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Data Drives the Employee Experience (EX) with SAP

“I love filling out spreadsheets and uploading data.”

– No one. Ever.


When I get out in the field to observe the operations of many of our SAP S/4HANA Enterprise Customers, I see a lot of data entry. People put in orders, they update payments, they move inventory and generally keep the systems aware of what’s going on. But it’s not clear to the employees why they must click the red button, or why they must enter “Sales Org = 2500.” There is a limited perceived relationship between their trained data entry processes and the power it can ultimately yield. And to further compound this employee experience problem, so many organizations are simply trying to stabilize, and never actually even try to realize the power of data.

A common misperception with Experience Design, Design Thinking, or simply Design, is that it is simply about making things simpler, not understanding how dramatically you can make things better. I believe there is a better way to think of it:

Use design to empower people,  and use technology to enable design.

Our interest in SAP S/4HANA at Mindset is largely due to the fact that this ERP contains incredible data, and the companies that run these systems are in desperate need of transformational change. It’s through a great design process that you can unlock the hidden value. Let me give you an example:

SAP Sales in CRM

We recently worked with a company that had paid many millions of dollars to implement SAP CRM intended to better enable their sales organization and to provide greater transparency. After months of work the go-live happened, the salespeople were trained how to input data — contacts, accounts, phone numbers, meetings, and then, nothing. No one used it.

Frustrated with the lack of progress, the company finally went on to force employees to input this data, further contributing to an already poor employee experience. After being brought in to help our first question was trying to better understand what was happening.  We observed in our fieldwork that instead of actively utilizing the system as designed, employees would wait until Friday and then spend the full day typing things in, as minimally as possible to pass their management’s tests.

During ideation, and with these very employees deeply engaged, we discovered that in fact, this data could be incredibly useful. But the process and the outputs were not designed in a way to achieve that, yet. We must uncover the hidden insights and make it simple for employees to use it as a normal part of their day. We needed to make the system their ally.

We ultimately designed a revised system that helped the organization realize the power of this data by automating, simplifying, mobilizing, and then finally empowering the employees with data that worked for both the company and their individual professional needs. The system put in their hands the answers to questions they faced every day as they needed them. Questions like“Suggest to me an order that my customer is likely to buy”, “Provide me hints of various solutions that I can employ to a recent service situation that has arisen,”  ” Tell me who I should talk to and when, and how I should interact with them,”  ” Help me schedule optimal meetings for my schedule.” 


Great employees want to excel at work. To do that they are looking for more support from their company’s systems than what traditional software has given them, they need great design.


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