Enterprise-grade software has a bad reputation for being bulky and inadequate for the growing demands of a “smarter” economy. I designed and co-authored usability requirements for the present and future experience of a new OS environment that bridges the gap between users and data around the supply chain.
This global enterprise software company was looking to update its product strategy to keep up with newer, cloud-based SaaS providers.
Prior to this effort, the company’s legacy product offering was incompatible at worst and fragmented at best — customers hated having to log in to multiple products from a single provider and needed access to more data at a time. This operating system experience, also called the portal, needed to provide a single client-facing interface to surface all of the capabilities and information offered within a tenant’s suite.
Early sketches of application interactions and navigation patterns
Because this experience would span across multiple ERPs, industries, and user roles, our personas focused on how users needed to do work rather than what they needed to do. The leadership team and I identified three user types required either a micro, medium-level, or macro view of data. The interface and data needed to be modular to provide a “zoomed in” or “zoomed out” view of the tenant environment depending on the persona. In the long term, we wanted to blur the lines between applications and allow for any data or task to be pulled into the users workspace at any time.
For the MVP, I architected a shell-like structure for the operating system to provide navigation arount the user’s environment and deliver insights from data being entered within the tenant. Applications or role-based dashboards populate inside of this shell as tabs. Whenever necessary, the OS can deliver real-time data to a user as they work through a contextual panel on the side.
Other OS-level features live in the panel as well, including the notification inbox and digital assistant.
In the long term, users will be able to open, use, and save content side by side for an even smarter, more personalized workflow. Until then, the above experience will be available to select customers in December 2022, after three years of research and development. It's been a pleasure to see this project through from the beginning to beyond!