Last week, after singing Bye, Bye to Monochrome UIs, we posted part II of what is to be a rather lengthy series on what makes a good UI, and more importantly, a good UX in a modern Sourcing or Procurement System. (Lengthy in that, after tackling the basics, we are going to dive into all the major components of your average Source to Pay system, and some of these components will require multiple posts on their own!)
In our first post (on What Makes a Good UI) where we noted that the full series is being published over on Spend Matters Pro [membership required], as it is the result of a deep long-term multi-blogger collaboration (led by the doctor and the prophet) and sponsored by Spend Matters, we outlined some of the fundamental requirements of a UI/UX for any Supply Management application which included, but was not limited to, integrated guidance, context awareness, “touch-less” automation, mobile support, and messaging as a competitive advantage.
Then, in Part II, we began our deep dive into what all of this means, starting with “Smart Systems” that drive integrated guidance leveraging new “AI” techniques -— better termed automated reasoning (AR), as software isn’t truly intelligent —- that adapt and learn over time. These systems mix semantic technology, sentiment analysis, key-phrase driven expert systems and other machine learning techniques with history to determine what the user is doing and what the user wants to do and offer appropriate guidance. But that’s just one aspect (and the full Spend Matters Pro article on Smart Systems and Messaging, Chat, and Collaboration also dived into critical MCC aspects among other things.
Yesterday, over on Spend Matters Pro [membership required], the prophet and the doctor released the next part of their UX Series, Advanced Mobile and “Mission Control” Dashboards where we dove deep (and I mean deep, Mariana Trench deep) into two more key requirements of modern Sourcing or Procurement application, namely advanced mobile enablement (which is way more than just e-mail, FYI) and what we are terming “mission control dashboards”.
The real key here is “mission control dashboards”, and not just plain old first generation dashboards (which are very dangerous and dysfunctional) which, if present, should result in the application under consideration being banned for life from your organization.
You see, whereas static first generation dashboards give you useless (and I mean useless) reports (which, at best, show a stoplight indictor with no description or backup data that lulls you in to a false sense of complacency or urgency), a modern mission control dashboard replaces those static widgets with modern fully enabled GUI widgets that allow users to drill down, initiate, and execute relevant actions such as data retrieval, workflow kick-off, or collaborative corrective actions. They can embed “apps” and “portlets” and allow a user to get what they need, and where they need, in 3-clicks, without missing anything important. They are the customizeable interactive views that applications have been missing. But, again, this is only the case for truly modern dashboards. First generation dashboards still belong in the dung-heap. For a truly deep dive into what these are, what they can do, and how they are used, check out the Pro piece [membership required].
P.S. Again, if you are a vendor invited to the Sourcing, SRM, CLM, or Spend Analysis Solution Map, this is a series you do NOT want to miss!