Putting the Customer Back in the Center of SOA with Service Design and User-Centered Design

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This article introduces a methodology used for designing the online presence of a Swiss SME providing Cloud Services. The Web application used for the purchasing and administration, backed by a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), has been designed to be customer-centric using a combination of different techniques borrowed from the fields of ethnomethodology, service design and user-centered design. The tools employed include service blueprint design and affinity diagram analysis followed by prototyping and subsequent usability evaluation. This collaborative methodology explained with the help of the applied research project use case is seen to yield excellent results in terms of customer-orientation.

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Putting the Customer Back in the Center of SOA with Service Design and User-Centered Design

  1. 1. Institute of Information Systems @hevs.ch Techno-Pôle 3 – CH-3960 Sierre Putting the Customer Back in the Center of SOA with Service Design and User-Centered Design Arnita Saini, Benjamin Nanchen and Florian Evequoz Benjamin Nanchen benjamin.nanchen
  2. 2. Plan • Context of work • The project INFOPLACE 1. Data gathering through Ethnomethodology 2. Data Interpretation 3. Designing from Insights 4. Prototype Implementation and Usability Evaluation • Discussion and conclusions 2
  3. 3. Context of work
  4. 4. An applied research project • One company – One problem – Krios: A ten-year old Swiss company active in the Cloud Computing – The products portfolio and its organization • Each particular product is organized as an independent silo • A solution – INFOPLACE – Adoption of a SOA framework to tackle the backend complexity – Design of a web application (INFOPLACE) to reduce the frontend complexity • Our contribution – Design of the INFOPLACE and its link to the SOA • Development of a web customer service (ex. sales system) 4
  5. 5. • Team – Prof. Florian Evéquoz: Project leader – Arnita Saini: User-centered design – François Morard: Software engineer – Benjamin Nanchen: Service design • Methodology Compe tor Analysis Customer interviews Immersion in company Affinity Diagrams Service Blueprint Wireframing Informa on Architecture Prototype Usability Evalua on DATA GATHERING DATA INTERPRETATION DESIGN FROM INSIGHTS PROTOTYPE AND EVALUATION An applied research project 5
  6. 6. How to align user’s need with SOA? • Initial goals – Engineering an SOA and a web customer’s service • Lack of the SOA – Approaches for engineering an SOA do not typically include customers • The concept of service – Business service exposed to customers OR small software component • An interdisciplinary methodology – Originality of our work • The mix of user-centered design and service design to explicitly align the needs of customers with the SOA. 6
  7. 7. The project INFOPLACE 1. Data gathering through Ethnomethodology Compe tor Analysis Customer interviews Immersion in company Affinity Diagrams Service Blueprint Wireframing Informa on Architecture Prototype Usability Evalua on DATA GATHERING DATA INTERPRETATION DESIGN FROM INSIGHTS PROTOTYPE AND EVALUATION
  8. 8. Competitors Interface Analysis • 4 competitors – Amazon, Office 365, Swisscom, Infomaniak • Protocol – Visiting, purchasing and customizing • Heuristic Evaluation – Identify the usability strengths and weaknesses • Results – List of best practices in the domain • Customer orientation (ex. sales) • Usual places for standard actions (ex. logout) 8
  9. 9. Semi-Structured Interviews • 8 participants – 5 customers, 1 collaborators, 2 managers • Topics – General context of work – Experience of Krios services – Quality of services – General questions • Results – Customer’s expectations • Main requests (ex. purchase of a service) • Quality of services (ex. helpdesk) 9
  10. 10. Immersion work at Krios • Visit of Krios during working days – 3 members of the project team – Observation and film • Topics – Typical everyday work • Results – Back office’s constraints • Support process (phone call or email) • Lack of traceability • Administrative work 10
  11. 11. The project INFOPLACE 2. Data Interpretation Compe tor Analysis Customer interviews Immersion in company Affinity Diagrams Service Blueprint Wireframing Informa on Architecture Prototype Usability Evalua on DATA GATHERING DATA INTERPRETATION DESIGN FROM INSIGHTS PROTOTYPE AND EVALUATION
  12. 12. Affinity Diagrams • Goal – Consolidation of raw data • Technique – Write each finding on a post-it – Organize it in different categories during team session Raw data Consolidation 12
  13. 13. Main outcomes • Simplicity in design – Implementation of wizards • Assist customer in purchasing and consuming services • Key functionalities for INFOPLACE – Service purchase – Account creation or removal – Modify user data – Permission change • Clarification of Krios’s business – Hosting – Software as a Service – Customer service (help desk) 13
  14. 14. The project INFOPLACE 3. Designing from Insights Compe tor Analysis Customer interviews Immersion in company Affinity Diagrams Service Blueprint Wireframing Informa on Architecture Prototype Usability Evalua on DATA GATHERING DATA INTERPRETATION DESIGN FROM INSIGHTS PROTOTYPE AND EVALUATION
  15. 15. Service Blueprint • Goal (from the customer’s point of view) – Capture the entire customer service experience – Distinguish visible activities (onstage) from support activities (backstage) • Five steps – Customer actions – Onstage/Visible Contact Employee Actions – Backstage/Invisible Contact Employee Actions – Support Processes • Indicate the role of the underlying IT system • A direct link between the needs of the customer and the SOA – Physical Evidence • The customer evaluates the quality of service 15
  16. 16. Service Blueprint 16
  17. 17. Wireframing • Goal – Drawing the application without programming • Use of service blueprint’s results – Physical evidences, Customer actions and On-stage features • Creation of wizards – Customer’s needs 17
  18. 18. Information Architecture • Goal – Organization of the content • Use of service blueprint’s results – Customer’s actions • Task – Support process • Function – Physical evidences • Navigational path • Navigational path for purchase – Home screen > Purchase option > Wizard > Home screen 18
  19. 19. The project INFOPLACE 4. Prototype Implementation and Usability Evaluation Compe tor Analysis Customer interviews Immersion in company Affinity Diagrams Service Blueprint Wireframing Informa on Architecture Prototype Usability Evalua on DATA GATHERING DATA INTERPRETATION DESIGN FROM INSIGHTS PROTOTYPE AND EVALUATION
  20. 20. Prototype Implementation • Visual design of INFOPLACE – Based on wireframe – Combination with the layout of Krios website in order to retain consistency 20
  21. 21. Usability Evaluation • Methodology – Five usability experts – Use of Nielsen’s heuristics • Results – Most severe problems • Place of standards functionalities (ex. logout) • Enlargement of the resolution • Suppression of gridview • Differentiation of services to buy and services to manage • Conclusion – Correction of the most severe problems prior to release of INFOPLACE 21
  22. 22. Next steps • Krios – Implementation of the solution – Connected INFOPLACE with their SOA • HES-SO Valais-Wallis – Follow up study • Iterative design process 22
  23. 23. Discussion and Conclusions
  24. 24. Taking the best of each methodology • Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) – Facilitation of scalability, availability and performance of service • User Centered Design (UCD) – Help to be aware of the desires and needs of users • Ethnomethodology – Organization of the content and prototype • Wireframing, Information Architecture • Service Design – Customer-oriented focus • Ethnomethodology – Understanding customer-oriented processes and links to the underlying systems • Service blueprint 24
  25. 25. An interdisciplinary methodology • Strengths – Participation among team members – Dynamic process of work – Inputs from the different skills and expertise within the team Effects on business level • Clarification of the Krios’s business – 3 categories of services (hosting, SaaS, help desk) • Simplifying their products portfolio – Reducing their products list – Providing pre-configured packages with appropriate pricing – Hiding details of parameterization of services 25
  26. 26. Thank you for your attention!

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