This may seem at odds with some of my earlier enterprisey ranting. I’m looking for balance, searching for mySAPZEN 2007. Perhaps I have been reading too much Rednun and surfing too many design blogs.
Here at SAP we think a lot about processes. I hear it all the time in the corridors and meeting rooms in Walldorf. It is one of the main reasons for SAP’s success. It is goodness, and it is very tough to emulate. (We are pretty damn good at the other bit of the iceberg it seems) It is a significant competitive advantage.
At the same time though, we do need to think more about the user, once we have figured out who the user is. Find a balance between process and user centricity.
The reason why I’m writing this post at all is that I stumbled across something in SDN. David seems uncomfortable with concept of “enhanced user experience”, deriding it as selling Viagra. I think he has it wrong on two counts.
1. Viagra has helped many people. Don’t knock it.
2. Historically SAP’s single greatest competitive weakness is the user experience. I’ve spent the last 12 years in presales, and this is the one area where I would get beaten up time and time again. At SAP we need to learn more from the Apples and Porsches of this world about the power of the aesthetic. Bring on the enhanced user experience I say.
I’m probably harsher on the marketing function and how we sell here at SAP than is good for my career, but a user focus is not just developing a screen, it is about the whole company and the ecosystem. And if you have a minute, ask your mum.
I’d suggest that anyone in the our enterprisey world involved in building processes that impact users spend a little time reading Kathy Sierra’s blog, creating passionate users. Maybe start by looking at this post on Featuritis . If Kathy seems a little on the wild side, then try Don Norman.
Perhaps I’m drinking too much design kool-aid, but if we don’t offer the user the enhanced experience they deserve, then some other vendor (and their consulting friends will)