Why does SAP conduct site visits?

SAP’s software does not only provide tools and technology to help companies run their business. It also shapes end users’ daily work as it defines the flow of how information is presented and which steps end users have to go through to complete their daily tasks. To make sure that our software does not hinder but help end users, SAP runs user research projects to better understand all details of how end users work. An important activity for such projects are site visits, where end users are interviewed and observed right in their context of work.

SAP is very grateful to all customers who allow us to visit their company for end-user research. Observing end-users at their place of work performing their daily tasks is essential for us to understand:

  • their goals at work
  • their tasks and how they perform them
  • their information needs
  • the pain points they encounter in their daily work

Generally, we observe a number of end-users in the same role from several different companies in order to get a solid understanding as the basis for a standardized software solution for the task or profile in question.

Why should customers take time from their busy schedule to help SAP?

Good question! By allowing us to observe end-users in their daily work and ask questions, customers make it possible for us to create software that is easy-to-use and that helps end-users to do their job better.

Customers:

  • Gain early insights into SAP‘s product visions and research projects
  • Provide requirements and feedback directly to the product team
  • Gain early insights into potential later products through evaluation of use cases and prototypes
  • Establish a direct line of communication to the product development organization
  • Have an opportunity to share ideas, solutions and best practices with SAP

What is the required effort on the part of the customer?

We generally have 2 to 3 calls with the contact person on the customer side to coordinate the site visit. Each interview with end-users lasts approximately 90 minutes.

What happens during a typical site visit?

In the beginning of the visit, we generally hold a short introductory session so that all participants from the customer side and SAP’s team members can get to know each other and discuss the goals of the visit. It is not necessary for customers to prepare a presentation.

After that, we start our observations. From SAP’s side, there is generally one moderator who asks questions and one or more note takers who record everything they see and hear. Note taking is generally done with pen and paper, but if appropriate and allowed by the customer, we might also take pictures and a video recording. The idea is for us to observe end-users during their daily work. Here we ask end-users not to prepare a demo of their activities because it is very interesting for us to see them performing their tasks in their real work environment.

At the end of our visit, we like to have a short de-briefing, which allows us to talk about possible bottlenecks in the current system and to give us some ideas about how to improve our designs.

What do customers need to prepare?

Participants from the customer side just need to sign a feedback agreement (FBA) provided by SAP and work with us to schedule a time and place for the visit. We take care of all the rest!

*Please note that the header photo for this post is used with the agreement of the involved persons – we take confidentiallity of our site visits seriously, and would never use photos outside of the project analysis context.

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