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I am lucky enough to be spending a few days in the Nevada desert at SAP TechEd and d-code 2014 in Las Vegas. Yesterday I sat in on a roundtable/panel discussion hosted by Michael Falk covering UX Strategy Implementation. The participants (including Damean Chen) had some great experiences of implementing a UX strategy at their organisations. In this quick bog post I’d like summarise some of the key points that I took away from the session.


Understand the User Journey

Everyone agreed that this was of paramount importance. There is no substitute to getting to know real users, not proxies, not people who “think” they know what the users want, but real honest to god users of the system. Understand them, understand their needs, wants and hopes, spend time with them and build “a day in the life” scenario and you will be much more successful.


It’s not all about the User Interface

In fact the UI is only one piece of the puzzle albeit an important one. An example of something that greatly effects the UX is Single-Sign-On (SSO). It’s just something that when it works everyone is happy. It’s a bit like the war on terror, get it right and you get no praise but get it wrong and you’ll know about it… fast.


Have a UX Centre of Excellence

Sounds scary eh..? A UX COE… boo! But seriously having somewhere to turn for guidance and direction to make the right choices and provide UX services is the right thing to do. It provides consistency and governance, driving forward your UX strategy.


Be Agile

Oh no, not agile… really. Yes really… in fact it makes perfect sense, being agile means you try stuff out early (on real users) and get their feedback, then you fix stuff and make it better and test it out again (on real users), then rinse and repeat. Duh… simple.


Start Early

Start usability testing with the design (hey this can fit in with being agile… see above). Fixing stuff in the design is much easier than fixing it in the code after User Acceptance Testing just before go live. Do yourself a favour start early.


Expect to have a Cross Functional Team

Good UX is the intersection of Human Values (People), Technology and Business Goals. Guess what to be successful you need to have people from all 3 of these areas in your team - think of them as your 3 musketeers!


Pick something that will have Real Business Impact (credit to Jocelyn Dart for this insight)

It’s tempting to start small and easy (e.g. Leave Request) - do a proof of concept and see what happens hoping it will drive wider adoption. But be careful, you’re better off choosing something that has a real impact on your business, something that matters, improving something that matters, something that people use a lot will give you way more bang for your buck. It may be a bit more risky but hey we’re in Vegas so roll the dice baby.


I’m afraid I had to leave the session before the end due to another commitment I needed to run to so there are no doubt more golden nuggets of wisdom I missed out on. Thanks to everyone on that panel, it was great. Please add your thoughts and comments below

This is the second blog in a series that will look at the following five perspectives that are changing in the SAP world:



Two years ago, I wrote this blog series during SAP TechEd 2012 that explored which options SAP customers had when looking to improve the user experience of their SAP users.


The good news is that the options have not really changed, but the great news is that SAP has taken what were “technical frameworks” at that point  and incorporated them into products. Specifically, Fiori has gained momentum and, in line with Sam Yen’s UI strategy, it is now being used for all new applications (that I know of) and is being used to renew many more. Beyond this, SAP has continued to invest in SAP Screen Personas, which can be used to simplify or tweak SAPGUI and has removed the dependence on SilverLight – so it’s much easier to deploy.


I have even heard people whispering that this dynamic duo (Fiori/Personas) might become the primary way SAP Users interact with SAP – providing an additional option to classic SAP GUI.


Fiori - LaunchPadPersonas - Select Functional Location



Having said that, SAP GUI 7.40 just shipped, including the “Fiori Style” Blue Crystal Theme, and more interestingly, the 7.40 release that comes bundled with SAP NetWeaver Business Client (NWBC). This blog by my fellow SAP Mentor John Moy highlights the value SAP NetWeaver Business Client can add to classic SAP users. It is also worth remembering that many classic SAP GUI screens have been improved with Web Dynpro ABAP via Enhancement Packages (see this example for Plant Maintenance in EhP 6). Finally, look at Personal Object Worklists (POWL), which can help an SAP user understand which objects in the system need their attention (e.g “Purchase Orders past Goods Receipt Date for My Vendors”).


So we start to see a future where power users might use NWBC (hosting a variety of UI technologies) and casual users access content via Fiori LaunchPad/Fiori and Personas. The icing on the cake is the SAP Web IDE (this was formerly called “SAP River – Rapid Development Environment”) to extend existing applications and develop new ones.




So there are plenty of options - you can browser them all at the SAP UX Explorer.


So where do you start?


First Step:  Understand Your Problems


Plenty of people complain about “using SAP,” but not so many have really done any analysis on where the specific problems exist. So a logical first step is to perform an analysis of what is driving the problems.


I would suggest you start by creating a matrix that maps your user community and rates the level of problems users have. For the top three areas, you can start to assess what could be done to help and start to build the business case for a new user interface (I discussed a framework for doing this in the 2012 blog series).


Second Step:  Understand the Options


The second step, which can run in parallel with the first one, is to understand what the option are. OpenSAP can help here with courses on SAP UX strategy and SAP Fiori. You can also read the SAP UX Strategy and use SCN daily to engage with others who have already started their journey.


Third Step:  Hardware and Software


Depending on what you decide, some options will already be available in your landscape (quick wins), while others will require you to adjust your SAP landscape roadmap.


For proof of concepts, you might look at the Cloud Appliance Library or invest in your own innovation system. HANA Enterprise Cloud and HANA Cloud Platform also offer options for fast and lower-cost deployment options. Find more details in my next Cloud blog later this year.


Fourth Step: Create an Implementation Programme


Finally the rubber needs to hit the road. You need to create an implementation plan!


One good thing about most of the UX solutions is they can be run in parallel (not recommended for long term TCO, though). So you can select the best business case for UX renovation and work from there.




If you go through the above process, I predict two things:


  1. You’ll find a user interface solution you already have, or which could be adopted quickly.
  2. The user experience that most of your users get today will be radically transformed – and at the end of your three-to-five year roadmap, most users will never have heard of SAP GUI (even though some will still use it via NWBC or Personas).

I would like to see every customer of SAP gain a level of user experience with SAP that satisfies their users and
realises real business value. 
This is an ambitious goal and all my experience points to one fact: realising this is a journey and not a destination.  The reasons are simple – user expectations are increasing and what success looks like is evolving.  Underlying this are an number of factors.


External to SAP are a number of mega trends that affects people, organisations and society's expectations, for example the
consumerisation of IT.


Internal to SAP are a number of forces as a result of SAP responding to the external environment and our stated goals:

(1) The SAP Software Portfolio has increased at a pace since the mid 1990's, fuelled by technology evolution of the web and major
acquisitions by SAP.

(2) Innovation by SAP led to the development of the global standard in business applications, powered by in-memory computing, cloud, analytics and mobility.

(3) SAP is fundamentally transforming its User Experience across this vast SAP portfolio and the pace of this change is accelerating.


For our customers there is one particularly important implication.  The future of SAP is business applications in the cloud, on an in-memory based platform, consumed anywhere by all stakeholders.  The key question is when are you planning to switch over?

This decision is integral to your IT and resulting SAP Strategy.  Are you an early adopter or part of the early majority?   At the time of writing we are probably nearing the end of the early adopter stage.  That means if you are not yet planning for such a transition you probably already fall within the late majority segment of customers.


Adoption Curve.png


The reason for including this in the first blog is to make it clear that there is a transition journey for SAP customers and the underlying architecture separates those customers on the high road from those on the low road.  Both are valid, as long as you have defined this
strategy.  If you have not yet then I strongly recommend that this is a top priority for 2015.

Gerrit Kotze

03 - UX Value

Posted by Gerrit Kotze Oct 2, 2014

Note: This is a repost of a blog I wrote earlier for our Experience SAP site.


Why invest in UX?  Leaning on the basic principles of investment, I would say you should invest in UX to get a worthwhile return.  At SAP we therefore hold the view, validated by our experience of working with many of our customers, that improving UX offers the opportunity to realise business value.


To make this concrete we have developed a balanced scorecard approach to integrate business value into a holistic view that best represent the full value of improved UX.  We define the two axis as (1) Value quantified in monetary terms to value that is qualitative in
nature; and (2) Value for the organisation as a whole to value that attaches to an individual user.



UX Value Framework.png


Based on this, we have identified 4 specific quadrants of business value:


1. User Satisfaction (Qualitative + Individual)

The level of satisfaction of an end user is a strong determinator of their likely behaviour in terms of system use.  Due to this principle, it is imperative to monitor and manage the level of user satisfaction to reduce the risk that the value of your UX investment erodes due to user resistance and non-compliance.  Further, we see a strong correlation between the level of user adoption and user satisfaction.


2. Enterprise Value (Qualitative + Organisations)

This quadrant is a collection of a number of different measures and principles that collectively help to express the qualitative business value to the organisation.  For example, the ability to follow your IT strategy for business applications in relation to the value of an ERP / Integrated system and ‘best-of-breed’ applications; the ability to minimise application licence shelf-ware; the ability to track the effectiveness of maintaining data quality; and the value of your brand to attract new talent or when providing access to external parties.


3. User Productivity (Quantitative + Individual)

An individual end users’ productivity is affected by the combination of user interface, application functionality, business & system process, data & information as supported by the underlying infrastructure.  Some examples include the time element of searching in SAP, the ability to collaborate immediately and seamlessly, and the effectiveness of workflow.


4. Cost Reduction (Quantitative + Organisation)

We leverage the principles of Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) to gain business value through improving the UX related elements that make up the direct and indirect total cost of ownership.  For example the cost of training connected to the time and resources required;
the amount of support connected to UX pain points; The cost of data cleansing due to data quality erosion that results from UX pain points such a complex screens, and the ability to respond in due time to UX pain points.


It is clear that there are many examples of how it is possible to gain business value by improving UX and for this very reason we believe that UX improvement can be based on a business case.

It is a real privilege for me to be a part of the SAP UX Strategy work group.  In this blog I want to share a little bit about this process as well as highlight a key practical message relating to how you translate the SAP UX Strategy into reality.



Evolving the SAP UX Strategy


Although the UX Strategy document only lists 5 authors, there is a group of people involved with us.  The imperative of a coherent UX Strategy from SAP came at the very first Executive Advisory Board meeting for Usability, hosted by Nestle at their head office in Vevey, Switzerland.  During this meeting there was a groundswell of support from our customers for the complete refresh of our UX Strategy with the defined purpose to help them make better investment decisions for the future.


This process broadly involves facilitation of multiple groups internal in SAP, plus discussions and validation with EAB customers.  During these meetings we always need to discuss the best way to explain what is currently available and our own 'course and speed' - where are we investing, what are we working towards, what are the best estimates of the future state.  Although this sounds easy, believe me these discussions can be very intensive.  One of our key roles as an author group is to ensure coherence of all aspects of the UX Strategy.


As I write this blog, we are already well underway to complete the fourth version of the UX Strategy in time for the
next UX Council meeting in mid-October.  We are working hard to cover a wider scope and I believe this will continue on in 2015 as we work towards full coverage of our portfolio.


Translating the SAP UX Strategy


Now on to the practical side.  The SAP UX Strategy defines New, Renew and Enable as key strategic pillars, underpinned by UX & Design Services.  The full implication of this strategy is that SAP is in a transition state where multiple UI technologies exist in parallel.  This can be a source of confusion, or on the other hand I suggest it is an opportunity to create better solutions.  Better in the sense that we can leverage the strengths of multiple solutions and UI components as well as target specific user groups with a specifically designed solution.


To put this in another way, it is now possible to create a coherent user experience for a specific role or user group by combining multiple UX solutions and UI components together in a UI client.  I refer to this as the 'Coherent Multi UI technology Solution'.


This approach is based on the fundamental initiative to better utilise your existing estate and available solutions from SAP.  This is a transition solution that is a result of the massive scale of what SAP is undertaking by transforming our user experience to a cloud based, HANA platform with Applications and Analytics that utilise SAP Fiori UX.  Please refer to my blog 01 where I highlighted the key architectural decision for each of our customers.  In this regard please consider that standard maintenance of ECC 6 was set to continue to 2020 - a key planning milestone.


Desktop_Multi UI Solution.png




In order to realise the Coherent Multi UI Technology solution, you need to have real insight into transactions, pain points, and end users.  Without doing Discovery work it would not be possible to determine a holistic solution and a subset of this as the scope for the UX prototype.  A key pre-requisite is the availability of a representative customer SAP environment with all the UX solutions ready for
use.  Once you have all the details to determine the exact scope ito. processes, users, and solutions, you need to design and build the solution components.


At this stage the next practical consideration is End User Coherence.  Specifically, a single point of access.  We need to avoid that a particular end user suddenly has multiple access points to consume different scenarios, processes or tasks in SAP.  The key component of this step is the UI client.  In a way, SAP has been preparing for the Multi UI technology solution by developing highly capable UI Clients that act as the foundation for future UX improvement initiatives.  Both the UI clients integrate SAP Embedded/Enterprise search, support role based menus, and integrate multiple UI technologies.


• Desktop Users: Utilise the Netweaver Business Client;

• Device Users: Utilise the Fiori Launch Pad.


Note: Portal is a valid UI client in this context.  A portal has extensive capabilities and will be the right solution if you require these additional capabilities such as application hosting, content hosting and management etc.


A final note. I have seen many customers take a technology based approach to drive a UX initiative.  I have not seen many successes with this approach.  A key issue is that each solution from SAP has strengths and weaknesses.  By going at this with one or 2 solutions only (as a wild guess SAP Fiori and SAP Screen Personas), I see most customers run into the limitations of the solutions.  This is the so called 'I have a hammer, and now I am looking for nails' approach.  NB: What are you trying to achieve? How do you know that you are targeting the right areas? Why limit yourself to only 2 solutions?


In conclusion it should be clear to our customers that while SAP is undertaking this transformation journey in User Experience, there are huge opportunities to realise business value through UX improvements. I encourage you to make best use of the wide array of
opportunities as soon as possible.

In 2014 UI/UX has become one of the hottest topics for TechEd && d-code.

To emphasis this, SAP has setup for the first time an own track related to topics around how to apply superior design, implement a UX strategy and how to build, extend and adapt user interfaces. This UXP track comes with more than 60 hours of SAP and customer sessions all across the stack.

Beside the traditional session types like lectures and hands-on workshops there will be some more, completely new, formats like mini code jams, code reviews and hacker lounges.

The UXP track itself is structured in four sub-tracks


User ExperienceFrom design thinking to how to best design good applications
Portal and UI ClientsFrom SAP Enterprise Portal to Netweaver Business Client to Fiori launchpad
FioriEverything around Fiori
UI DevelopmentEverything around UI development frameworks and tools


There are related tracks with additional UI content like


TrackTopics with UI relation
Strategy and Technology (TEC)UX strategy and roadmap lecture
Development (DEV)End to end development scenarios



To get an impression of the variety of different sessions covering all hot and strategic topics in the UI/UX area I highlighted a view of them underneath:


Session IDTitleSub-TrackSession Type
TEC104SAP User Experience Strategy & UI Roadmap - The next stepsN/A (TEC track)Lecture 2h
UXP100SAP Fiori OverviewFioriLecture 2h
UXP101Create Business Value with UX Design ServicesUXLecture 1h
UXP104SAP Fiori Launchpad - An OverviewPortal and UI ClientsLecture 1h
UXP109Customer Roundtable - UX Strategy ImplementationUXPanel discussion
UXP200Overview about SAP UI technologies and when to choose whatUI DevelopmentLecture 2h
UXP202SAP Portal Portfolio - Overview and OutlookPortal and UI ClientsLecture 1h
UXP207ASUG Influence Council: Portal and SAP UIs Influencing channelsPortal and UI ClientsLecture 1h (only US)
UXP263First look at the all-new SAP Screen Personas - Simpler screens in two hoursUI DevelopmentHands-On Workshop 2h
UXP264Building and Extending Fiori-like applications using the SAP River RDEFioriHands-On Workshop 4h
UXP300SAP River RDE - The simple way to build and extend SAPUI5 applicationsUI DevelopmentLecture 1h



The complete session catalog for TechEd && d-code and UXP in particular can be found here.

Don`t miss it, see you in Vegas, Berlin or Bangalore.

In the third webcast in ASUG’s user experience webcast series, Peter Spielvogel, Senior Director of Product Marketing for SAP Screen Personas, spoke about SAP Screen Personas and provided several examples about how customers are using the product to simplify their ERP screens and generate productivity savings. This webcast went into detail on the “enable” part of SAP’s UX strategy, introduced in the first webinar where we discussed SAP’s UX strategy.


I started with a short background on how intuitive screens enhance usability. I also discussed how customers often treat user experience as a productivity issue rather than purely an aesthetic one. Good UX designers understand this. They start by listening to the customer and watching them at work, then focus on building work flows that make sense rather than just creating a beautiful design.




I then shared some examples of customer successes with SAP Screen Personas.

  • University of Warwick created a “SAP Screen Personas bubble” in which they provide access to over 20 transactions through an intuitive cockpit. The workers now have more time to complete their jobs of maintaining the university’s campus since they spend less time on using (and learning) SAP. Read more about SAP Screen Personas in action at University of Warwick.
  • Freescale Semiconductor streamlined transaction PA30, combining information from 19 sources onto a single screen. What used to take several minutes to retrieve all the information from an employee record now appears on a single screen that takes six seconds to render. Major productivity improvement. You can hear from the customer about Freescale’s SAP Screen Personas implementation.



  • An aerospace company built their IT help desk using SAP Screen Personas, giving their employees 1-click access to the key transactions they need. The simpler screens allow for greater throughput as well as fewer keying errors.


After a short demo, I discussed the process for simplifying screens using SAP Screen Personas. The most important lesson from this segment was NOT to jump into modifying screens, but to first take the time to understand your user requirements, business processes, and downstream reporting requirements. Then validate the user experience and process flows using wireframe diagrams. When all of this is set, then you can start building screens. For the aerospace example above, the screen creation process was only three days out of the 1-month project.



The final segment focused on the newly introduced SAP Screen Personas 3.0, which is currently in ramp-up. I highlighted the themes of the release and showed screens from the new version.

  1. Improve performance
  2. Enhance scripting - nested if statements & looping
  3. Make editing more user friendly and dynamic
  4. Remove Silverlight dependency without losing functionality



twitter.pngIn summary, here are the 3 lessons for SAP Screen Personas deployments: work with end users; think big, but start small; iterate.



Watch the recording.


Register for the remaining sessions in the series.


Register for the pre-conference workshop on “Turning SAP’s UX Strategy Into Reality For Your End Users” at TechEd Las Vegas on Monday October 20, 2014.

Recently I wrote a post called “Creating your UX Strategy” about the why and how of creating your own UX strategy for your company. Today, I would like to continue this topic with two additional aspects: your strategic and your technical approach.

Today, many people might say “Hey, just adopt SAP Fiori to provide your users with great applications” or “If you want fast results, just adapt your applications with SAP Screen Personas”. Of course these statements are not wrong. Nevertheless, if you simply follow this guidance you will miss a lot of opportunities to improve user experience in a more precise way for your users..

In any case you need to do the following:

  1. Understand as much as possible about your users’ current user experience concerns and identify appropriate topics that can help tackling these concerns
  2. Select from three options how you are going to implement identified topics into your environment.

And please be aware: You have to do the above multiple times to be successful. Refer to point 5 of the eight rules of a good UX improvement project. You shouldn’t try to do everything at once.

Your strategic decision

Here I’m referring to the decision how far you want to go with understanding your users and looking for appropriate solutions. Usually there are multiple pre-conditions that will influence this decision such as available time or available budget. But don’t get me wrong: I’m not promoting the “quick and dirty” way. We just need to consider the fact that time and budget can be a serious boundary. There are two approaches how you can proceed:

  • The analytic approach
    Always the best choice is to analyze the environment of your users in more detail. There are multiple methods for this available. A common one is to start with the workload monitor (transaction st03n) of the SAP NetWeaver Application Server. You could generate a top 50 list of transactions/applications that are used in your company and then rate the business value of each. You could then measure the satisfaction of your users for each of the applications in your list and combine it with other ratings like your personal rating of user interface complexity. As a result you will have a nice list to work with and more importantly to prioritize the areas that require your attention the most. Now you can start identifying solutions that address the needs to a large degree based on your findings. Of course, this approach requires some technical skills for the analysis and further skills to perform surveys and execute other methods you might want to use. But the benefit is also clear: the better you know your users’ concerns, the better you can address these concerns. And by the way, do you know the SAP UX Strategy? The analytic approach is also used there by SAP to define which tasks and applications are next in the current move to SAP Fiori.

  • The use case/ pattern approach
    Another approach is to learn from others and re-use their approaches. The SAP UX Explorer team is currently collecting a set of use cases where each describes a customer and user environment and relates it to those topics that provide the highest potential to improve the given environment. Such topics might be UI technologies, strategic hints, UX innovations from an application perspective or individual SAP services. Our idea is to provide use cases that you can simply map with your users or groups of users and get some quick ideas about how to improve their user experience. The advantage of this approach is obviously speed. You still need to know your users, but you don’t need to deeply analyze them. This unveils also the disadvantage of this approach: It probably does not address all the concerns your users have.

    Note 1:
    As said, we are still in the process of collecting use cases and evaluating structures to help you to compare them. We do have three use cases online (Use Case 1, Use Case 2, Use Case 3). Please understand them to be in a kind of "beta" state. As such, if you have ideas or feedback that help us making the use cases more valuable for you, let us know.

    Note 2: While we currently name this “use case approach” this might be subject to change as the term “use case” is used in many ways and may be misleading. What is your opinion about this?

Your technical decision

Let’s imagine you have started your own UX strategy.  Your strategy vision is set, some missions drafted and maybe even some KPIs defined. You did step 1, learned about your users and generated a prioritized list of concerns and possible solutions.Now you need to select the best option(s) for you, to implement your solution(s). If you are following me on Twitter or via SCN, you are probably familiar with the adopt-adapt-develop approach.It’s basically about your technical options to improve your user experience and considers the fact that each option comes with different requirements in terms of feasibility and costs. The different options here are:

  • Adopt
    Considers the things coming from SAP almost out of the box. This can be UI technologies such as UI clients and UI tools or new or renewed applications that provide a modern user experience. This also includes additional, ready to use content like side panels for SAP NetWeaver Business Client, work lists and landing pages. To me, adopt is the most attractive option. On the one hand the solution might technically be already implemented in your environment and/or is part of your existing license. On the other hand you don’t need to support the solution as you would need to if you develop something on your own.

  • Adapt
    This is about changing screens to specific needs. It is primarily focusing on your existing screens but can also be an option to adapt new screens you have lately adopted in your environment.   Depending on the underlying UI framework of the applications you want to adapt, there are specific tools available that can help you.

  • Develop
    Obviously, this option is about custom development. You can always use a UI framework of your choice (depending on your needs) and build your own application. This is often the option with the highest investment. But in return it might close the gap in very specific areas where SAP has currently no solution you could adopt.


That little, additional strategic decision

I hope the above introduces some new and valuable information to help you to improve the user experience in your company. But maybe there is another helpful point. The two strategic approaches I have mentioned earlier assume that you have already started a project. But what can you do, if you don’t have a budget yet? What if you need to promote your idea of improving UX? What if you need to satisfy the decision makers before you can satisfy the users?

For these cases we are thinking of the tactical approach. You can see this as an optional pre-approach to the others above. The goal is to win supporters in your company and as such the focus is on the concerns of the decision makers, CIOs and business leads. This tactical approach might leverage ideas from the use case or even analytical approaches above, but the main point is to analyze the concerns of the people you want to convince. There are several ways to do this and I’m sure you already have some in mind. Nevertheless, we will also try to collect as many concerns as we can get from decision makers in the next months and incorporate these into the SAP UX Explorer as well. Our vision here is to connect these concerns – similar to what we started doing with the use cases – with topics that can help to eliminate these concerns. I’m sure there is more to come in this section soon.


Do you have something to add? Do you want to share your use case? Do you have other ideas to analyzing your environment? Just use the comment function and share and discuss your thoughts.

Alternatively, you can send us an e-mail to: uxexplorer@sap.com.


Talk to you soon,


Jürgen Jakowski (SAP) – Twitter: @JJComment


Note: This article was originally posted on the SAP User Experience Community

Many SAP customers have already reviewed the SAP UX Strategy to understand how SAP will continue to improve its user experience portfolio from a technology, application and even service perspective.

Based on SAP’s UX strategy your next question might be: “How can I start from here to improve the user experience (UX) in my company?”

The answer is: “Start with creating your own UX strategy”.

The reason is obvious. Customer environments are different and so are the requirements of their user base. As with other strategies, such as a corporate strategy or an overall IT strategy, there can’t be this one document from SAP that explains how a customer should handle user experience. Honestly: You have to ask your users, rather than SAP, what they need.


How do I start building my own UX strategy?

As with any strategy planning, you should start by answering the following questions:

  • What is my overall vision and when do I want to turn this vision into reality?
  • What are my main missions needed to support my vision?
  • What are (very) rough KPIs that confirm (at least to me) that my missions and vision have successfully been executed and reached?

This is the first cornerstone of your UX strategy planning and should be wisely defined, even if they reflect a high level view. For instance your existing corporate and IT strategies might already provide borderlines or requirements that need to be incorporated in your UX vision and missions.Of course, you might need to adapt the missions slightly over time, when you get more insight from various strategy drivers.

What drives my customer UX Strategy?I already mentioned the SAP UX Strategy in the beginning, and yes, this can be seen as one parameter that influences a customer UX strategy. Nevertheless, there are many more drivers to consider, where most of them are customer specific and obviously should be rated as most important.To get an idea of these drivers, here are some examples:

  • Existing customer strategies (e.g. company strategy, IT strategy, SAP strategy)
  • Business requirements
  • Current user environment and user pain points
  • Existing IT landscape (including SAP landscape)
  • Existing technical know-how

In addition to these customer-specific drivers, there are additional parameters that can also influence the customer strategy such as:

  • SAP UX Strategy as mentioned before
  • Availability of technical options provided by SAP
  • Availability of business solutions provided by SAP
  • Availability of technical options and business solutions from SAP Partners

What are my benefits by creating my own UX strategy?

I think the customer-specific drivers that are mentioned above are already a good reason. At least to ensure your user experience activity is aligned with important elements such as your company and IT strategy and supports them well.But there are more reasons for a customer UX strategy. If you want to take the satisfaction of your users serious, make them a central part of your project. Take the customer UX strategy to not only satisfy your existing strategies but even more importantly to satisfy your users. With a well-planned UX strategy that incorporates your users and all necessary steps to make them satisfied with their software environment surely will result in additional values like:

  • Increased data quality
  • Higher user adoption rates
  • Increased efficiency for each user which results in a higher productivity.

Is it possible to measure these values in money? Yes, it is. Just think of the necessary invests to fix data errors and maintain environments with low adoption. Or imagine how users can make their company successful by focusing on their business processes rather than a user experience that makes them slow or inefficient.

How you can continue from here and how SAP can help?

SAP already provides help for customers interested in improving their user experience.



With the SAP UX Explorer, customers have the chance to easily investigate their technical options. Even more, the Explorer unveils the relations between these options. If you always wanted to know how SAP NetWeaver Business Client relates to the SAP Application Server or what the difference between SAP Fiori and SAPUI5 is, the SAP UX Explorer provides the answers.

We are also currently expanding the content of SAP UX Explorer towards UX project supporting material and knowledge that is aligned with other services from SAP.


Consulting and Support Services

Obviously, a comprehensive UX strategy sooner or later requires more than just using a SAP self-service tool. Project planning, user research, UI adaptations and more require involving people. In the case that you don’t have the required skills available or simply don’t want to invest with your own people, SAP can help you with a rich set of services in all phases of such a project.


UX Community   

Last but not least, there is the SAP UX community that provides a place for an open dialog about user experience, providing insights far beyond the technologies and projects towards user experience, design, methods and much more.


-----> If you like, continue with Part 2: Creating your UX strategy <-----

Do you have something to feedback? Just use the comment function and share and discuss your thoughts.

Alternatively, you can send us an e-mail to: uxexplorer@sap.com.


Talk to you soon,

Jürgen Jakowski (SAP) – Twitter: @JJComment


Note: This article was originally posted on the SAP User Experience Community

SAP’s user interfaces have been steadily improving since 2012.  The great news for SAP customers is that the tools are available to deliver engaging user experiences for regular and occasional users, overcome resistance to using SAP systems, and increase effectiveness.   With SAP Fiori and SAP Screen Personas being made available as part of the standard user licence, a new wave of interest in these UX options has been created.  However, there are a plethora of other SAP UX options, and most SAP customers do not have a path for defining a UX strategy.    In this blog update I will share my thoughts on how to approach the selection of SAP user interface technologies for optimal fit to the business requirement.


Step 1: Discover the options

The ground has been shifting and this may continue, and so you need to start your analysis with an understanding of the available options.  You should consider:

  • SAP Fiori.  Use out-of-the-box SAP Fiori applications or extend/build your own using SAP River RDE.
  • SAP Screen Personas.  Shift users to web-based GUI and then tailor transaction screens.
  • SAP Interactive Forms by Adobe and Arch FLM.
  • SAPUI5 custom portal.  This might be deployed to an ABAP stack, or to SAP Enterprise Portal or HANA Cloud Portal.
  • SAPUI5 web application.  Using SAP River RDE, you can build a web application and deploy it on-premise or to HANA Cloud Platform.
  • Enhancement Pack functionality such as HR Renewal.
  • Custom Mobile app.

Of course, customers chained to SAPGUI and web Dynpro won’t replace this approach entirely overnight, but for new/improved business processes organisations should consider the range of technologies designed for better user experience on more devices.

Also, there may be a temptation to simply consider SAP Fiori and/or SAP Screen Personas since they are free, but that is no basis for building a UX strategy!

Step 2: Capture the business process requirements

There is normally some business pain driving UI change: pain from disillusioned users, pain from ineffective processes, or a need for process mobilisation.   So the purpose of the new UI is not a like-for-like replacement, but to enable business process change.

Your analysis should consider next year’s requirements, not last month’s requirements.  So the project shouldn’t be IT-led, and the requirements shouldn’t be defined by someone without the vision to radically improve the business process.

You need to consider mobile working and off-line working.

You need to consider embracing disconnected user communities and process automation.

You need to consider usability and accessibility.

In order to analyse the best tool for the job you need to be really clear in how you define the job!

Step 3: Understand your [technical] constraints

Do your users bring their own device and so you need to support many browsers and versions?  Or do you run Internet Explorer 8 throughout the entire enterprise?

Some simple questions like these can unveil complex technical constraints or requirements that need to be factored in to your analysis.  Consider:

  • Are all your employees already licensed SAP users?  Do you have cost constraints for IT investment, or need to produce a financial analysis of investment proposals?
  • Does your SAP system perform well and is there capacity for extra load?  Do you have fast network speeds in all supported geographies and locations?
  • Do you have a strategy to move to cloud-based IT provisioning?
  • Do you have existing functional infrastructure that must be used for workflow inboxes, document management?

Consider what technical and functional infrastructure is already in place and whether it must be used or replaced.

Step 4: Consider maintenance requirements

Some processes or interfaces are likely to change due to the nature of the process, the organisation or the environment.  For example, legislation may drive additional data collection and some processes are more susceptible to this type of enforced change.

Some organisations are in periods of change such as rapid growth, or have organisational change as part of their cultural DNA.  Employees in those organisations understand that whatever solution is deployed will require changing within 18 months.  Other organisations resist change, particularly in IT, and tend to run solutions for a long time even if the business fit is less than perfect.

The degree to which you expect your organisational processes to change can impact the approach you take: investing in custom-built applications may not be a great investment decision.

You may require the solution to be flexible to support multiple UI approaches and to be easily maintainable.  This might help you future-proof the solution against changing future requirements.

Also, your organisation might have a requirement to be self-sufficient for future maintenance rather than rely on external consultants.  This type of requirement can also feed into the technology choice.

Step 5: Create your requirements checklist

Combining the results from steps 2-4 into a single requirements checklist can deliver great benefits: Simply seeing business process requirements and technical constraints together can uncover conflicting requirements.  Such conflicts must be resolved before moving ahead with your analysis.  This might result in IT constraints being overcome, or business requirements being scaled back to something achievable.  At this stage various UI technologies may be discarded as a poor fit.

Next, the requirements should be given a rank in terms of importance (‘must have’, ‘nice to have’ etc.) This is essential for determining the optimal solution where compromises need to be made.

Step 6: Model the process

First of all, understand that one-size-does-not-fit-all: A single technology solution is unlikely to satisfy the requirements for different business processes.  So consider each business process separately.

The challenge is to visualise the new business process in terms of each process step:  How will users interact best with the process?

By modelling each process step in the context of the overall requirements list, a short-list of UI options can quickly be built.

Consider the roles of the process participants. Should they participate with the process from an analytics chart or from a work inbox?   Consider how work arrives.

Consider whether the participants of each process step are expert users who require powerful and complex functionality, or occasional / non-technical users who require a simplified user experience.  Prioritise the provision of a new UI for the occasional users.

Optimise or Simplify?

SAP says ‘Simplify Everything’ and that’s a great aspiration but in real life I see complex organisations with complex processes and complex requirements.  Simplifying the user experience for the occasional user is clearly a fine idea, but the benefit will only be realised if you consider the entire business process and select the optimal approaches. 

Step 7: Get help!

You need to start from the right place.  If your approach is for an IT manager to download, install and ‘play with’ SAP Fiori, then you’re in the wrong place, as that’s no basis for an enterprise UX strategy.

If UX was easy the problem would have been cracked years ago.  It is complex and costly, and not something you can do ‘on the cheap’.

For many organisations it is frankly ludicrous to imagine that they have the capacity and skill-set available internally to conduct the type of analysis I advocate.  So get help.  And don’t just get help to ‘get started with Fiori’, but get help on understanding the available technologies and how you can best deploy them  You might argue that that’s your IT manager’s job, but trust me, he/she’s too busy to gain the knowledge required for an informed opinion.



Chris Scott is the founder of Arch Consulting, making SAP easier since 1996.

In the second installment in ASUG’s user experience webcast series, Andreas Hauser, SAP’s Global Head of Design and Co-Innovation Center, spoke about “User Experience: Creating Greater Business Value by Engaging with your End Users.” This continued the theme of the first webinar where we introduced SAP’s UX strategy.


Andreas started with an overview about the importance of design and how to avoid some pitfalls if you do not consider the right combination of human values (desirability), business (viability), and technology (feasibility).


He explained that user experience is not just pretty screens, it is really about how to save money through improved usability. Often simplifying screens plays a huge role in making people more productive.



He then showed an online calculator to help you quantify how much you can save through improved usability. By entering a few simple items about your business processes and IT environment, you can quickly determine how much value you can generate through a better user experience.


Of course, financial savings are only a part of the benefit of a better user experience. User satisfaction is also very important in terms of employee retention and how people feel about their work.


Andreas then reviewed the SAP UX strategy, summarizing the three pillars: new / renew / enable.


He reminded the audience that the Fiori design concept will be applied across all SAP’s solutions so everything has a familiar look and feel. This includes both on-premise and cloud-based solutions.


Based on 200 customer projects completed by the SAP Design and Co-Innovation Center, Andreas discussed that SAP has learned many things about how customers consume software.

  1. Usability is not necessarily a product problem. It could also be cumbersome business processes.
  2. You must put the end user first. Watch them work and understand their goals.
  3. Consistency matters. You must have guidelines so everyone on the team is moving in the same direction.


Design skills are critical for understanding user needs and creating standards.



Design is a process. Whether you call it “design thinking” or “user-centered design,” you need to work closely with end users and focus on solving their day-to-day usability issues.



The lessons learned from all these customer projects come from four main areas.


  • Executive sponsorship needed, both on IT and LOB side
  • Focus on value of UX

User Needs

  • Focus on real end users, the people using the solutions
  • Talk to at least 6-8 people to have a variety of opinions


  • Start small and build - use a proof of concept
  • Visualize first before you implement - minimize cost of change

Tools and Technology

  • Use the right tool for the job


twitter.png When creating a user experience center of excellence (UX CoE), you must include the right mix of people, process, and tools.



In summary, here are the key takeaways from the webcast:

  • Work with end users
  • Think big, but start small
  • Iterate


Watch the recording.

View the slides.


Register for the remaining sessions in the series.

User experience encompasses a variety of aspects of which UI is just one. Newer SAP Fiori apps are merely the beginning. Learn how you can build your own Fiori-like apps and employ a more intuitive approach to developing business process applications. Learn of advances in how you can achieve a greater degree of interoperability between your SAP and Microsoft applications providing your end-users with an enhanced user experience.


Attend this webinar to learn:


• How to leverage SAP offerings for a comprehensive UX strategy 

• How to build your own Fiori-like apps

• How to leverage third-party tools and partner offerings to complement SAP tools


Date: Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Time: 11:00 am ET/16:00 pm UK/17:00 pm Central Europe

Duration: 60 minutes


Featured Presenter:

Ira Berk, Vice President of Solutions Go-to-Market at SAP


Ira Berk has global responsibility for the middleware portfolio, promoting business agility in the areas of people, processes, and systems. Ira is a frequent speaker on the topic of SAP’s middleware strategy at customer events and workshops around the world.



Register here for the live event and to get the recording.

SAP is reinventing the user experience by offering new solutions, renewing existing solutions and enabling customers with tools to improve user experience. In this first webcast of the five part ASUG UX Webcast Series, two of SAP’s top UX/UI experts Nis Boy Naeve - Vice President for User Interfaces , Andreas Hauser Global Head of the Design and Innovation Center) discussed SAP’s User Experience Strategy of “New / Renew /  Enable” and the UI technologies which can be used to have an amazing user experience on all devices.


This webcast provided an overview of SAP’s overall UX strategy, which takes into account that the gap between personal use and the business use of software is closing and that the simplicity is desired for both. SAP is reacting to this changing and applies new methods to enable design innovation and to bring it into SAP applications – and this not only into the new ones but existing applications as well. The webcast went more into details about this.


Nis Boy and Andreas provided detailed information about what’s behind “New – Renew – Enable” for the different types of applications and which tools are available in order to realize this approach.


The SAP Fiori applications are in the focus of the ‘Renew’ part. The basic SAP Fiori principles are explained and you get to hear about examples for SAP Fiori apps which can run on all devices with high usability. In addition the topic ‘Single point of entry’ for a business user via the Netweaver Business Client, SAP Portal and, in future, the SAP Fiori Launchpad is shown, as well as the sidepanel concept for SAPGUI applications.


We heard about how SAP not only delivers new and renewed applications, it also provides several tools to enable the adaption of any SAP application to the end users’ needs. Some of them are UI technology-specific, such as SAP Screen Personas (SAPGUI) or SAP River RDE (SAPUI5), others - such as the UI Theme Designer - can be used for different UI technologies.


Finally the Webcast deals with the highly important question, how to bring together the users’ needs and the UI technologies in an optimal way. SAP has at least one answer that was discussed “UX Design Service “.


It’s definitely worth checking out both the presentation and the recording of this webcast.

To watch the Webcast have a look at the recording from June 26, 2014.


For more details about the UX Design Services watch the new webcast recording “ Creating Greater Business Value by Engaging with your End Users” presented by Andreas Hauser on July 22, 2014.

The ASUG User Experience Webcast Series offers a number of upcoming webcast sessions to follow. Register here.

Hi all,

Some of you might know that we are currently working on expanding the existing topic “customer UX strategy” within the SAP UX Explorer. During this process we have already collected several general statements and hints that ended up for now in what we call “the eight rules for a successful UX improvement project”.

As I’m always curious about your feedback for further improvements, I wanted to share this piece of content early enough. So, here it is.

Feel free to leave comments and let us know your thoughts.

All the best,

The eight rules for a good UX improvement project

1.     Put your users in the center

You might think you know your users. But you can only understand their working environment once you have watched them working and listened to their concerns. As a result: Keep your users at the center of all your activities (for example with user research and design thinking methods).


Learn more about User Research and Design Thinking

2.     Enjoy feedback
You might be scared by complaints and issues that you cannot tackle. But if you don’t ask, you will miss a lot of complains and issues that you CAN solve. AND: Your user will honor the improvements you are going to provide, even if they does not address all issues in the first place.


Related SAP UX Explorer Short Video: How user satisfaction can be measured.

Learn more about usability measurement via SUMI & SUS and learn more about Design Thinking


3.     Know your general options
Know your general options in order to improve user experience and prioritize them correctly:

  • Adopt what SAP provides (always first)
  • Adapt what you have implemented from SAP (if needed)
  • Develop on your own what you can’t get from SAP (if necessary)

Related SAP UX Explorer Short Video: Your general UX improvement options

Learn more about UI Adoption, UI Adaptation and Development

4.     Know your current environment

Surveys have shown that 38% of customers* focus directly on developing their own applications and thus follow the path with probably the highest investment. It turns out that many customers are not aware of the UX improvement assets in their existing SAP environment and SAP license, which could potentially improve their user experience with lower effort.

* based on a survey in December 2013

Related SAP UX Explorer Short Video: Your general UX improvement options

Learn more about SAP UX Explorer and SAP Innovation Discovery


5.     Focus on a few users first
You will need some time to understand your user’s environment and how your planned improvements will impact them. Identify small groups of users who share the same usage pattern, issues and complaints. Start improving these small groups first, and extend the reach of positive results to other users in a sub-sequent step.

Learn more about Customer UX Strategy (will be detailed later in the Discover & Plan section)


6.     Prove solutions, not technologies
Do not limit your proof-of-concepts to just certain technologies. Positive UX improvements are often driven by a combination of multiple technologies together with business-related content or configuration. As a result: Make sure that you have understood the relationship between technologies and other complementary topics that you need in order to build valuable solutions to test.

Learn more about Customer UX Strategy (will be detailed later in the Discover & Plan section)


7.     Focus on a coherent user experience
Always try to avoid a mix of UI technologies for one user. In scenarios where this is not possible, try to optimize the mix by harmonizing the visual appearance (with same SAP standard themes or with UI theme designer for example). While new applications look great and are intuitive, running them in a mix with classic applications can result in a bad overall user experience. You always need to consider the pros and cons of new functions and features vs. a coherent user experience. With this in mind, you might keep a user with an “older” version of an application in order to ensure better coherence. Or you might prefer a less coherent user experience over a new function.

Learn more about UI Clients and UI Theme Designer


8.     Build your own customer UX strategy

The best results improving your user experience can be reached by using a well-structured approach and a good UX strategy that considers your existing strategies (for example IT strategy, business strategy) and boundaries (security rules for instance). This UX strategy defines your overall UX improvement vision, mission and key performance indicators (KPIs) and builds the starting point for any UX improvement project.


Related SAP UX Explorer Short Videos: Process setup of an UX improvement project, Why should I create my own UX strategy

Learn more about Customer UX Strategy

You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way around.

Steve Jobs


When it comes to user experience, becoming simple takes focus and effort 

Becoming simple involves gaining a deep knowledge of your people and their UX needs; and making some complicated UX technology choices. That’s why SAP’s UX strategy includes New, Renew, and Enable options; and also why SAP is now providing UX advisory services as part of  a suite of UX Design Services to help customers focus their resources where they will derive maximum business value.

UX Design services.jpg


Conversely, staying complex is easy – at least from a technology viewpoint – and that’s where most SAP customers are right now. Think of it this way: Once upon a time, SAP provided a one-size-fits-all user interface – aimed at the expert user. Sure it was a complex UI, but from a software viewpoint it was also a comparatively easy strategy – just make everything available and let the expert decide what’s relevant to him or her.  After all, the user is the expert so they know best; and certainly if you are the expert having everything at your fingertips is great.


But as we now realize, the growth in personal technology devices, changes in technology expectations, and the sheer volume of information bombarding us all mean one-size-fits-all UIs no longer ensure productive and motivated employees.  For most of us there’s just no time to be the expert in any but a very small number of the user interfaces we deal with each day.  Maximizing user satisfaction and business productivity over all the other UIs we deal with daily means providing something simple: the right-sized UI on the right device for the right role.


Introducing right-sized UIs, while minimizing disruption and avoiding large change management costs, is not a trivial challenge.  We know this because SAP has been on the UX journey with over 150 of our top customers over the last few years.  We have seen the challenges, we have shared the pain with them, and now we want to share the learnings with all our customers.


What we know now is this: effective UX improvement involves more than just implementing a Fiori app or a few Personas screens. Successful UX improvement only happens when UX is targeted strategically.  Choosing the right scenarios to improve with the right UI helps not just to improve user productivity; you also improve employee retention, delight your customers, decrease training and support costs, and revitalize the business/IT relationship.  Choose the wrong UI, and you risk your UX efforts being written off as “just another Proof of Concept”.


UX strategy means being very deliberate about where, when and how UX improvement efforts are focused.  Done right, amazing business impacts can be achieved in remarkably short time-frames.  For example at Shell, they were able to evaluate a major improvement in their search capability within a few days. This is quite an important area as some users may spend up to 20% of their total time in SAP on searching.


Based on our early customer experiences with customers on the UX improvement path, SAP has released 14 UX Design Services to pass on those learnings and help shortcut the UX journey for all our customers.


Last week I was privileged to be on the first SAP UX Advisor training, run in Sydney, and to spend some time with two very special SAP colleagues:

  • UK colleague Gerrit Kotze, one of the co-authors of SAP’s new UX strategy, and global lead for the UX Advisory Service for business value based on his experience of leading UX at Shell, and;
  • German colleague Gerhard Gellner of the Design and Co-Innovation Center where UX strategy and principles are daily workshopped with SAP customers at SAP’s Heidelberg Apphaus to create delightful user experiences.

It was a great chance to chat with them about the thinking behind these new UX Design services and SAP’s UX strategy.


How did you get involved in UX strategy?

Gerrit: For me it all started in May 2012, when I took the role to lead the UX work stream as part of the VPS engagement at Shell.  Shell has about 90,000 SAP users globally and improving UX became increasingly important across the whole company.


When we looked hard at SAP’s UX Strategy at that time, our perception was it was not much more than a compilation of UX related topics, not something you would really recognise as a strategy. We were not alone in that view.  SAP set up the the Executive Advisory Board for UX mid-2012 and Shell was one of the small group of key customers to join alongside Nestle, Unilever, Bosch and others.


At the very first face to face meeting, hosted by Nestle in their Head Office in Vevey, the top feedback point back to SAP was the need for a coherent and easy to understand UX strategy. Customers need clarity about where SAP is fundamentally heading to better inform their own investments and priorities.


Fortunately SAP was willing to listen and under the supervision of the then newly appointed Head of Design and UX, Sam Yen, (now SAP Chief Design Officer) we formed a small working group to rewrite the SAP UX strategy. I was very fortunate to be a member of this small group together with Andreas Hauser, Nis Boy Naeve and Volker Zimmermann and supported by several other experts. 


That change in SAP’s UX strategy also led to establishing the Design and Co-Innovation Center (DCC) in 2013 – bringing in a lot of designers and design thinking skills. These skills are considered key capabilities at SAP for delivering on our ambitions in terms of UX and design.


In parallel to working on the SAP UX Strategy, I worked with Shell to shape a UX exploration phase where we started with Search and then looked at SAP Screen Personas.  I utilized the newly formed DCC and we designed and built 2 Proofs of Concept for Shell.  The outcomes are still reflected in our services as this was the very first major PoCs after SAP Screen Personas became publicly available in December 2012.


What are the UX Design Services?

Gerhard: There are 14 services in the UX Design Services portfolio. They cover the New, Renew, and Enable offerings, such as implementing Fiori and Personas, designing your own custom Fiori or SAPUI5 app but they add something more than just technology – they add UX advisory services.

We have 2 advisory services – UX advisory for business value, and UX advisory for technology.  These were born out of our experiences in dealing with key customers of SAP. 


There’s an enormous momentum in evolving UX strategy and a high demand for SAP to provide UX advisory services. Over the last couple of years, SAP has recruited a lot of new blood in the UX design space, and is actively training others. Because of the current state of UX, and the urgent need for UX direction expressed by our customers, we believe SAP needs to lead on UX strategy to give direction to customers and partners who are grappling with UX right now.


As a customer, why would I want to leverage SAP’s UX Design Services?

Gerhard: A real UX strategy is something that few companies have, but those that have are realizing massive benefits.  We find lots of customers have developer skills but not necessarily design skills, or at least not dedicated and experienced UX design skills. If you don’t have those you might not get the benefits you want. So we bring those design skills to our customers as part of these services.

[BTW one of the SAP Community Network's SAP Mentors Jon Reed was talking about this need in his recent blog How do we solve the Enterprise UX skills gap? ]


Gerrit: SAP built up a very credible portfolio of UX solutions and we continue to improve and drive this portfolio forward.  It is actually quite fast moving and that makes it hard to scale the ability to give advice to customers and partners.  This is always a lot easier to achieve in times of relative slow change, but much more challenging when the driving technologies and available solutions are changing faster.


So at this stage, direct advice from SAP is paramount due to this high degree of change.  We see a lot of opportunity for partners to get involved in helping customers on their UX journey.  But when it comes to developing a UX strategy that is aligned with SAP’s strategy, and with SAP’s product roadmaps, you really want to get advice direct from the source – and that means customers working directly with SAP.


Once you move past the sales and marketing pitch, it is key to help our customers with the details of these solutions.  It may sound easy, but more often than not it requires a bit more effort.  For example you need to validate functional completeness and technical pre-requisites.  Good advice up front can save a lot of effort trying to make something work only to discover it won’t work in your system landscape or won’t suit your business process or end user requirements.


Gerhard: Oh, and did you know that thanks to our success with our customers, SAP’s Design and Co-Innovation Center is now being approached by

completely non-SAP businesses to help with their UX design?  That’s a huge endorsement of the design skills and the design thinking skills we have built over the last couple of years.


From your experience, what are the essentials for a successful UX strategy?

Gerhard:  For me the non-negotiables are:

  1. End user involvement:  If you don’t get in touch with real users at their real workplace you just don’t see what the real problems are, and what’s a part of that user experience.  It’s often not just about the UI, it’s about the whole user experience: like how do I work on a mobile device if my job involves wearing heavy safety gloves; or if my desk is covered in post-it notes reminding me of entry codes, maybe that’s a sign of insufficient search helps or poor navigation between UIs
  2. Business involvement: To understand the process, so you can challenge things that end users take for granted; like asking why this field is mandatory and what’s the business impact of not filling this field correctly
  3. IT involvement: Because IT will ultimately deliver and support the UX, so they need to understand where the real business needs are and be able to discuss pros and cons of different UX options with stakeholders.  Often IT brings technology options to the table that business never knew existed.


Gerrit:  And of course SAP involvement – because SAP customers need to align their UX strategy with SAP‘s if they are to deliver user experiences that work well with SAP solutions.  This is more than just general UX strategy – it’s thinking about what solutions, technology, values, and architectural principles are parts of your UX strategy, and how that affects your choices.  This includes deciding if a BYOD policy is part of your base requirements, because if you need to support multiple devices and releases your technology choices can make a huge difference to your development costs, support costs and testing volume.


What are the traps to avoid when setting up a UX strategy?

Gerhard: You really don’t want to approach it as just a technical exercise – you might have fun doing a proof of concept, but it takes more than that to build commitment or momentum to push it through to Production.Just starting with a Fiori or Personas POC might be a waste of time if:

  • The app is not valuable to the business
  • There’s a lack of business commitment
  • It doesn't fit the needs of the end user in their work environment


Gerrit: To me the big traps are:

  • Jumping into solution mode before understanding what is required.
  • Not considering the business value you want to get from UX.
  • Not involving the right audience in the discussion – It has to involve both IT and business; and it needs to involve the people at the coal face – real end users, not interpreters.


It’s not enough to just go on the promises of a presentation; or to do a proof of concept in a SAP sandpit environment.  If you are serious, you really need to try it out in your own landscape and get your own experience of UX technology and challenges – like the impact of bandwidth or proxies or single sign-on certificates, performance, firewalls, maintenance etc. That’s the best way to avoid unwanted surprises, and avoid letting down the business and your project sponsor.


And you really need a clear strategy.  Because without being clear on your driving principles you will not be in a position to make proper choices when you need to decide what you want to target with which solution.

And don’t limit your thinking to just the cool “in Vogue” answers or to a single technical tool.  After all, users don't particularly care what technology you use - they just care that it works for them! Often you can derive a lot of additional value out of your existing landscape – and that makes executive management happy to sponsor your UX improvement project.

So that’s why the starting point is the UX Advisory service?

Gerrit: Yes that’s right… the UX Advisory service helps the customer refine their UX strategy. The service comes in two main types – a UX technology advisory and a UX business value advisory. The UX Advisory for Business Value comes in three formats, based on the primary purpose. These are:

  1. UX Advisory for Fiori and Personas (7 days) – Purpose is adoption of either SAP Fiori App or SAP Screen Personas solution for a single scenario.  This is the service we announced at Sapphire to support the adoption of Fiori and Personas.
  2. UX Advisory Focused Assessment (14 days) – Purpose is to shape a holistic UX strategy and UX roadmap that considers all SAP UX solutions.
  3. UX Advisory Extended Assessment (Circa 90 days) – Purpose is to help typically a larger customer who has UX as a priority over a period of time to adopt a SAP UX Strategy, learn through PoC’s and UX Pathfinder projects and develop a detailed UX Roadmap.


The shorter services include a set number of days effort, but these are spread over a few weeks to allow for data gathering before we analyse and advise. We also gather information about the landscape, use of SAP and feedback about pain points. We spend off-site time during assessment and validation to ensure we can check back with SAP solution owners and designers to confirm which apps will work in your environment.


The UX advisory for Fiori and Personas is a 7 day service designed to get you live with one version of a solution – your first experience with either Personas or Fiori.  It also helps clarify what the first target should be for Fiori or Personas.  That gives your IT folk a chance to understand something of the technology and business to get a taste of how it looks and feels. This 7 day service is currently included with SAP UX Adoption Service Kits for Fiori and Personas, such as:

  • Fiori Launch Service Kit for Transactional Apps
  • Fiori Launch Service Kit for HANA
  • Screen Personas Launch Service Kit


The UX advisory focused assessment service for business value is a broader 14 day service where SAP works directly with your stakeholders to build agreement and motivation to move forward; and give guidance on strategy and roadmap.  The outcome is an outline UX strategy and roadmap that works for you; and includes feasibility assessment of your preferred first targets to confirm they will suit your business needs and system landscape.  We don’t just limit this service to Fiori or Personas – we consider the full range of SAP’s UX tools and technologies that might meet your specific needs – often these are under-utilized solutions – “hidden gems” - that are already in your landscape.


What’s the one thing you wish every customer new about UX Design?


  1. It only works if you engage with the REAL end users! No proxies! No go-betweens!  
  2. Everyone talks about UX but few people are clear about what it actually is. User Experience is far more than just the user interface itself.
  3. It’s a change process – a change in methodology but (more importantly) mindset. 


Why do you use Design Thinking in UX Design?

Design innovation.jpg

Gerhard: We find it’s the best way to achieve a delightful user-centric solution – using a multi-disciplinary team to get the best balance between business, technology and the human values that make the UX usable and desirable.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.

Henry Ford


You can’t just ask people what they want directly – especially if they are not used to being creative. Plus we find people just don’t read functional specifications – they find that really hard.  But low fidelity prototyping such as sketching makes it real to people in a way that encourages them to give good feedback and that reduces risk!

Designing thinking is a really effective way to get people to think first before they implement.


Gerrit: I’d say it is also a great way to get good ideas from a range of stakeholders quickly and come out with an agreement.  It really works for getting people to collaborate rather than each pushing their own agenda.  I like the way it allows for creativity to be a part of the process – and for a broad engagement of different stakeholders who might find it difficult to raise ideas in a traditional meeting. 


In our experience, design thinking is successful in getting everyone engaged and motivated to actually follow up.  So you don’t end up with a workshop and nothing happening afterwards – with design thinking people are more fired up to follow through.


What’s the best way to get some quick wins in UX?

Gerhard: The best quick wins we have seen come from starting small, but as close as possible to where you will get the most business value.   The UX advisory for business value is aimed at uncovering the top choices by looking at usage statistics from your real system data, adding qualitative data from the business, and then running Design Thinking workshops with key stakeholders to bring all of that together into a roadmap. 


Sometimes technology or functional pre-requisites get in the way of your very top choice – and that’s another reason why we have the UX advisory services – as part of the service we do feasibility checks on how top choices will work in the customer’s own landscape.  That really minimizes the risks of choosing a particular app or transaction to focus on, only to find it won’t work with your industry solution or your custom enhancements.  We won’t recommend a UX option that we know won’t work, and we help work through alternatives.


Gerrit: I’d also say to remember that major improvements can come from unexpected places – and we have built that into the advisory service.  We don’t limit the service to only considering the latest UX offerings like Personas and Fiori. One of our big lessons learned was that there are certain topics not often considered up front that offer tremendous business value; and there’s a range of technology solutions for those topics that like Personas and Fiori are often licence-free – just under-utilized.   Topics such as:

  • Search capabilities
  • Restructuring role-based navigation, e.g. using NWBC or Portal
  • Improving user effectiveness and system automation through using side panels
  • Visualization of data
  • Business suite renovation available through enhancement packs
  • Commonly known pain points e.g. approvals that customers bring up over and over again, that have simple but not always well-known solutions


Where can customers get more information about SAP's UX Design Services?

Gerrit: We’d really like customers to look at SAP’s UX Explorer website.  We are actively and regularly adding UX content for customers to help them build their UX design skills here - Skill Up on Design and User Experience – plus some more detail on our UX Design Services and when and how to take best advantage of those services.


To engage with local UX experts and arrange support in your UX journey, contact your local SAP office or email design.services@sap.com who will put you in touch with the right support team.


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