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Who's Using Our Product? A Story of Enterprise UX Research

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In the world of continuous improvement, there is a concept called ‘gemba’ – or the personal observation of real work happening in its real place. Within the oft-maligned enterprise software design space, accessing actual end-users can be extremely difficult... figuring out who's using our product can be seemingly impossible!

As a user researcher, how do you gain an understanding of the current product and inform future design decisions? How do you navigate your way to meaningful insights?

Within our own user research team at Intralinks, we have been figuring out ways to unlock access to the end-users of our enterprise file-sharing product. It has proved far more challenging than we expected.

Here we aim to go beyond a list of cliché lessons by sharing our practical and tactical steps to: identifying customer ‘ownership,’ gaining access to customer information, gauging customer temperament, accounting for product strategy, accelerating learning, and more.

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Who's Using Our Product? A Story of Enterprise UX Research

  1. 1. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Who's Using Our Products? Mike Flynn Product & User Researcher Intralinks @mike_flynn A Story of Enterprise UX Research
  2. 2. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Enterprise applications often deliver less than desirable experiences.
  3. 3. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey UX research & design activities with both current and potential users could help reverse that issue.
  4. 4. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Assumption: Enterprises have easy, direct access to current users for research & design activities.
  5. 5. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Reality: Many enterprise product teams find it extremely challenging to access the people already using their products.
  6. 6. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Leads teams to take greater risks when building products—perpetuates solutions that are less effective (and less enjoyable).
  7. 7. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Perpetuates the status quo.
  8. 8. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey How might we enroll current users in the enterprise research & design process?
  9. 9. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Teams can “map” their way to the people using their enterprise products.
  10. 10. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Holy Cross Bentley University PTC Verizon IntraLinks SN PHBSDP 2000 2016 ? 2013 Startup Institute Babson College Babson College About Me Human Factors in Information Design MBA
  11. 11. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey About Mapping to Enterprise Users 1. Enterprise Buying Process Buyers vs. Users 2. Concept of “Gemba” Where the work happens 3. Building a Map to Enterprise Users Paths & Lessons Learned
  12. 12. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Enterprise Buyers vs. Users • Within an enterprise, there are multiple end users • Who do you need (want) to enroll? Source: “Major Sales: Who Really Does the Buying?” by Thomas V. Bonoma
  13. 13. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Concept of Gemba • Gemba: A gemba walk is the term used to describe personal observation of work – where the work is happening. The original Japanese term comes from gembutsu, which means “real thing.” It also sometimes refers to the “real place.” Source: https://www.isixsigma.com/methodology/lean-methodology/many-sides-gemba-walk/
  14. 14. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Where the Work Happens? • The concept of gemba stresses: • In-person observation • Where the work is being done • With the people and process in a spirit of Kaizen (“change for the better”) Source: https://www.isixsigma.com/methodology/lean-methodology/many-sides-gemba-walk/
  15. 15. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey How do we identify our users? How do we get to gemba?
  16. 16. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey (Problem!) Reality: Many enterprise product teams find it extremely challenging to enroll current users in the research & design process.
  17. 17. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Step 1: Get Introduced
  18. 18. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Sales Team Introductions Benefits • Already contact customers! • Insight into ‘friendly’ contacts • Opportunity for sales to start new conversations Challenges • Protective of customer interactions • Alignment (contacts, incentives) • Clearly articulating your ask • Time Project Example: Discovery Interviews
  19. 19. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Tips: How to Get to Gemba • Get feedback on your ask (reasonable?) • Start small (a few people, gain trust) • Be willing to work on their schedule • Involve the team in the research (e.g., interview guide, accompany in research)
  20. 20. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Step 2: Discover in Real-World
  21. 21. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Strategy from Product Mgmt. Benefits • Product management provides direction on who you are building products for and why! • Insight into most important people using product • Connections within your company Challenges • Don’t always have direct access to customers • Product strategies change— thus users change • Discovering in real-world risks time, accuracy Project Example: Product Design Personas (Interviews)
  22. 22. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Tips: How to Get to Gemba • Enroll product managers in the mapping process; as early and often as possible! • Dive deep into secondary research to inform discovery process (e.g., job titles, surveys, directional definitions) • Be willing to miss the mark—and try again
  23. 23. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Step 3: Raise of Hands
  24. 24. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Enable Users to Volunteer Benefits • Customer Success team invested in improving the product experience • Interact with people using your products • Process in-place to engage customers (e.g., surveys) Challenges • Finding the right system to use (e.g., existing vs. new survey, intercept in product) • Motivators to sign-up • Potential filter for ‘loudest voice in the room’ Project Example: Research Program (Online Form)
  25. 25. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Tips: How to Get to Gemba • Have a back-up plan for your back-up plan; multiple process / technology options • Make a compelling case to sign-up for product research program • Make it easy for users to say yes (simple sign-up) • Make it easy to get started on your side (e.g., spreadsheet)
  26. 26. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Step 4: Listen from Afar
  27. 27. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Observations with Tech Support Benefits • Real issues, real people • Tech support invested in improving the product experience • People calling seeking change for the better Challenges • Logistics (technical, legal) • Lack-luster listening period; similar issues, few issues • Potentially cranky! Project Example: Support Project (Live Calls)
  28. 28. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Tips: How to Get to Gemba • Advocate for the process and approach of UX research & design • Share empathy for all involved in the support process (i.e., care about your colleagues as well)
  29. 29. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Step 5: Make Educated Guesses
  30. 30. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Uncover Internal Knowledge Benefits • Business Analytics team has access to customer account info (e.g., contract value) • Skills to parse and present data sets Challenges • Don’t interact with customers • Data sets may need to be cleaned • Restrictions on use of data Project Example: Getting to Gemba! (Asking for Help)
  31. 31. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Tips: How to Get to Gemba • Clarify how you will (or will not) use the data • Be patient (systems, data sources, people) • Consider how you can use information to segment users for research & design purposes
  32. 32. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Step 6: Try to Meet Them
  33. 33. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Roadtrips with Field Marketing Benefits • Company relevant events identified • Physical space (e.g., booth) • Potential research program enrollment (e.g., business card) Challenges • Events may not align with research projects • May not want to add to existing outreach programs • Often biased towards sales efforts (e.g., leads) Project Example: Industry Conference (Concept Validation)
  34. 34. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Tips: How to Get to Gemba • Identify events already planned • Investigate audiences for the planned events • Try to schedule appointments ahead of the event • Have realistic expectations (timelines, logistics) • Stay on the radar (lost in organized chaos)
  35. 35. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Step 7: Reach Out!
  36. 36. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Outreach with Product Marketing Benefits • Already communicating with customers • Value the customer- focused storyline of UX Research • Systems already in place (e.g., email campaigns) Challenges • May not want to add to existing outreach programs • Often biased towards sales efforts (e.g., leads, renewals) • Formal processes for accessing or using systems Project Example: Contact Management (Online Survey)
  37. 37. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Tips: How to Get to Gemba • Pursue access (and permissions) for user lists • Explore opportunities to use / learn from existing company communications • Consider impact of leveraging marketing vs. end user segments • Stay on brand—but differentiate purpose of UX Research
  38. 38. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Sales Get Introduced Getting to Gemba Business Analytics Product Marketing Field Marketing Tech Support Customer Success Discover in Real World Raise of HandsListen from Afar Product Mgmt. Make Educated Guesses Try to Meet Them Reach Out!
  39. 39. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Individually, each step helps you better understand specific scenarios…
  40. 40. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Collectively, these steps help you pursue the real work.
  41. 41. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Get to gemba!
  42. 42. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: http://www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=/270 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey Questions?

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