How did this global software vendor start working better and much more productively?

Case Study hero of laptop showing message notifications

The Challenge

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software giant SAP is renowned for supporting the everyday operation for thousands of businesses around the world. So it’s always looking for ways to improve its enterprise software and stay a step ahead of its market rivals.

SAP understands that businesses offering the best software are those best equipped to take advantage of, and protect themselves against, the ever-changing needs of customers.

Yet SAP faced a challenge. How could it do more to support adaptive, dynamic working? Specifically, how could it use the typically high number of notifications in its software as a force for productivity, rather than a distraction that drains concentration and performance?

Approach

We worked alongside SAP to pioneer new ways of creating software that could learn how users work best. Not only learn but also solve issues related to productivity through tailored, personalized experiences.

Our research revealed that notifications distract workers. They take people away from the task at hand and require people to regain focus. Even these small instances add up to a dramatic loss in daily workforce productivity.

So we looked at how particular notifications related to specific user groups – end users, business users, and developers. We discovered that the usefulness of a notification was determined by the complex relationship between what the user is doing and what the notification was actually about.

To create a product for individualized notifications, we needed to use Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning techniques. Our Machine Learning model captured data, which we then used to determine each user’s response to specific types of notifications.

After building the ML model, we were able to predict an individual user’s behavior when receiving different notifications and then use the same model to prioritize the notifications that the user found useful.

I really feel like we are kindred spirits in innovation. Working directly with Emergn colleagues brought home to me just how essential it is that enterprise innovation needs a fun, intelligent, and forward-thinking group of great minds who get along, can bounce ideas off each other without fear, but who all share a common vision and desire to use software, data, and science to create amazing experiences that help support people to get their work done better.

Philip Miseldine, Director of Innovation, SAP

Our impact

Our collaboration and research with SAP enabled its Business ByDesign platform to become the central hub for notifications. And not just from SAP but from other systems too.

Our combined ML expertise and business process understanding allowed us to build a notification model that actually increases productivity. All through allowing systems to learn more about users’ preferences and working styles.

The SAP platform gives users optimized, prioritized, and non-disruptive notifications so they’re not distracted from their activities.

Yet notifications are just the start. SAP can also use this approach to creating software that learns more about the user. Such as the data points individuals need for making decisions and then prioritizing these and personalizing business-critical information so SAP users can continue to enjoy a seamless experience.

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