Next time you have a cup of coffee, consider this: does it taste any better when it has that pretty design in the foam? Would you pay any more for it because of the leaf pattern? Does the extra time the barista spend on the frothy art elevate the experience from just another cup-o-joe?

A version of these questions were top of mind when I presented a deep dive across SAP’s popular user experience (UX) tools Fiori and Screen Personas (check out the presentation here). UX is a hot topic and is of constant interest in customer meetings, especially considering the shifting IT landscape.  

As the demographics in the workplace continue to change, so does the focus on user experience. With the 'consumerization' of IT, the end user no longer expects the system to simply  do the job. Rather, users demand that the system is easy to use, responsive and delivers a certain experience -- depending on where they are and what they expect to do.. 

Baby Boomers represent < 30% of workforce Generation X & Millennial represent > 48% 

The bulk of this new generation of workers are 'Digital Natives' who have no memory of a time before the Internet.  This younger generation has a different mindset when it comes to compensation. Rather than choosing the highest salary, it is increasingly choosing employers based on working environment, social corporate responsibility and technology used. That is posing challenges for companies already grappling with replacing a looming talent shortage as a population approaching 65 and older nears 30% of the workforce while the total population grows at a rate of 8 to 9%.

So what does all of this mean to technology leaders and systems architects?

It means we need to think with the end user in mind. We need to ensure we add another dimension to our systems analysis, the user experience (UX). Recent studies have shown 57% of users in the US, 68% in UK and 80% in Singapore access their applications via a mobile device. If your company has not started down the path of going mobile you need to put it on the road map.

SAP has historically struggled with UX, but Fiori and Screen Personas have provided a way to simplify the user experience and create a fluid path to mobile usage. Best of all, if you are current on maintenance both products are free. (Rarely two words you see in the same paragraph SAP & Free).

Each of these products approaches the UX differently, but are not mutually exclusive. I have created a decision tree to help guide you as to which may work best for you, but I will confess my bias toward Fiori because of its mobility aspects.

https://media.licdn.com/mpr/mpr/AAEAAQAAAAAAAAgXAAAAJDA1N2M4YWQxLTIyMDQtNGRmMS1iYTA1LTczZWFmOTkwZGViYg.jpgKey decision points are:

  • Mobile or Desktop
  • Customize or Out of the Box
  • Commonplace or Specialized
  • Backend systems accessed

Both Fiori and Screen Personas are tools in the toolbox which every SAP customer has access to use. Fiori and the Launchpad certainly are SAP’s path forward, but you can even link a Persona transaction into the Launchpad so all users can access through the same tile based front-end allowing IT to use the right tool to support different user needs.

Velocity has done some incredible customization of Fiori for product ordering which streamlined the process by 50% and moved the functionality right into the hands of the field sales force cutting out the need for Customer Service Reps to be involved in all but the most complicated scenarios.

Realized results include:

  • reduced training time with fewer screen elements
  • improved adoption improved through simplicity
  • Increased productivity with a reduction of clicks

All of these represent real dollars to the business and the bottom line. SAP has even built a Fiori value calculator tool. Check it out here.

As you continue to explore UX in your life, consider the ways you interact with everything from online ordering to enjoying a cup of coffee. The care and attention to detail is what differentiates every adventure from the other.