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(Edition On Demand Line of Business (2) What do customers already love about cloud solutions? - On Demand Line of Business (3) - Customer concerns that cloud overall appeal of on-demand of this series)


What are end users seeking from their Line of Business cloud solution?
The on-demand Line of Business co innovation team has one person in mind – the end user.  SAP has traditionally operated through the IT department; however for this product offering (on-demand Line of Business applications), we want to reach the end user directly.  In order to gain a deeper understanding of the end users ‘wish list’, we spent countless hours in conversation with current and potential customers, soliciting feedback and gleaning customer insights. 

Thus the information here is based not on personal opinion, but on in-depth customer feedback.  Customers look into cloud solutions for many reasons – operating expenses vs. capital investment, quicker and easier ramp up time etc; but what value proposition does a line of business seek from an on-demand solution?  Simply put we are looking to understand, “what will it take to put the end user on cloud nine?” 

1.    Faster consumption of innovation on all devices:
End users want their information faster, and they want it on all the devices they use daily.  They want their systems to fit into their increasingly mobile lifestyle: an office is no longer a confined to a physical location, instead consists of a few key devices carried around on your hip or small wallet. Degrees of mobility and device preference vary by industry and function – so we as the suppliers of solutions are challenged with providing the latest and greatest applications for all the favorite devices of our present day mobile worker.    

2.    Reduced complexity: 
End users want systems designed around their needs, but do not want to trade off between customization and complexity.  They want a system that is tailored to meet all their needs, as well as reduced complexity to their user experience. 

3.    Ability to leverage existing data:
The focus for our end user is to get their job done, and to find the best possible solution for their own process.  They want to be connected, and to leverage the existing data/ information and experiences in company wide systems.  Again, connectivity without any additional complexity – innovation synchronized between their solution and corporate systems. 

4.    Better experiences:
Users are looking for their system and solution to provide a better user experience – improved appearance and user interfaces, greater speed of information transfer and consistency across various applications. 

5.    Integrity/ Process integrity:
Your end user wants to ensure process integrity, but once again does not want to pay the price of additional work or added complexity to their primary process.  They want their solution to be connected to other solutions, most often to the Enterprise Resource Planning system. 

6.    Ability to support the collaborative nature of business:
It is extremely important for every line of business solution to support the collaborative nature of the end users job.  For example, a sales person’s job involves extensive collaboration.  If you are in sales, you run a project with the end goal of closing a deal.  In that timeframe you will need to collaborate with people inside your organization, outside your company, with project partners, and with a myriad of constituents within the customer organization.  You will need to reach out to many people (the best people to close the deal, your social networks), and you will need to conduct research / gather information from the systems at hand.  Information gathering is becoming increasingly complex and time consuming with the avalanche of feed mechanisms. End users are looking for greater efficiency and accuracy with regard to collecting information from diverse and scattered sources.  They need their solution to be a valuable tool in cutting through the clutter, to gather and distribute the most relevant information in a timely and simplified manner. To be connected to the system of records that holds the information of truth is key. 

7.    Business Value:
Will the solution deliver me value added business insights compared to what I currently use? Users need the information in context to the process they are influencing, not tools and lists of lists. 

8.    Compliance and Stability:
Users want to be able to access information at all times, want no limitations from connectivity issues, and want to minimize (eliminate) all possible risks.



On-demand systems are very appealing due to their flexibility and cost effectiveness, but for a solution to truly be embraced, it needs to be able to incorporate and address all the needs of the end user. Connecting the systems of engagement and systems of records is the perfect start. The shift in thinking though comes from looking into how a solution is consumed by the user, as opposed to delivering a system to meet the needs of a department or larger entity within an organization.