I've recently had the opportunity to talk to Marc about his latest adventure. Now, I get to tell his story.
Picture this: Marc Zauritz, a seasoned professional UX designer at BTP Experience and amateur photographer decides to undertake a thrilling 6-hour drive to France in April. Not only does it feel almost novel to meet in person again, he tells me, but this journey also takes place during nationwide strikes called by labor unions, testing everyone's patience. Amid the turmoil, Marc keeps his cool. His mission? The Customer Success team at SAP France requires his expertise for a 2-day workshop, focused on SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC). Despite the challenging circumstances, Marc shows up on time and delivers an eye-opening 1.5-hour presentation.
Decathlon: A Sporting Giant
If you're unfamiliar with Decathlon, it's a global retailer that specializes in sporting goods and outdoor equipment. Established in France in 1976, Decathlon now operates numerous stores across the globe. Known for affordability, quality, and innovation, the brand often designs and produces its own products under various in-house brands. If you share my enthusiasm for the great outdoors, there's a good chance you're already familiar with Decathlon's impressive range (and good prices).
The Perfect Fit for the Job
When Francois Planckart and his team approached Rebekka Kotinis, Design Director for the Product Design Analytics & Planning team, she knew Marc, with his extensive experience in UX, designing dashboards, and co-creating (together with Jeff Zhu) the External Dashboard Design Guidelines, would be perfect to connect with the Decathlon team.
Despite the challenges, it was clear that being physically present would help to build trust and showcase SAC's potential. His passion for dashboards and analytical pages, coupled with his love for photography, made him the ideal candidate to convey the powerful stories that dashboards can tell.
"Designing dashboards is similar to photography"
Anyone who's chatted with Marc knows his motto: "Designing dashboards is similar to photography".
The key rule for both taking a good picture and creating an effective dashboard is essentially the same - you must get "close enough". In photography, this refers to capturing the emotional essence. In data visualization, it means deeply understanding what the user needs. The visual tools and ideas used to make things easy to "see" are pretty much the same in both areas.
He seems to hit the nail on the head as more and more companies are seeking out ways to make their data clearer. People need to understand the data like they would understand a story. Lines and graphs do not convey that. Unfortunately, many still struggle to leverage dashboards to tell impactful stories and inform business decisions. It requires guidance and best practices to accomplish this daunting task. We’re in luck though, since Marc and the team have already created extensive, but easy-to-understand guidelines to help with this problem.
Building Better Dashboards: A Masterclass
During the workshop, Marc discussed the best practices for building dashboards and emphasized the importance of understanding end-users. Coming from design, he knows the value user experience brings. He walked attendees through the External Dashboard Design Guidelines, which are available to all SAP partners and customers. There’s also an internal version available to everyone at SAP within the BTP Experience Toolkit.
The guidelines offer a simple overview of the process and provide practical steps for creating top-notch analytical pages. By following these steps, participants learn how to harness the power of SAC and unlock the full potential of dashboard storytelling.
"When you start to build a dashboard, 50% of your work should be about getting people together and making sure they're on the same page."
It's crucial to gather the right people (for example the business process expert, UX designer, application developer, and data engineer) and determine the purpose of an analytics page before even considering the use of lines or graphs. The first two steps of the guide, 'Understand' and 'Design', explain that a diverse team with varying roles must work together to define their objectives for the analytic pages. It's only after successfully completing this phase that you should proceed to step 3, which involves building the dashboard.
To create a dashboard that really meets the user's needs and offers true value to the customer, you need good planning, thoughtful design, and a lot of patience.
Marc's unique view from a designer’s and photographer’s perspective made the 2-day workshop valuable to everyone who wants their data to tell stories. Through his expertise, he not only enriched the attendees' knowledge but also helped strengthen the relationship between SAP and the customer.
Building Stronger Connections: The SAP Customer Success Team's Triumph in Creating Valuable Customer Experiences
Our sincere thanks go to the SAP Customer Success team for their incredible work in organizing the recent event. Their collaborative effort made it possible to set up a unique workshop, featuring a diverse team of people, each bringing their own expertise and perspective. It's these face-to-face meetings that truly add value for our customers, building stronger relationships and trust. Personal interactions like these are vital, as they not only connect us with our customers but also help to deepen customer relationships.