Improve procurement UX with design thinking
The starting point for improving UX in procurement and bringing more spend under control is to apply design thinking. This means thinking about the use case, the user journey through the digital process, and how the system responds to it. There are three elements to getting this right:
- Embracing personas
- Developing journey maps
- Following the facts
1. Procurement personas
Personas are archetypal users whose goals and characteristics represent the needs of a large group of users. They reveal the behavioral traits, common behaviors, tasks, and interactions of your different users. A persona tells us what motivates or frustrates an individual, what they’re trying to achieve, and their general attitude toward the channel they are using.
Truly understanding a persona involves doing your best to walk a mile in that person’s shoes, asking:
- What is that person’s motivation?
- What knowledge and experience do they have?
- What is their typical day like?
- What do they care about?
- Are they mobile, analog, or web oriented?
2. Journey maps
A journey map is a view of the entire process that a persona goes through to complete a task or objective.
A procurement journey map can start from when a user first thinks they need to buy something, all the way through to payment or the use of the product or service. It attempts to expose the process from the user’s perspective by defining the key moments that matter in that process and what is happening during those moments. Specifically, it should highlight where there are gaps in the current technology or deployment of a particular tool, asking:
- What are those moments that matter?
- What are the high points?
- What are the points of friction?
- What are the points of uncertainty that solutions need to address?
- How do we better navigate a person through those points?
From a procurement perspective, it can raise questions such as:
- Have you tried buying something through your organization’s processes?
- How do users find out which systems to use for purchases?
- Are policies clearly written and easy to find?
- Where do requisitions typically get held up?
3. Follow the facts
Creating personas and journey maps may seem straightforward, but doing it properly requires research and fact-based decision-making. This is the hardest part of the process.
As you go through the design thinking process, some key questions to ask include:
- Do we know which personas are important?
- What information do we need to truly understand those personas?
- Are the journey maps we have built reflective of the typical user experience?
- Do we have enough information to identify the key moments of truth?
Plenty of material exists online to research the methods that facilitate this discovery and investigation. Service providers such as Genpact are useful sources of expertise as well.