‘user experience’ of the SAP GUI matched the expectations of the 90’s and the S/4 Fiori design would have looked great 10 years ago. None of what we see can be classified as ‘Consumer Grade’ or created in a mindset of ‘Mobile First’.

The expectations of the employees grow in the same rapid phase as they see and experience apps in their private life. Especially the younger employees – the digital natives. They expect to use tools and solutions in their work life that are just as smooth and easy to use as the ones they use in their private life.

When you set out to make great mobile solutions, you must set the bar equally high. Don’t just settle for ‘good enough’ and expect to make transformational solutions, with an aged mindset of ‘we have the power to force them to use it’ – that’s what feeds the shadow IT solutions, because your employees simply have high expectations and will find better solutions. Bear in mind, that a consumer App in the Apple App Store that doesnít meet the demand of the end-user is deleted again in less than 5 minutes! An app that crashes twice is discharged in 95% of cases. The consumer will never download that app again.

These lessons we learn from the app store must also be taken to enterprise apps and user experience, to meet the expectations of our employees. When we meet these expectations, the employees embrace the solution we offer to them in their daily work – and they are happy using it.

4. Adoption is key

Your solution first generates value when the users actually use it. This should go without saying but think about how much effort businesses put into change management, end user training and management backup to have the employees follow procedures and adopt.

This kind of ‘influence’ is simply not possible in the consumer world. We have learned to build ‘consumer grade’ solutions that are so intuitive and easy to use, that a manual is not needed! Millions of people download an app and instantly understand how to use it. That’s adoption – and that’s how your enterprise apps and roll out should be!

Try to look at your training budgets when rolling out a global process in the old SAP environment – look at the costs of doing end user training. And if you dare, try to measure how well the users navigate the business processes even after a month of production.

Instead of pushing costs and effort into ‘end-user training’ and pages of manuals and user guides, invest it in ‘consumer grade UX’, as a true consumer grade solution does not require mentionable training, and at the same time makes your employees happier and more efficient from the start.

5. Experiences of surprise and delight

Steve Jobs, Apple’s late co-founder, has shown the world that industrial design is a game changer. He had several principles for making great products and solutions – and one of the most important elements to learn from and include in your mobile design thinking, is the element of Surprise and Delight.

‘User delight’ is about surprising a user by exceeding his or her expectations and thus creating a positive emotional reaction. This emotional reaction leads to employee satisfaction, alongside employees branding and adoption of the solution.

The best example of an app that has this ‘surprise and delight’ element, from my own experience, is the overwhelmingly successful app MobilePay for payment by credit card via smartphone developed by Danske Bank. The app is easy and intuitive to use – the receipt you get confirming your transaction, as the last step in the process, is both surprising and delightful. Take a close look at this feature – how smoothly and perfect designed and animated it is. It gives an experience of surprise and makes the user delighted. It goes without saying, that the MobilePay app has generated value for Danske Bank.

If you make you mobile apps in this manner, focusing on these 5 reasons, your IT department will produce apps that improve your business processes, get higher user adoption and generate real business value for your company.

Lars Bork Dylander

Lars Bork Dylander

CEO and Partner

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