As chief design officer of SAP, my goal is for the company to be the leader in design for the enterprise. To get there, we need to do more than just make our screens look nice.
That’s why we are working to actively shape the behavior and personality of the system so that it responds, prompts, and interacts with the user in a collaborative partnership.
Our Design Path
Since SAP started its design thinking journey some 10 years ago, we have greatly improved the user experience (UX) of our software. But I know we can do much better.
First, SAP is committed to delivering a consistent experience across our product suite. As a company, this is one of our highest priorities. This integrated experience — with hundreds of products and thousands upon thousands of screens — is already a very big job.
Second, we are aiming even higher. We are now exploring and implementing the most forward-looking technologies like neurofeedback, natural language processing, eye tracking, augmented reality, and machine learning into our enterprise software in order to deliver the most intuitive enterprise experience in the world. I strongly believe that an integrated, intelligent, and intuitive experience raises both human potential and machine capabilities to a new level of collaboration that both empowers and delights people.
If you think about it, it is ironic that the most advanced innovations in UX explore how to cater to fundamental human capabilities and needs that have not changed for thousands of years. Using a keyboard and a mouse are not particularly natural ways to interact with our environment. These input limitations do not make it easier for us to communicate with computers. Instead, they make it easier for computers to understand us. Compare clicking and typing with the richness of how people communicate with each other: We talk, change the tone of our voice, gesture with our hands, tilt our heads, raise our eyebrows, look at things. These are the effortless and innate ways we manage our analog world.
Technology is now able to interpret a much fuller bandwidth of human communication. Machines can monitor our vital signs, understand our speech, interpret our handwritten notes, track our gaze, and even measure our brain activity. This is how we want to bring delightfully natural experiences into the intelligent enterprise. And we have already started.
SAP CoPilot and SAP Inscribe
Available now with SAP S/4HANA, SAP CoPilot, our digital assistant and bot integration hub for the enterprise, enables users to converse with their SAP system using natural language and work across products in one continuous conversation. This is a tremendously important milestone for enterprise UX because you can just talk or chat with SAP CoPilot as you would with a super-intelligent colleague. It provides search results, gives business insights, suggests potential follow-up actions, and records a history that you can refer to — all in a single screen.
Another uniquely intuitive UX innovation from my team is SAP Inscribe. By combining the natural, freestyle experience of pen and paper with the power of system intelligence, SAP Inscribe allows you to explore your data by writing, scribbling, or drawing commands. You can drill down and refine step-by-step to identify root causes, business challenges, and opportunities. You can also make changes and immediately see their potential impact.
The Next Horizon
Both SAP CoPilot and SAP Inscribe belong to the latest innovations in the evolution of our design system and language, SAP Fiori. They are amazingly simple yet rich ways of interacting with enterprise software that we believe will revolutionize how people work.
But we have more in store to delight you. SAP Design is investigating and coding new ways to enhance the experience of using business software so that people will experience more productivity and well-being during their workday. We don’t just want users to be happy with the intelligent enterprise from SAP. We want them to be delighted by it!
Maricel Cabahug is chief design officer at SAP.