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What We’re Looking Forward to at TechEd Las Vegas 2016

We’re really excited to be exhibiting at TechEd Las Vegas 2016! We will be there not only to talk with SAP ERP customers about their plans for SAP mobility, UX/UI, scaling and performance, but also to see how the rest of the marketplace is innovating around these salient issues. If you’re coming to TechEd, stop by booth #311 to say hi!

I’ve just finished building my conference agenda, and I have to say -- I am very excited about what people will be talking about this year. We’ve been tackling SAP’s user experience challenges since 1998, and it’s so encouraging to see the depth to which the market is finally addressing the needs of the end-user.

While at TechEd, I’ll be focused mostly on understanding how SAP customers are currently addressing their SAP user experience issues: what they’ve tried, what worked, what didn’t, and what needs are still not being addressed by the market.


What We'll Be Learning About

Here’s a small sampling of what we’ll be learning about this year at TechEd, and why:

Best Practices for Using SAP Splash and Build

Splash and Build collectively represent SAP’s toolset for non-designer, business experts who wish to take it upon themselves to address SAP usability issues. This platform, which is predicated on S/4HANA and Fiori adoption, promises to ease the development-cycle burden of user interface changes through a drag-and-drop, templated interface. In theory, I see Splash and Build meeting a real market demand for easy, impactful UI improvement tools. However, in our experience, the keys to making a successful SAP-usability intervention are:

  1. Involving a team with specialized knowledge of both business process and user experience design

  2. Ensuring a brief solution implementation timeline by minimizing the technical footprint of the solution

With this said, I’ll be curious to learn about is how Splash and Build have been successfully utilized, by whom, under what circumstances, and if this is a viable solution for the complex workflows of many ERP modules.

Guerilla UX Design: How to Engage with Real Users in the Face of Adversity

In contrast to (or perhaps in compliment of) the Splash and Build lecture, this lecture will talk about what specific value there is in doing UX “the right way”, i.e. involving end users.

Because of my own product and marketing background, I understand the importance of conducting extensive user research prior to building anything - that is, if you want it to actually be useful to an end user. I’ve learned the hard way that, despite subject-matter expertise, even a business expert can’t know specifically what is meaningful to an end user or how to achieve it. The design decisions that yield impactful products (or usable SAP interfaces) aren’t informed by subject matter experts -- they’re informed by end users, often with subject matter experts in-tow. I’m really curious to hear how people are approaching this within the context of SAP usability.

Convince IT and Business to Value UX

I should just be upfront here and say that I’m not actually super interested in how to convince decision makers to value UX. What I am super interested in is learning about what happens after IT and Business have been convinced to value UX. I think that’s the real challenge we’re currently facing.

Why? We all know that even the most dazzlingly robust software will fail in its implementation if end users do not adopt it. We also know that the answer to low adoption rates is not to simply increase end user training or change user interface colors or button styles. And we also know that addressing the root cause - the user experience (UX) - is the only meaningful solution.

While I am curious to hear how different people have been successful in communicating the value of an SAP UX investment, in my mind, that’s actually only (the easy) half of the battle.

That’s because once business leaders are convinced that an SAP UX investment is worthwhile, someone (The Champion) then has to step into the complex landscape of IT decision-making to lay out a clear path for moving forwards. Many UX solutions, such as some offered by SAP, while they’re clear on the benefits of UX (and may even offer DIY tools to get there), they don’t address the slew of complications which come as a result of the increased IT complexity required to support those solutions.

The decision to address SAP usability through the UI/UX is actually the easy one for IT and Business to make. But for IT, it’s the execution decision which is the hard one to make: how to embark on the complex and expensive move to S/4HANA. This is what we pride ourselves on in our product offering -- the ease of adoption from an IT stakeholder standpoint.


What We’re Excited to Talk About With You

Going mobile with your SAP ERP in 5 minutes.

It’s true! If you’ve got an SAP ERP, and you’ve got an iOS or Android phone, we can connect the two in less than 5 minutes. Stop by to talk about what our customers have been able to do with our mobile products, and walk away with your SAP mobile solution in-hand -- literally.

Liquid UI Server awesomeness.

If thinking about a kernel upgrade or coordinating more ABAP work gives you heartburn, you should really come talk with us about Liquid UI for server. We know what IT life looks like for an SAP ERP administrator. Our products are built with your pain-points in mind.

See Liquid UI in action.

What SAP-mediated business process are you struggling with? Try out our Developer Toolkit yourself and see what it feels like to use drag-and-drop, auto-scripting tools to optimize your SAP UI. And the best part? What you demo at TechEd is what you get -- no middleware, no kernel upgrade, no additional stacks. Liquid UI products are compatible with your IT infrastructure as it stands right now.


Exploring Beyond the Convention Floor

If we’re in business to promote a rich and meaningful user experience within SAP, I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about why I’m pumped to visit Las Vegas, one of the most culturally idiosyncratic “experiences” ever produced by humanity.

Here’s a few of the things I’ll do when I’m not at the convention:

Fountains of Ballagio

I could (and probably will) watch this for hours. It’s free, and both surprisingly entertaining and pacifying.

Stratosphere Big Shot

What makes you feel more alive than the terror of free-fall at 1081 feet above the Las Vegas Strip? If your answer has anything to do with SAP, you should probably get out and ride the Big Shot on top of the Stratosphere tower.

National Atomic Testing Museum

I’m a big-time aerospace and science geek, and I never pass up an opportunity to visit a good museum. This one looks particularly neat -- think: nuclear physics meets kitsch meets Universal Studios. And you’ve heard the old joke: the only things left after a nuclear holocaust would be cockroaches and the SAP GUI. I’ll stop by the museum to see if they agree!

SAP 5K Fun Run

Because who doesn’t like to get up at 6am and run in the desert? We’ll be there!


Come Get In Touch!

We’re exhibiting at booth #311. We would love to meet you!

You can also follow us and our conference take-aways on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook!

Post written by Ben Bradley, Product Evangelist for Liquid UI