Our Approach

A Combined Methodology to Build Scalable Solutions

SAP’s Human-Centered Approach to Innovation starts with Design Thinking, empathizing with the end user to discover their true needs. As we design and iterate, we combine Design Thinking with Architecture Thinking to create a solution that is experientially desirable, technologically feasible, and financially viable.

Combined Approach

The interplay between Design Thinking and Architecture Thinking allows you to hit the sweet spot between great user experience and business value. Furthermore, such interplay prioritizes scalability to future-proof current technologies.

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One Team, Two Mindsets

The power of the combined methodology comes from connecting the user journeys defined from Design Thinking to backend systems, supporting processes and data to deliver the desired experience.

To understand how the combined methodology can be applied in a real project, let’s look at an example scenario.

Margo, a business executive at a manufacturing company and her team follow a Human-Centered Approach to Innovation. Part of their company’s strategy is to quickly deploy capital for business initiatives and projects. Margo’s team is composed of Susan, a UX designer, Theo, a Design Thinking expert, and Jenny, an enterprise architect. Together, they integrate Design Thinking with Architecture Thinking to make fast and effective capital deployment capabilities a reality.

Design Thinking

Design Thinking uses insights from user research to find the right problems to solve and deliver real business value.

Architecture Thinking

Architecture Thinking uses the data, processes and system components to assess how the solution will be scaled from both technology and business perspectives.

Explore

Exploring Innovation Opportunities

Theo, the Design Thinking expert, conducts a collaborative session with stakeholders to discover the main business challenges and opportunities around capital deployment. The team defines budget requests and approval processes as a bottleneck for executing on their growth strategy.

Understanding the Strategic Drivers

Jenny, the enterprise architect, outlines the business impact of an improved budget request and approval process. She defines an engagement model with the stakeholders and outlines the scope as well as roles and responsibilities.

Discover

Gaining Insights From Research

Susan, the UX designer, conducts user interviews and discovers that decision makers who approve budget requests lack the necessary overview and information to react on time. This results in delays to evaluate, approve, and release money to business development projects.

Understanding the As-Is Architecture

Jenny identifies the architecture’s existing applications and IT components. She then creates a Baseline Solution Architecture Diagram, outlining the elements relevant to the budget request and approval application.

Design

Designing a Prototype of the Future Solution

The team defines the future user journey and designs a solution that addresses the discovered challenges. They leverage brainstorming and prototyping methods to create something tangible to validate.

Define the To-Be Architecture

Jenny creates a solution context, summarizing the business capabilities required by the future solution and the organizational units, roles, and business functions that interact with the solution architecture.

The team maps the user actions described in the future user journey to technical aspects such as the data and applications that are required by user actions.

The team validates the designs with target users. Based on the insights gathered during the validation, they iterate the designs to reach the desired outcome.

Jenny creates a series of architecture artifacts and defines a target architecture .

Deliver

Deliver the Final Product and Future Direction

Margo’s team works together with development teams to implement the solution. They start with a user story mapping session to define the minimum viable product and the features that should be added to the backlog.

Create a Roadmap and Assess Risk

Jenny creates an architecture roadmap that lists individual actions to realize the target architecture. She assembles these into a timeline to indicate the progression from the baseline architecture to the target architecture.

Run and Scale

Get Feedback and Optimize

Margo’s team receives feedback from the business and works together with the development team to improve the solution.

Implement and Operate

In preparation for implementing the budget request and approval solution, Jenny outlines the license and implementation efforts based on the work packages and phases defined in the Architecture Roadmap.

Featured Methods and Learning Resources

An Enterprise Architect’s View on SAP Business Technology Platform

Explore SAP Business Technology Platform from the perspective of an enterprise architect and learn how to apply an architecture development method to put technology in the context of business requirements. The three-part course is available on the openSAP learning platform. Register now and find out how to implement innovation into business.
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From Designing for Efficiencies to Designing for Intelligence

"The key to become a great enterprise architect is not to have the right answers. Instead, it is about knowing the right questions to ask". Read the blog article about an enterprise architect's journey to creative thinking by our colleague Laura Mendoza.
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Scenes Tool

Scenes

A tool to create visual stories about product and service ideas fast, collaboratively and iteratively, no drawing skills required.
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