Digital devolution in local authorities - Putting people first

25 November 2015

DJ Adams

DJ Adams

Principal Consultant & Mobile, UX and Development Centre of Excellence Lead

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.

  1. 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
  2. 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.


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About the author

DJ Adams

Principal Consultant & Mobile, UX and Development Centre of Excellence Lead

DJ Adams is a developer, author, speaker & teacher living in Manchester, working as a Principal Consultant here at Bluefin. He also heads up our Mobile, UX and Development Centre of Excellence in the UK.

He has a degree in Latin & Greek (Classics) from the University of London, and despite having been referred to as an alpha geek, can nevertheless tie his own shoelaces and drink beer without spilling it.

He has written two books for O’Reilly (Programming Jabber and Google Pocket Guide), co-written and edited a book on UI5 and is a co-author of the SAP Press book Practical Workflow for SAP (3rd Ed.). His latest book, also for SAP Press, is SAP Fiori and SAPUI5: Debugging the User Interface.

He writes posts on his own weblog, on Language Ramblings, on the SAP Community Network and here on Bluefin's website. He's been hacking on SAP software since 1987.

He is an SAP Mentor, a member of the SAP Mentor Advisory Board, and a member of the SAP Developer Advisory Board. He created one of the first SAP developer communities back in 1995, and co-created the SAP Developer Network (now known as the SAP Community Network) back in 2003.

He's been involved in teaching kids to code, ran a Code Club at his local primary school, ran a centre in Manchester for Young Rewired State, and has been a volunteer at Manchester CoderDojo.

He is married to his theoretical childhood sweetheart Michelle, and has a son, Joseph, of whom he is very proud.

Bluefin and SAP S/4HANA - welcome to the one horse race

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