Infor/Hook & Loop
Role: Product Lead (Strategy & Execution)
It was April 2017, and I had just inherited the newly minted VP of Experience Design's previous Customer Experience team. A team of designers who had until then been only focused on updating the UI of a 20 year old CRM solution that had been acquired by Infor two years prior. I connected with them to learn about the product, our extended team (product and dev), and the challenges they faced in being able to deliver a feasible, market-viable, customer-approved product experience design.
In about a week, it was evident to me that the product team was inundated with a laundry list of new features to develop before the organization's major conference (Inforum) and had lost sight of the market, competitive products, advancements in technology, and most importantly their users. On top of that, the development team had four different environments for the multiple different efforts they had going with user experience enhancements, integrations, mobile accessibility, and translations with no eventual product merge in sight. This situation had left my design team in a sticky spot to deliver a consistent, robust, and responsive design that would evolve Infor CRM for Inforum and beyond.
As for me...
STEP 1: MARKET RESEARCH
Discovering Product Viability
Often the strategy of organizations is to replicate the success and solution another successful company is presenting. Similarly, I was hearing from many executives to do "what Salesforce is doing".
Let's just say I took a different route. My team and I did extensive research on the CRM product space looking into the size of organization or industry other CRM tools were specifically targeting. We dived into the details of what the product offered, evaluated that, and established where we saw a particular opportunity to improve and position our product for current/potential customers.
STEP 2: INTERNAL USER RESEARCH
Something important to keep in mind is that every organization caters to a different demographic; Infor is no different. Our users have the option of moving to a new CRM solution at any time, it's important to identify why they haven't yet and what would retain them as customers if they were considering the change now.
Unfortunately, I had no access to external Infor CRM users; however, what I did have at my disposal was an Infor salesforce that had recently replaced Salesforce with Infor CRM.
Outcome: Our salesforce had not adopted their new tool, opted to just use stickies and excel, and had other challenges that did not make them an ideal user for our user research.
STEP 3: PRESUMPTIVE MOBILE DESIGN
June 2017, Inforum was around the corner, our team needed to show something, and it was the perfect opportunity to do some customer research.
Based on our market research and limited internal user research, I decided that our team would work on a mobile design prototype of CRM for Inforum.
Luckily, with the mobile prototype as a prop - we were able to recruit users for impromptu exploratory user research and further develop relationships for usability testing.
Post-Inforum research was a success - we had insights from resellers, customers, and end-users. Overall, there were two major takeaways:
1) Users expected task efficiency
2) Field sales needed to access information stored on the product at all times.
STEP 4: ALIGNING PRODUCT & DEV
We had research to support our assumptions, but needed to align with product on a strategy that would inform the development process.
After a few weeks of aligning stakeholders and agreeing on an approach we had our game plan.
CRM would be redeveloped on a new platform that supported cloud multi-tenancy. The design team would focus on one main user, field sales, and design a responsive web solution that would reevaluate flows to optimize for task efficiency.
STEP 5: DESIGN APPROACH
Redesigning an entire enterprise software solution for development on a completely new platform can take years. The question for design was, how can we reimagine the workflows and design a new solution that can be developed fast?
Our team focused first on creating process flows and then discovered patterns across the flows. This made it easy for us to recognize that if we designed a few reusable patterns across the software, it could potentially be possible to minimize the front-end development effort required.
Within 3 months, we were able to design reusable responsive patterns that could be applied across CRM.
INFOR CRM IN THE NEWS
INFOR NAMED A LEADER IN NUCLEUS RESEARCH CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT VALUE MATRIX
"Leaders in the CRM Value Matrix for the first half of 2018 are augmenting functionality with more embedded analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), and advancing usability both on the desktop and mobile devices."
INFOR INNOVATION ANALYST SUMMIT 2018: I TOTALLY GET IT AND YET, I DON'T SEE IT
"The UI and UX have been overhauled with Infor's/Hook & Loop's signature interfaces and excellent navigation -- making an enterprise grade portfolio arguably easier to use than any similar product that has this industrial strength."
A product story never ends...
CONCLUSION & NEXT STEPS
April 2018 marks the debut of a new Infor CRM in beta on a multi-tenant cloud platform. Our design solution meets the need for our current customers; however, as product designers we need to predict the future.
In November 2017, my team started simultaneously working on setting the vision for the future of CRM and empowering the modern salesforce. Learn about how we envision using innovation through native applications to push the envelope for Infor CRM.