During SAP Teched Madrid 2012, I had the honour to Interview Sam Yen, chief design officer for SAP, for SAP Teched Live. To get to know Sam a bit better, I had the opportunity to stroll through the user experience and design thinking sections of the show floor. Sam told me how he got into his role, starting at Stanford where he completed a PhD in Design Theory and Methodology, and about building consumer apps for SAP, garage-style.
But he also told me about how he envisioned his passion for user-experience benefit the SAP organisation. At that time, he was trying to shift attention to a better user experience from the bottom up, applying the learnings from building those consumer-grade apps to a larger scale. And how he planned to eventually apply this knowledge for the greater good of SAP's entire array of products and services. At that time, Sam already mentioned a paradigm shift that should be happening in enterprise software, from a focus on features and functions to a focus on experience.
Today, end-users expect much more from their users-experience. While doing their work at the office, they expect the consumer-like experience that they see from their smart devices and consumer applications. Not only is this expected from a convenience stand-point, but after some critical question on ROI, Sam has also shown me how you can actually quantify this in terms of increased productivity and how to turn investments in user-experience into a solid business case.
And things have been going really fast. Together with Bernd Leukert, who was taking care of technical and development aspects, Sam was responsible for driving this change from within the SAP organisation. SAP's development organisation was transformed into a design-focussed organisation and the SAPUI5 technology, only publicly announced in 2011, would gain incredible momentum in a drive to accelerate renewal of broadly or frequently used user-scenario's. Eventually, from these efforts SAP Fiori was conceived, and now there are over 500 Fiori apps already!
But it didn't stop there. Fiori UX is now the representative of the renewal of SAP's entire user experience. Every SAP product now has a vision and a target to move towards Fiori: the business suite, S/4HANA, but even cloud solutions such as Success Factors, Hybris and Ariba.
Above: Sam Yen (left) moderating a panel during his TechEd presentation with ASUG CEO Geoff Scott and Douglas McLeod from ExxonMobil.
Sam's 10+ years of experience doing design thinking and user experience at SAP is of keen interest to the customer base. This is why I am super excited about our upcoming TweetChat that I am going to host with Sam doing the heavy lifting of answering all of your questions.
When: Thursday, February 26th, 9am PST
Topic: The Users Strike Back: The Force Behind a New SAP Experience