When we talk to customers about user experience (UX) for the first time, we often have to tell them that UX is about more than making their user interfaces sexier and their users happier. It is also about reducing operational costs and enabling their users to work more efficiently.


As soon as we communicate this ROI message, they become interested in the topic and want to know how big the savings potential could be for the IT processes they currently use.

Our team at the Design & Co-Innovation Center (DCC) from SAP has successfully closed more than 100 customer projects. Some of the results have been entirely new solutions, designed for processes or problems not yet covered by the standard SAP software.

At one of our Oil & Gas customers for example, the blue-collar workers on the oil rig were challenged by the complexity of generating a maintenance notification with the SAP GUI. This resulted in considerable support and training costs, which were further compounded by the fact that these employees work in shifts and are away from the rig for long stretches at a time. Our team at the Design and Co-Innovation Center from SAP interviewed a number of these end users. We identified the information and input parameters that the user group needs to create a maintenance notification. With the insights gained from this study, we designed a new solution reducing the number of clicks by 43% and the number of screens from seven to three. Tests have proven that the new design can save money, as it is intuitive, self-explanatory and easy to use. As an additional benefit, the new screens are beautifully branded and reflect our customer’s corporate identity.

Before a project can be started, the customer has to identify the right place to begin, i.e. where the highest potential for added value is and the greatest need for improvement can be found. We offer a two-day advisory service, during which we help our customers adapt the SAP UX strategy to their particular circumstances, creating a customer-specific UX strategy. We define a mission, set goals and plan the next steps with a prioritized roadmap comprising several dimensions. We thus create a ranking matrix on the basis of the customer’s sub-processes supported by their ERP system.

value matrix

– To measure current user satisfaction, we propose to conduct an end user survey leveraging industry standards, such as the SUS (System Usability Score) or SUMI (Software Usability Measurement Inventory). This helps to focus on the areas where users are encountering the greatest difficulty.

– Reach or Usage: SAP can run a report that measures which transactions are being used in which ERP modules, together with the frequency of this usage. This helps to identify the areas with the greatest impact potential, therefore the most suited for investment.

– The Strategic Dimension covers the areas of your company’s current IT planning, such as planned investment in a new solution or in the upgrade of an existing module, which by default provides good usability in a certain area.

– We help you to calculate the Value Potential per sub-process or task, based on your real figures, in order to identify the processes and tasks with the greatest potential for cost savings. We examine this potential in four areas: productivity, training and support, number of user errors and related costs, and accuracy of the solution, which means fewer change requests needed to meet the users’ needs after going live.

With the result obtained from these four areas, we get a scoring for your sub-processes and tasks. This helps us to create a prioritized roadmap reflecting value potential, user needs, usage, and your strategy. The next step is to align the most highly prioritized points with SAP’s roadmap and enhanced offerings, in order to identify quick wins, which could be leveraged by just applying standard solutions. These quick wins are then usually implemented as proof of concepts (PoCs) by leveraging the “realize” UX Services.

The value potential identified during the prioritization process can now be taken as a KPI for the upcoming project and for the definition of the project’s success.

But how do we measure the value potential and how can we foresee it?

SAP has developed the UX Value Calculator, an online tool which takes into account customer’s statistics, such as your number of users involved in a particular task, their fully-loaded cost rates, and the end-to-end time needed to execute these tasks.

value calculator

These figures are then multiplied by factors developed based on our experience and measures of improvement achieved with past projects. The saving assumptions we forecast with this tool can also be used as a basis for a business case to calculate the amortization and return of investment for a new or enhanced solution.

Feel free to play around with our value calculator in order to discover the hidden potential in your existing processes. Go to: https://experience.sap.com/designservices/services and click on the value calculator link. You can register free of charge and use our online UX value calculator to get a first impression of your value potential.

After a successful PoC, in which the project team meets its goals by enhancing the user experience, many of our customers go on to transform a short-term investment into a strategic program with a multi-year budget plan. In these cases, we help the customer to set up an internal center of excellence for user experience. The purpose of this center of excellence is to ensure that the customer acquires the right skills, invests in the right tools and technology, and acquires budget in order to execute on the priorities defined in the UX roadmap, leading to a successful implementation of the UX strategy defined by the customer.

The goal is to enable our customers to transform how they implement projects, from a traditional method to a user-centered design approach, incorporating the latest design thinking methodologies in order to execute faster, save money and provide the best possible solution to their end users.

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  • Russell Martin   6 years ago

    This is the new face of SAP. For too long, discussions about user experience have been very negative. It’s great to see SAP investing in both skills and tools to help customers to be more productive. This work is a blend of scientific tools and the simple quality of empathy and active listening to understand what the user really needs.