With many customers considering adopting new SAP technologies such as S/4HANA and Fiori migrations, understanding how user experience will be impacted – whether in a positive or negative way – can be important for project planning and ultimate outcomes. Freya Purnell reports.
According to LNS Research, examining user experience into account before, during and after deployment is critical to technology adoption. By engaging and understand users early on in the process, they have a true sense of ownership and contribution to the success of the project.
Knoa Software, a provider of user experience management (UEM) software and a Solution Extension Partner of SAP, has begun working with SAP customers on their SAP S/4HANA and Fiori deployments and migration projects, starting with building a business case.
“Even before you get into details around the technical aspects of the migration, they all know that SAP has a commitment to moving their legacy systems to the HANA platform. They are in the middle of that transition today,” said Bogdan Nica, director of product management and services, Knoa Software.
“But at the end of the day, this is a massive change for any customer that’s around SAP today. The typical SAP landscape is highly complex, it has multiple levels of integrations with non-SAP applications, it has a high degree of customisation that customers have done. Now the IT departments as well as the top-level CFOs, CIOs, they’re looking at the prospect of embarking on a massive project and are struggling with justifying the cost associated with that migration. So SAP is trying to help customers build a business case.”
Nica says Knoa’s UEM software can help to mitigate the risks naturally associated with a project of this scale, by focusing efforts on business areas that will benefit the most from a migration.
“The best way to ROI, early on in the project, is to go after the initiatives that will help your business users and your bottom line the most,” says Nica. “You have to understand where the pain points are today, and you do that by using our solution to assess the processing efficiencies that you have today, the user adoption issues that you have to deal with today, and go after those. Prove out the HANA-based technology, the Fiori UX design, in a limited scope, prove the ROI and build justification for further investment into a full-blown migration.”
By identifying workflows with a high degree of complexity and inefficiency, customers can ensure they are getting the best ‘bang for their buck’ when they invest in a new deployment. Importantly, Knoa’s UEM software can provide insights into how effectively and efficiently users are interacting with an application, rather than how efficient they think they are.
“What we do with Fiori is we will initially gain a better understanding of how the users are interacting with the application today – what are the most commonly used components, for example. That also helps you to streamline the process so you can be more responsive,” said Brian Berns, CEO, Knoa Software.
Once a new application has been implemented, the software can then provide insights into sticking points with adoption, and further refine the application.
“You roll out a module – are the users actually using it? A manager can see that someone’s interacting with screens. People log on, log off, but how effective is it? After you’ve deployed Fiori, are transactions being completed more expeditiously, more efficiently? Or are the users struggling? Where are they struggling? That [information] allows the organisation to respond in a very timely manner to the users to ensure a successful migration,” said Berns.
There can also be a significant disparity between how different users interact with a workflow.
“You could look at that on an individual level, and you can look at it also at a group level or departmental level. From our perspective, that’s fundamental to increasing user adoption,” said Berns.
With customers in the driving seat to design their own UI using the Fiori technologies, the stakes are also higher. Knoa can provide analytics on how initial prototypes of applications are used, to validate the designs before too much investment is made.
“Right now, the way that customers use it today is that they deploy the app, they interview users, they send out surveys. Then several months down the road, they’ve discovered that they missed an important design element, and they have to refactor and redeploy the app. That’s a very long cycle. We are basically shortening all that, because as soon as you go live with your app, if you have Knoa, you can get some feedback and you can actually be more responsive to any performance issues that are hurting your users,” said Nica.
The technology is also useful for SAP customers who are working with delivery partners and integrators, as a way of holding them accountable around results and ongoing benefits. Organisations can effectively take a ‘snapshot’ of their user experience pre- and post-project, as well as conduct ongoing health checks of how the system is being used. And for partners, it could provide a complement to SAP UI/UX services – Knoa has itself recently announced a strategic partnership with North American SAP technology firm NIMBL.
“It’s a way for these organisations to help differentiate themselves to their customers. They don’t have to use anecdotal information about past projects, they provide true insight into the current projects of their customers,” said Berns.