Zoosh Cloud Native Software Development Logo
Zoosh Cloud Native Software Development Logo


Design Thinking for Custom SAP Development

Kristóf Aczél
July 9, 2018

What happens when you implement an SAP solution but it doesn’t work quite right for your organisation? It’s a common problem. SAP’s Fiori applications facilitate a simple user experience and work very well when your business needs are typical, like manufacturing and finance reporting, or sales orders. There are cases however where your needs will diverge from what’s on offer out-of-the-box and that’s when you need design thinking. Perhaps you’re an airline and your time scheduling software doesn’t handle the way pilot’s holidays are allocated. Or maybe you need factory floor workers to self report their progress using a custom mobile application.

Your organisation has unique needs and faces unique opportunities. You can choose to make do with out-of-the-box functionality (which works well in the majority of cases) or you can choose to implement a custom SAP solution that will help you to fully realise business opportunities. The quickest, most efficient and effective way of implementing custom solutions through SAP is to take a design thinking approach.

What is design thinking?

Design thinking is a process for solving complex business problems that produces better outcomes. The premise is that to get the best solution, you need to start by understanding the problem you’re trying to solve. Design thinkers spend a little more time up-front, interviewing and observing users and analysing data and processes. This time spent researching at the start reaps rewards down the line. It allows the project team to focus on solving the real problem and implementing only those features that deliver true business value.

The process involves three steps. During discovery, researchers, speak to stakeholders to understand business goals, conduct analysis of usage metrics and observe workers in the field. This provides rich insight into the problem area. The design phase involves the creation of wireframes (blueprints) and prototypes. These can be socialised amongst interested parties for feedback. At this stage, making changes is easy and quick, so iteration takes place until the right solution is fully designed. The final stage, development, is informed by detailed designs. Problems should have already been identified and changes made. The effort put into research and design early on should result in a smooth and cost-efficient development phase.

Why design thinking produces better outcomes

Lower costs

With a better UX, users obtain insight, make decisions and keep the business moving without in-depth training. You can expect training costs to decrease by 30-80%*.

Higher productivity

Users get more done when you focus on their real needs. That makes their jobs easier to do and more enjoyable. You can expect user adoption to increase by 30-70%*.

Fewer errors

Simpler UX translates into fewer errors, increased data quality and support cost reductions of 30-80%*.

Fewer change requests

Building software according to people’s true requirements avoids change requests by 30-70%*.

Greater user satisfaction

Well designed technology meets stakeholder expectations and creates satisfied employees.

*Source: Customer Engagements with UX Design Services from SAP

To find out more about taking a design thinking approach to your custom SAP implementation, view our webinar on SAP Design Thinking recording. In the webinar the Zoosh design team delved deeper into the methods of design thinking and demonstrated the benefits using real-life case studies.