An Uber for Engineering?

No, this blog is not about transportation for developers. I want to raise the question on how we can establish a direct connection between the end-user and the SAP engineering team. A connection that is as direct, as the Uber app connects drivers with passengers. How can a user – while working in SAP S/4HANA Cloud – share his feedback directly with SAP while using the software?

Providing feedback, while the software is used, allows SAP to capture anonymous, technical usage context, there is no need to explicitly describe that separately by the user, as the context helps to understand the feedback. On top of the captured context, we ask about overall product satisfaction, the usefulness and the usability of application and provide the possibility to enter a free-text comment. At this stage SAP only captures anonymous feedback, being compliant with existing Data Privacy & Protection rules, but we are able to capture the customer system ID and technical parameters.

Product Management evaluates the results on a regular basis. Feedback on product satisfaction, usefulness and usability have a limited absolute value, but help us at SAP to compare the user’s experience in different product areas with each other. So we see applications/systems that receive better or worse feedback relative to each other. Enriched with usage and performance insights this information e.g. helps to better prioritise engineering decisions. Additionally SAP is willing to offer a follow up with customers that provided lots of feedback in case we see exceptional product implementation or training related issues the customer should be aware of. And the additional free text verbal suggestions give the user the opportunity to describe specific details, that a user wants SAP Engineering to know.

Providing feedback today is only possible, when a user clicks the feedback button. What is available today you can find in the Blog “Tell us what you think: Feedback functions in SAP S/4HANA Cloud”. From a scientific perspective this passive approach likely favours a negative bias and prevents us from collecting feedback in focus areas, e.g. where we just added new functionality or where we want to invest into product improvements.

As a first step to become more active in collecting user experiences, in SAP S/4HANA Cloud Edition 2208 we plan to pilot this process for some Fiori applications and will ask few specific questions to help prioritise our investment.  Additionally we also plan to sparkle very few generic questions across all apps, as SAP looks forward to more experience insights from our end-users and to understand if we can increase the quality of our end-user feedback. Of course, we also need to balance these requests to not bother users, but a very short survey of max 3-4 questions could be asked every 4-6 weeks.

Now imagine: Engineering develops more sophisticated functionality and we could actively push specific questions to those first users that already used this specific application multiple times. This mechanism would be as direct as Uber connects the cab driver with the passenger seeking transportation. How much effort was it in the past to identify customers and users that are leveraging new functionality first and that are willing to share their feedback and their requirements? As the cab driver finds passengers that are located close to his position via the Uber app, SAP Engineering can now timely ask important experience questions and quickly leverage this input to prioritise coming enhancements along the feedback given.

As soon as SAP Engineering comes up with a question and can define the appropriate feedback moment, we can actively push the question to be answered. Then this could happen within hours or days, independent of the SAP S/4HANA Cloud schedule.

And we do not want to stop here, actually I can imagine that we will be able to create a more flexible framework, that will allow the configuration of feedback moments in a generic way, which potentially could also reflect customer specific needs. Imagine to push surveys in moments, where we see users struggling with the software. Let’s help to identify also the root cause, is it missing functionality, bad design, or is it related to the specific configuration or lack of user training? Whatever helps to then address the root cause will ultimately increase the value SAP S/4HANA Cloud has for the user and the company behind.

The opportunities to leverage Qualtrics for SAP Product Experience are just unlimited. I am deeply convinced that this approach can really revolutionise the way software is built and constantly improved like Uber revolutionised the taxi business. I have shared what we have developed and where we could go. What is your take on this approach? What next steps are most promising from your perspective?

I would highly welcome a vivid discussion here in this forum and would also look forward to your comments via email to s4hana_product_insights_experience@sap.com