February 18, 2019
Seeing a 2-year old child navigate an iPhone can leave a lasting realization of just how user-friendly the design is. Market leaders, like Apple and Amazon, create products that are so intuitive and easy to use that even a 2-year old can become a prolific user. Although not every parent wants their toddler to be sending text messages, companies want to make products that sell to any consumer. The same basic rules apply to procurement software: user adoption is the key to a successful transformation.
At the beginning of every implementation, the system “users” must be defined. Users can be anyone from a rank employee placing an order to an executive looking for reports. All levels of user groups must be taken into consideration during the design process.
As consultants, we utilize this philosophy while mapping out the business process in a procurement platform. This applies to every touchpoint within the platform for that user. The interface with the home page, the navigation of the product catalog, the requisition completion process – everything must be designed so that the user is able to complete their tasks with minimal clicks.
In a recent client engagement, we chose to drive user adoption by leveraging the client’s marketing team to create custom icons on the home page for each activity a user often performs. By doing so, the user’s daily tasks become much more streamlined. Any user should be able to log-in and easily navigate through the platform without feeling burdened. In another situation, we designed a process for requesting checks by creating scheduled reports and custom views on the user interface to make it easier and more timely for the accounts payable team to process the request and meet the agreed upon service levels of the client.
Finally, a caveat: do not design your system for exceptions. Recently, a client team member expressed how executives bombard her with invoices at year-end and how that complicated year-end reporting. It was a major pain point to her but would not qualify as a design consideration. This, instead, is something that should be handled internally by enforcing due dates & deadline policies.
The Shelby Group designs to the “90 percent rule.” The 90 percent rule states that designs should adhere to the way any process functions 90 percent of the time. The other 10 percent of use cases can be solved for outside of the design process. Fitting major platform design elements to too many possible use cases can be a cause for failure and frustration. We understand that users encounter a variety of challenges, but those individual pain points should not be the base of an organization’s foundational platform design.
User centric design is central to our platform implementation methodology. All designs are done keeping user adoption as the key to success. Strategically designing each facet of the platform for your user groups will drive overall adoption. This will provide a great experience for all of your users – even a two-year old team member!
By: Alec Brady, Consultant & Austin Flowers, Consultant