Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Design Thinking For SAP SuccessFactors Solution Architecture

Now a days we have started doing day long design thinking workshops with SAP SuccessFactors customers to help them understand how cloud and OnPremise applications will work together along with their existing business applications.

Rather than present a very complex diagram of the solution to them, we start drawing the picture on a whiteboard in conversation with the customer team. I prompt them to speak about the desired solution and create the picture as they speak. Such a method of constructing the picture while talking to them gives them a clear idea of how we arrived at the solution.

I normally do this on a white board or flip chart. If this is a small team you can do this on paper. It might look something like this.

I drew this while having lunch with a customer.
If you are interested in reading more about doing this for your customers, there is a good book. It is called Back of the Napkin.Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures. If you are an SAP employee, you can order this book from SRM. No approval required.

A word about design thinking.
Some colleagues and even senior executives I have spoken to think that design thinking is about a lot of post-it notes on the wall. Another set of colleagues told me that design thinking is about smart people sitting in a room and thinking to come up with ideas. I think of design thinking as getting out of the building, putting yourself in the shoes of the person for whom you are building the solution and making something to turn abstract ideas into tangible things that people can see, touch, feel, smell and hear. It is about conversation and making things to arrive at solutions. 

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