Wednesday Apr 17, 2013

Stay on Top of the Latest Trends in Enterprise User Experiences


By Misha Vaughan, Oracle Applications User Experiences

Find your local expert in:

Dubai | Cyprus | Athens | Johannesburg  | Jordan | Prague | Moscow | Doha | Bucharest | Abu Dhabi | Munich | London | Gothenburg | Brussels | Copenhagen | Utrecht | Chicago | San Francisco | Washington DC


Photographs by Misha Vaughan, Oracle Applications User Experience
Amsterdam canals, above, were outside the location for a recent workshop on enterprise applications user experience. 

In the fall of last year, the Apps UX team met with and updated the Apps UX Sales Ambassador (SAMBA) team in North America with a reprise of last year’s sales training event.

The SAMBA team is a global group of senior-level application solution consultants and applications technologists who provide front-line feedback on the Oracle applications user experience strategy and roadmap. We now officially welcome to the fold representation from Oracle’s Partner team, Alliances and Channels, as well.

Their brethren in Europe, Middle East, and Africa also wanted a chance to see and give feedback on what's new, what's coming, and what is officially "wow" in applications user experiences.  So we took our workshop on the road to create more regional user experience experts.


The new Oracle University training facility in Dubai, near where more UX training was conducted. Highly recommended!

What did they learn?
There was a significant focus on the Oracle Fusion Applications next-generation user experiences, with an in-depth discussion of the new simplified user interface, updates to the desktop user interface, as well as the role of Fusion's native applications.  There was also an extended conversation about how this frames Oracle's overall cloud user experience strategy.

Attendees also got a much more detailed view into how these innovations are spread across the Applications Unlimited product lines, such as E-Business Suite, Siebel, JD Edwards, and PeopleSoft. We offered specific examples of how Oracle invests in codifying proven, tested solutions to usability problems, known as user experience design patterns,  that any existing product can family leverage.



Ultan O'Broin, Director, Applications User Experiences, discusses how user experience design patterns allow developers to leverage Oracle innovations across applications products.


Finally, the main event: The applications user experience roadmap with Jeremy Ashley, Vice President of the Apps UX team. What are the next set of big ideas that we are paying attention to and doing research and development around? 

You can get an inkling of the conversation here. Both presenters and attendees debated the merits and risks of simplification, gamification, voice technology, and how to create frameworks for extending these platforms to tailor a user experience to the way a customer's business really needs to function.


Lynn Rampoldi-Hnilo, Director, Mobile User Experience, talks about voice integration for end users of enterprise applications.

Special Thanks
Special thanks to Kevin Li, Edward Dewolf and Julian Peters from Europe, and Anand Subramanian from Middle East and Africa, for serving as our spirit guides, and teaching us what you need for your customers and partners. 


Julian Peters, Master Principal Sales Consultant, UK


Anand Subramanian, Middle East and Africa Fusion Apps Leader, Dubai


Edward Dewolf, Principal Sales Consultant, Belgium

A last thank you to Andrew Gilmour for staying calm under pressure to help execute an awesome series of workshops.


Andrew Gilmour, Fusion User Experience Advocates and Apps UX Sales Ambassador Programs

For customers and partners
If you are interested in a briefing and want to stay on top of what's coming in applications user experiences, connect with your local solution consultant or alliances and channels representative -- they will reach out to our Apps UX Sales Ambassadors and can deliver an update for you. 

If you are fortunate enough to find your way to a local user group event, we try to make sure we have a representative from our team on the ground.  Check out our events pages on the UsableApps Web site.

Thursday Apr 11, 2013

The Cloud User Experience: Changing Everything for Users

By Misha Vaughan, Oracle Applications User Experience

Cloud-delivered applications are one of those things you watch to see how the  phenomenon is going to fully express itself.  It’s one of those industry-wide happenings, perhaps even more compelling than tablet computers, that is making the world a better place for users.

Consumers have already seen the benefit of a cloud approach with tailored, consumer-driven experiences on sites like eBay.  



Whether it’s using a desktop user interface (UI) with powerful features such as a merchant user interface for uploading 100 long and short descriptions and photos, or a simplified UI on a tablet for browsing through items from the comfort of your couch, or monitoring an auction on your smart phone using a native application, these custom, tailored experiences are really enabled by cloud computing.  

Think about that. These user interfaces are tailored for what you are doing, on specific devices, and considering specific contexts of use. Add to that a consumer-level design aesthetic, and industrial-grade security, and you have the makings of a pleasant little revolution for enterprise users.


Enterprise Apps in the Cloud Should Work the Way You Do

Marry ease-of-use, device-savvy design, custom-fit experiences, role-based access, international compliance, and security -- that’s a heady combination. It means that users can and should expect their cloud-delivered solutions to work the way they need.

Let me give you some examples.  If I am a VP of sales, I am likely very mobile and use a simplified UI on a tablet quite a bit to browse and analyze my pipeline on the road.  But if I need to sit down and crank out a deeper level of analysis for territory modeling, I am only going to do that from the comfort of a delightfully wide screen on a desktop UI.  If I am dashing from a customer meeting to the airport, I want a quick user interface via a native application on my smartphone to capture only essential information.



If I am a general ledger clerk, I probably need access to a large-screen user interface.  In fact, if you try to make me do my day-to-day work on a tablet, I would likely smack you with it.  But I may be perfectly happy submitting my vacation schedule from a tablet-kiosk in the lunchroom.

It’s a pretty exciting time of change in enterprise software right now, and I am a big fan of these kinds of changes.  It means that our end users will only benefit.  Stay tuned to the Voice of User Experience (VoX) blog to hear more about some of the new stuff coming from Oracle.  


Tuesday Apr 02, 2013

Introduce Design Thinking Into Your Enterprise Implementations

By Madhuri Kolhatkar, Oracle Applications User Experience

Enterprise applications are often critiqued for being too complex and difficult to use. But if one can understand the customer journey that post-sales enterprise implementations go through, such as configuration, customizations, and extensions, then it is not hard to understand how the design focus is lost. Enterprise implementations are typically technology-focused. Consultants and IT professionals deliver what is required by the business, but end users often experience an application that does not meet their needs in terms of user experience.

Oracle’s Applications User Experience team incorporates user-centered design process into our shipped products. Our customers often tailor these enterprise solutions to fit their needs. If our customers used our user-centered design thinking in the implementation, the result of their tailored implementation is far more likely to result in more productive users, and deliver the efficiency everyone wants with a new enterprise solution.

To meet this goal, the Oracle Applications User Experience team has created a program called Oracle UX Direct to provide customers, partners, and consultants in the enterprise industry with design best-practices and tools that they can leverage to make their enterprise implementations more successful. By introducing design thinking during the implementation stage, our customers have the opportunity to create a solution that best fits the needs of their users from the beginning.

UX Direct Home Page
Visit the UX Direct website to learn how to make your implementation more usable and productive for your users.

Just to illustrate the benefits of introducing design thinking into an implementation, I want to share a story from one of my experiences working with customers. An international organization had implemented Oracle’s recruitment application for Human Capital Management to increase their global workforce. They converted their 50-page, paper-based, new-hire application to an online form collecting detailed personal information. However, no one was using the application, and there were no submissions from applicants, even in a downturn economy. The customer requested our support to investigate why the product was not successful.

After conducting some user research with both internal and external employees, we found that a lot of questions asked in the online form were not applicable to an applicant. We went through an exercise with the users to prioritize and define the key fields they used and we redesigned the user experience based on what the users actually wanted. The result was astonishing. Resumes flooded the human resources department. This was the result of following a user-centered design process.

Madhuri Kolhatkar
Madhuri Kolhatkar, Senior Director

Our program, UX Direct, tells you how to introduce a user-centered design approach into your implementation. You can use our step-by-step design process to add design thinking into your development process. We also provide a useful tool kit and showcase best practices to inform your designs. 

We plan to extend and refine this repository of information and create a community that will change the way enterprise applications are implemented. Check out what our partners and consultants are already saying about UX Direct in VoX, where you will also see new additions to the UX Direct website.

About

Check here for opinions, updates, and events from Oracle's Applications User Experience team: Applications Cloud, E-Business Suite, JD Edwards, Siebel, PeopleSoft, and more.

Misha Vaughan
Misha Vaughan, Director, Applications User Experience
@mishavaughan on Twitter

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