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The User Experience journey that led to the new Admin Center


By Emmanuela Rogdaki, Ph.D., User Experience Research, SAP SuccessFactors

Today, the Admin Center brings together several administrative features in one place, providing a consolidated view of admin tools, admin alerts, and insights into system performance and usage data. The admin homepage enables administrators to monitor the performance and usage of the SAP SuccessFactors system, to view log-in and page view data, and access other performance metrics in a dashboard. It also provides a summary of important and recommended upgrades available in the Upgrade Center. These changes have been transformational and very well received by users. But the journey to the new Admin Center was not a short or simple one; months of conducting user research and dozens of design explorations were needed before reaching the final design.

The idea for an admin homepage was the result of customer feedback. Customers were asking for a better admin user experience, as the main tasks admins were performing were previously scattered around the system, forcing them to go to too many different places to do their job. Admins were also lacking an overview of their most relevant tasks.

So the User Experience team started working on a solution that would give admins orientation, overview and guidance about their frequent tasks and help them to access and perform their daily work more effectively.

As a first step, we needed to understand who is doing admin work in SAP SuccessFactors and what these individuals’ most frequent tasks were in order to identify their underlying needs.Early user research helped to identify different admin personas such as the HRIT admin, the data processing admin, or more specialized roles focusing on the administration of very specific processes (e.g.,  HRBPs managing calibration sessions).

Based on this initial understanding, designers came up with paper- based designs which we started to show  to customers. The UX team did more than 10 design explorations and gathered feedback from more than 20 customers from 10 different industries in 4 rounds of user research before reaching the final design.

Here are some examples of refinements and adjustments the team made based on user feedback:

  • Providing personalization options based on user level. We decided to give users the ability to arrange, add or remove tiles after it became clear that the importance of the different tiles varies depending on the admin persona, their responsibilities and the structure of the organization.
  • Making specific information stand out more on the UI. For example, the number of Admin Alerts. This decision was based on feedback that for specific roles like support, it can be beneficial to see at one glance what is going on in the system (e.g. large number of end user queries expected as a consequence of many new hires).
  • Changing terminology to adapt to the language spoken by users. For example, in early concepts the name of the tile “tools” was called “quick access”. After realizing many users did not understand what this meant,  we renamed it.
  • Letting ideas go. Initially we thought it would be a good idea to provide a dedicated area on the admin homepage for users to assign personal tasks to themselves. But users told us this is not something they need, since they are managing tasks very efficiently in other applications (e.g., Outlook).

After the Admin Center was released it was very well received. Users said the tiles make it appear clear and fresh, it provides a good structure and overview, and helps admins to be proactive in their responsibilities. As one user put it “It helps being proactive and seeing errors before users complain about it”.

The Admin Center is a good example of how user research helped to confirm the need for an admin homepage, to achieve a deep understanding of who admin users are, and learn how we could how to add value to their daily work.

(first paper-based design)

(the new Admin Center)