“Any intelligent fool can make things more complex. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.” – Albert Einstein
Back in 2011 I remember sitting down with the CIO of our largest client at the time for the first of our many quarterly reviews. The project was a very large SAP implementation (~$400 Million) with SAP, IBM and Excellis all engaged. SAP and IBM were the prime system integration vendors with Excellis brought in as the usability experts. Back then the term SAP Usability was an oxymoron so it did not take long for us to become public enemy number 1 in the eyes of the project-based SAP and IBM teams. They loathed us for challenging their out of the box / one-size-fits-all implementation methodologies with our User Centric design approach. Both claimed it would take longer and cost more money to customize the solution from the standard, go to market, out of the box UI. And anyway, why can’t the users just take what they are given. It should work just fine. It’s not that bad. Sound familiar?
As I prepared for my meeting I was expecting some push back from the CIO telling us to let up a bit. The project was mission critical (as they all are) and the teams needed to work in harmony to meet deadlines and stay within budget. Needless to say I was expecting some level of criticism but instead I received one of the best compliments I have ever received still to this day.
We love you guys! They (SAP and IBM) keep saying NO and you keep staying YES and you keep winning! – Tom Murphy, CIO AmerisourceBergen
Why We Won…User Research and Simple Designs!
As part of our User Centric design approach we went into the field and spent days with their users and customers. From sun up to sun down we saw what they did, how they did it and why. We recorded everything for additional analysts and presentations back to the design teams. As most importantly we created Day In The Life (DITL) profiles to go with essential user personas that became the guiding light for the entire project. The DITL clearly showed up the complexity of the roles of the users and how essential the simplicity of the user interfaces were. The results speak for themselves.
- Over 100,000 users
- Over 100 screens
- Over $100 Billion in revenue supported
- Zero Training! (saving over $50 million in budget)
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