Digital devolution in local authorities - putting people first

| 3 min read

In a couple of weeks' time, Bluefin Solutions is running a one day event on delivering digital devolution in local authorities. If you look closely there's a clear user-centric pattern that is emerging.

A people-centric pattern

Looking at the event location, and the subjects that our guest speakers are going to talk upon, there's a pattern that emerges quite clearly. When you add in the Design Thinking workshops which are part of the day, the pattern becomes almost too obvious to state.

That pattern is people-centricity. All our guest local authority speakers are talking on subjects that have people & their activities first and foremost: "citizen engagement", "mobile", "employee revolution". The digital devolution will be about putting people first. Citizens and staff alike. Hey - staff are citizens too! So we're just talking sets and supersets of people generally, right?

The user experience revolution

It's unlikely to have escaped your notice that the consumerisation of IT has matured into something more tangible, especially in the SAP-flavoured software space. The tired user interface that we know and love, SAPGUI, is being slowly but surely replaced by a renewal of the whole user experience, or "UX", as I talked about earlier this week in my UK & Ireland SAP User Group Conference session "Can I build a Fiori app? Yes you can!".

This renewal has been represented by the arrival of SAP Fiori, that entered the scene in 2013 and since then has gone from strength to strength, not only as a set of apps (that has grown from an initial 25 to over 600 today) but also as a rich collection of standards & best practice approaches. Perhaps most pertinently, however, we see SAP Fiori as being the vanguard, the herald, of a whole new focus on design, on how the user can be best served, and on a surprisingly refreshing "prequel" to the process of building great apps.

The UX prequel

Today, SAP is not your father's, or your mother's SAP. It's not even your grandparents' SAP. It's an organisation with a focus on the person like never before. The user. And in our context, the citizen. SAP's Chief Design Officer (they have a Chief Design Officer!) has championed Design Thinking, driven the Fiori revolution, and with his teams, has spearheaded a new breed of toolset and workflow that kicks in before a single line of user interface code is written.

That toolset and workflow is embodied in SAP's UX-as-a-Service (UXaaS), and can best be contextualised within the Discover - Design - Develop - Deploy diagram that represents what UXaaS covers.

There are two key points here for me and for you.

  • The UX prequel allows us to stop and think about what we really want, what our people really need, to be happy, effective and efficient. This takes place initially in the Discover phase, then the Design phase, with tools such as Splash and BUILD
  • The person outline in the centre of the diagram isn't there by accident. The UX prequel, and the subsequent story of development and deployment, is centred around the person. And that's what, at least for me, Digital Devolution is all about. Putting people first.

Oh, but what about the location of our event, you ask? Well, that's people centric too. Manchester Central Library has undergone a wonderful transformation recently and is now pretty much fully re-opened to the public. A public that can bootstrap itself to better and higher things with the knowledge and community within, as is true for libraries across the country. But you guessed that already, right?

Come along to the library in a couple of weeks and find out more.

Originally published on the Bluefin Solutions website