Oracle Usable Apps | Applications User Experience Simplicity, mobility, extensibility
   
 
Customer Successes: Considering the User in the Design Process
 
Oracle Partner Builds User Experience That Hits Right Note for New Employees

IntraSee, Invesco Implement User-Centered PeopleSoft Onboarding Portal

Teena Singh

Author: Teena Singh, Oracle Applications User Experience




In the enterprise world of user experience, it’s important to make a good first impression. This definitely holds true for enterprise software that onboards or welcomes a new employee. The onboarding experience is critical—it introduces the employee to the corporate culture and sets the stage for the employee’s further engagement with the company. The onboarding process is the organization’s first opportunity to ensure that new employees feel valued and are able to complete their first work tasks in an intuitive and timely manner. The simpler the onboarding experience is, the more quickly the employee can transition from being a new recruit to being a productive, engaged, and happy employee.

 
 

IntraSee’s Approach: Consider the User

Andrew Bediz

Author: Andrew Bediz
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Organizations spend millions on powerful software, but often end up infuriating the very people who use those systems--the users whose buy-in and support are critical for success. If the users don’t like or are frustrated by the new software, you can bet your investment is at risk.

IntraSee’s approach is simple: At every step, consider the user. It is this user-centric approach that flips the ERP model on its head. To provide a total solution, you need the transactions that run the business, but you also need visibility into the full business process and the content that supports that process. For example, if I am enrolling in benefits, I may need to know what other plans are popular with employees or if my doctor is within the network of this new plan. Simply unleashing a new web form for your users does not solve the problem.

For our PeopleSoft customers we have found that the best approach is the combination of a user-centered design strategy, along with a supporting technology strategy – the PeopleSoft Interaction Hub. .The PeopleSoft Interaction Hub serves as a unifying user- experience (UX) and content management layer on top of all applications.

Consider UX as an insurance policy. Lots of hard work goes down the drain if you can’t win the hearts and minds of users.

     
 

Invesco, a global asset management company, understands how critical the onboarding process is and recently decided to take on a project aimed at streamlining this process. Invesco’s vision was to globalize its onboarding process by providing a one-stop shop for new-hires. Invesco partnered with IntraSee, a PeopleSoft and portal solution consultancy, to implement this vision.

IntraSee, a company founded by former PeopleSoft employees Paul Isherwood and Andrew Bediz, specializes in helping companies implement a user-centric technology strategy. Bediz notes: “Today’s users are familiar with the web and have the same expectation out of their business applications. IntraSee’s goal when providing services is to help companies maximize the power of Oracle Applications, while keeping the critical wants and needs of the savvy end user at the forefront of every stage of the design and implementation.”

User interviews and meetings with key stakeholders

Bediz said IntraSee ensures that the needs of the user are considered by doing extensive user-research “homework” and employing user-centered design practices, similar to the ones that the Oracle Applications User Experience team applies in its design cycle. Bediz said IntraSee will typically interview subject matter experts and representative end users to find out where pain points are with existing processes. IntraSee then identifies where users might have abandoned tasks, found workarounds, or required assistance. This background work gives IntraSee insight as it redesigns the user experience to better suit end users.

As a part of the Invesco engagement, IntraSee began by conducting a workshop with Invesco’s key stakeholders across the company, including human resources (HR) business partners, project managers, and business analysts, along with members of the branding and information technology teams. The goal of the workshop was to discuss the identified pain points and to see what Invesco envisioned in the new onboarding solution, in both the short term and long term. Jointly, stakeholders expressed the functionality that they wanted to see included in the system. The stakeholders also noted that they wanted the “look and feel” of the portal to coincide with their corporate branding and said that the new portal should be modern, clean, and meaningful for new employees.

Wireframe
Photo courtesy of IntraSee
A designer at IntraSee works on a wireframe of the new design.

Designing with wireframes

Once IntraSee understood the pain points and desired requirements, Daron Zwink, an IntraSee architect who worked with Invesco, said the company’s designers immediately began to work to wireframe potential solutions. IntraSee designers worked alongside functional experts to build visual “comps” or mock-ups—pictures of what screens would look like, often built in tools like Photoshop. These designs were realistic and detailed the typical onboarding process. IntraSee’s designers used real-world data provided by Invesco’s functional experts in the visual mock-ups.

Zwink said real data helped to ensure that the categories and lists shown in the designs related to the team and focused the feedback on the proper areas. “It’s a way to ensure that realistic and consistent scenarios are represented throughout the various design iterations and [that] there are no surprises at the end of the development cycle,” he said. The teams worked through a couple of iterations until they all agreed on the final design.

Designing best practices and harnessing the power of Oracle Applications

Zwink says an employee accessing a portal application doesn’t want to see “Pay.” The employee wants to see “My Pay,” as it makes it obvious that that individual’s personal data is behind the next click. Therefore, when IntraSee provides consulting, the company recommends that its clients use information labels that are personalized for the end user. IntraSee draws on its solution consulting expertise to provide customers with targeted user experience design recommendations—designs referred to in the user experience industry as heuristics or experience-based best practices.

Additionally, IntraSee also worked closely with Invesco to recommend the categories for checklist items to customers. IntraSee has been through the category creation/sorting process a number of times with different companies and feels that it has a good idea what a user wants to see when shown a list of tasks to complete (in the onboarding process).

Bediz notes, “Because the platform knows who the end user is, we aren’t going to bombard them with irrelevant information, rather we give the users only what they need.” The result of this approach is that best practices are implemented, and the design cycle is shortened for the customer.

Welcome portal
Courtesy of IntraSee
The Welcome portal for new employees includes a personalized to-do list that is updated in real time as the new employee completes onboarding tasks.
Using the new onboarding portal, the employee could view a list of the tasks the employee needed to complete. This list of tasks was retrieved directly from the enterprise resource planning system (ERP). When a user completed a task, such as entering education history, the data was collected real time in the underlying ERP application. This ability to complete the action from the portal, taking action in place, was key to a good user-centered design.

User-centered design helps the bottom line

After Invesco rolled out its onboarding portal, feedback was requested on the onboarding process, including the new design. Surveys were attached to new-hire checklists 30 days and 90 days after they were hired.

The feedback from employees was extremely positive. Zwink said that one new-hire noted, “I had access to the portal immediately and everything was great. It was very easy to use and guided me well to the things that I needed to do.”

The transformation to an integrated portal solution has been a great gain for Invesco. Zwink said HR business partners at Invesco noted that the new portal, with its clean lists and completion indicators, ensures that new employees will not forget an important step in the overall new hire process. Zwink stated that one HR business partner at Invesco said that since the launch of the onboarding portal, he is spending 30 to 50 percent less time explaining systems and the intranet. As a result, human resources personnel at Invesco are devoting more time to strategic initiatives that benefit the organization as a whole.

By using user-centered research methodologies and leveraging the existing power of the ERP, Bediz said Invesco was able to transform its new hire experience to a one-stop shop for new employees. End user analysis, stakeholder meetings, iterative design using real world data, heuristic design principles, and continual design feedback were some of the key research methods used to ensure that the solution that it designed had a superior user experience.

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