Business Value of User Experience

What is the TRUE Business Value of User Experience?

A look at the generic business case for UX improvement

It is not an easy task to create a generic business case for using the Neptune DX Platform, as each particular situation is different. However, in this article, I will address what should be considered in such a business case and will provide you with several real-life examples of what our customers have experienced when driving business process improvement using the Neptune DX Platform to build mobile enterprise applications.

To be thorough, let’s look at this from the following perspectives.

  1. What is the business value of user experience improvements?
  2. For benchmarking purposes, what are some of the results our customers have seen?
  3. What is the cost of low-code development as compared to manual coding?
  4. What is the cost of ownership for Neptune DX Platform, and how quickly are our customers able to recover this cost?

1. The Business Value of User Experience Improvements

Let’s face it, traditional enterprise software is not user-friendly. To accommodate the intricacies of business processes across many industries, ERP software companies have compensated by providing many options in the user interface for their business transactions. This results in many fields, and tabs, and it is virtually impossible for new employees to use the software without extensive training and onboarding. Training and onboarding is a hard cost for our customers, and reducing training and making new-hires productive sooner results in hard savings.

2. Real Customer Results in the form of Training & Onboarding Employees

Our customer, Eastman Chemical, realized a 95% reduction in the time required to onboard and train new employees and contractors. Previously it took 40 hours to prepare a new team member for all the various SAP transactions that facilitate the respective business processes. After implementing Neptune applications for the same business processes, they were able to reduce this training to just 1 hour.

Business Value of User Experience

What is the potential monetary value behind this? With 1,000 maintenance technicians, for example, at 5% turnover annually, and an hourly labor rate of $25/hour (including labor burden), that represents savings of $96,250 per year. The total cost of ownership for Neptune DX Platform licenses and maintenance over 5 years is $290,000. Just the reduction in training cost alone paid for 5 Years of Neptune DX Platform cost in only 3 years.

Business Process Improvement in Productivity

Our customers realize massive improvements in productivity simply based on effectively implementing a few basic principles. Only show the users the fields they need to see. Automate data entry based on user profiles, geolocation, and other mobile device plugins that are readily available. Use push notifications to improve response time. Ensure that the apps have offline capabilities, so employees can remain productive even when the network connection lets them down.

In the end, a properly designed mobile application should allow the users to execute any business transaction 33% faster, conservatively. Most of our customers have realized much more significant gains, but for a business case, it is always wise to keep things conservative. Depending on the amount of time spent in front of a computer on a daily basis, this can result in significant productivity gains. If you would like to explore the potential savings for UX improvements, the SAP UX Value Calculator is a great tool.

One of our customers, Fonterra, was able to demonstrate annual savings of $3.08 Million (USD) by increasing wrench time, reducing travel time, rework time, and SAP admin time. Fonterra implemented a cutting edge SAP Plant Maintenance Solution called BlueWorx, by our channel partner Zag Limited. You can see how these savings came together in the following slide, as well as the independent article written by Diginomica  about this customer presentation by Chuck Norris.

Business Value of User Experience

3. Cost of Low Code Development Compared to Traditional Development

Neptune DX Platform provides several advantages to coding manually from scratch, contributing to the actual business value of user experience and business process improvement. All applications are hosted within our platform, which handles single-sign-on (SSO), authentication, security, roles & authorizations, database integration, hosting, elasticity, APIs and deployment via web-app or mobile app on all operating systems. Therefore, these items don’t have to be handled by developers separately for every single app, which can be very time-consuming. Our platform allows developers to focus on creating applications that solve real business problems rather than worrying about all the peripherals for every single app. Every API that is created within Neptune DXP is essentially a microservice that can be used over and over in future applications, further reducing the development effort for future endeavors.

4. Real-World Example on Development Savings

Building mobile applications on top of SAP-based on standard SAP architecture requires ABAP Developers, oData developers, as well as front-end developers that are familiar with UI5/JavaScript. When using Neptune DXP, customers can cut out the middle man and allow ABAP developers to get to the finish line by themselves. Let’s compare the development effort side by side for 10 moderately complex Fiori apps. By moderately complex, we mean an application that can create, read, update, and delete (CRUD) and be able to handle locking in SAP, which is crucial. Also, let’s utilize what modern mobile devices have to offer and include handling of attachments, geolocation, barcode scanning, and some basic offline functionality.

At a median salary (including fringe) of $108,000.00/year, this would result in savings of approximately $50,000, which is based on a conservative 60% reduction in the development effort and elimination of separate oData resources. Applying that same math to using external consulting resources at an hourly rate of $125, the savings for the same scope would increase to $114,000.

Since Neptune Software provides a development platform, of course, the more you use the platform to develop additional applications, the more savings it will provide you in the long-run. In addition to development savings, the same applications will be 90% faster to maintain on an ongoing basis, further improving the ROI. Assuming just 10 hours of maintenance per app, per year, this would result in additional savings of $4,500 for internal resources, and $11,250 for external resources, respectively.

Putting it All Together 

Based on the various factors discussed, you should have no problems justifying the expense of Neptune DX Platform and its Business Value of User Experience, if you consider all the potential areas where it will save you money.

  • Training
  • Productivity Gains
  • Development Savings
  • Application Maintenance Savings

Often harder to quantify are the secondary effects that aren’t easy to extrapolate.

  • Improved overall equipment effectiveness (OEE)
  • Improvements in data quality leading to better decision making
  • Effect of employee morale for not having to deal with frustrating software
  • Employee retention
  • Employee engagement (Check out Minute 15:00 – 16:00 for a powerful statement from Chuck Norris of Fonterra)

Also, several other factors were not considered in this business case because it simply would have become too complicated. Depending on your enterprise architecture, you could even justify a business case based on hardware savings or based on a reduction in computing cost in the cloud. Our platform is highly performant and utilizes a large amount of data compression, which would result in additional savings.

In Closing

Many customers initially look for a solution, be that for warehouse management, HR, or plant maintenance. To realize the most significant ROI, it is vital that our customers break out of the initial use case and utilize our platform to build apps for other lines of business. Once again, we have a platform, and the more applications you develop, the more significant your ROI will be. You can either buy a software solution for every business need and then deal with the associated fragmentation, or you can develop your own solutions and be in control of your destiny.

About the Author  

Martin Beringer

Martin is the CEO of North America of Neptune Software.

Martin’s expertise includes over a decade of experience as Six Sigma Black Belt, driving process improvement efforts in manufacturing. Realizing the importance of digital transformation early in his career, Martin leveraged information technology heavily to drive process improvement. Eventually, he joined an SAP professional services start-up, which kicked off his career in enterprise technology.

Martin is very active outside of Neptune Software and enjoys the great outdoors, including skydiving, alpine skiing when possible, and sailing the waters surrounding the Treasure Coast with his family, and friends.

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