Author: Stellan Flinkfeldt
I’ve been in numerous projects regarding user interface (UI) enhancements over the past years; moving the interaction between man and machine to where it belongs–within the project process. But this interaction hasn’t always been easy to design and implement.
Throughout the years, the IT department has been the experts on its tools, but their approach to delivering ux strategy projects was always more of a ”push without asking” than a ”deliver what we need” approach. But things started to change for a few years ago. Suddenly the business units were the ones that should drive the changes rather than being given tools or pre-packaged solutions they did not need or that did not work.
The only problem was that the IT department did not really grasp the new tools that were being released and therefore became a bit reluctant to use them, and worst of all, being told by the business units what tools to use. The idea was that it was better to use the old, proven solutions, the ones we already had implemented. However, the old way does not really work in this new, agile workplace environment.
Unfortunately, things have not changed much even though we know better. The process side of the business still asks for new tools, and wants to take the lead in business change. IT on the other hand rarely wants to use them, and still wants to tell the business what to do. So how do we change this? How do we move UX strategy projects and it’s tools to the “front of the line” when we start a project?
First, we must understand two (2) basic life principles:
- The more tools available to a craftsman, regardless of the issue she/he is trying to solve, the better. If this approach works for all other parts of our daily life, why shouldn’t it work with IT?!
- If you try to implement a product with the wrong tool you are doomed to fail. Even the best carpenter in the world cannot build a house with a screwdriver–even if it is the best screwdriver in the world.
Second, and the key to moving projects forward, is to recognize the two (2) scenarios that can happen if you start with the wrong tools and thinking in your SAP implementations/UX Strategy projects:
- You oversimplify the process to get something that is unusable. You don’t want the customer or end-user to be forced to hire twice as many people that really needed. This “corner cutting” will exclude many of the functions that lead to why they picked that ERP system in the first place. Yes, it might be simple, and yes it might be functional, but what happened with the quality and long term value?
- You do as you were told. You went ”all-in” in implementing complex processes. It was 100% desktop. And you didnt consider real life user behaviors. What happens it that you eventually drive the user to cut corners and lowering the project quality in the process
So, please do not try to start your UX strategy projects by removing UX tools from the equation–I have never seen it work! Bring modern UX tools and design thinking to your toolkit. Bring ours. Bring Neptune Software!!
- There are more tools available to you than ever. But make sure to use the right tools.
- Understand the project needs and don’t oversimplify the process to get something that is unusable.
- Don’t just do what you are told on a project. Think about the end user and their User Experience early in the project. Not when the project is done.
Stellan Flinkfeldt is the Partner Account Manager for Neptune in Sweden and has more than 15 years of experience building mobility solution for the SAP market, with extensive background supporting customers across Warehouse, Supply Chain Management.
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