The Dollars And Sense Of An Amazing User Experience

I visited with a customer recently who told me about a training program his company holds every 18 months for new contractors. The company needs to refresh its group of 3,000 contractors every year and a half. Each time new contractors are onboarded, they require two days of training, in which they learn what is expected of them and how to use the enterprise system.

That all made sense to me – except for the two days part. Why, I thought, would it take that long to get a group up and running? And if the company was doing this on a regular basis, had anyone ever thought of the resources expended on training time, trainer costs, and contractor productivity? What if it could cut that time in half or even more?

As it turns out, a big portion of the training course was dedicated to using the enterprise software, which was complicated. It had grown over time as new customizations and screens were added. It was no different from the enterprise applications that many organizations use today and vastly different from what we all experience with Amazon, Facebook or Google on our mobile devices.

Let’s face it: No one needs even five minutes of training when they get a new mobile app. The same should be true for this company’s contractors. Think of the cost savings that could be realized with streamlined training.

Such easily calculated savings are the crux of how you should think about user experience (UX). Far beyond just screen design or user interface, UX involves looking at how people work and then bringing that into reality through an intuitive solution. The result: happy users and business benefits that you can actually anticipate, measure and realize, such as productivity gains, lower training costs, decreased user errors and increased solution accuracy. If you are curious about the potential impact for your organization, take a look at our UX value calculator.

The online tool calculates potential savings based on learnings from hundreds of customer projects. Take a scenario like sales order creation. Here are the inputs you’d need in order to calculate the impact of user experience, in actual currency:

  • Productivity gains: Annual salary of individual employees involved in order creation, task completion time, and task repetitions per day for all employees.
  • Lower training costs: Training hours per year by trainers, training hours per year by participants, and training costs per hour for trainer and facilities.
  • Decreased user errors: IT support tickets related to order creation, cost per support ticket, data errors to be corrected per year related to order creation, and cost per error correction.
  • Increased solution accuracy: Change requests after rollout of the solution and cost per change request.

My advice: Don’t think of user experience in terms of what the user sees on the screen. The reality goes much deeper. Any company can realize business value and improve employee satisfaction if they stop accepting enterprise applications for what they are and instead use design thinking to understand the real needs of their users. Think about how we all experience consumer apps on our devices. Given the challenges businesses face today, such a transformation of the user experience is no longer a nice-to-have but a must-do.

Learn how SAP can simplify your user experience.

Andreas Hauser is senior vice president and global head of  the Design and Co-Innovation Center, SAP.

This story originally appeared in the SAP Business Trends community.
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