I just got the new Microsoft Dynamics Customer model poster hung in my office this week. This is more than just another poster for us. It’s been the catalyst for real cultural change throughout the organization driven by the awesome initiative of our UX team.
The customer model is the repository for all information and research regarding processes and people; it is a shared resource that is used to ensure that we are focusing on a common set of people and processes. Our development teams use it for everyday tasks within our product cycle. It’s the common language that helps us with our user experience and features design. It also helps us do prioritization and decide on what features are in or out, because we want to consider the completeness of features for a given “role” and “process”.
The model is powered by an ongoing body of primary research. We have to date done 1400+ interviews and observations of real users including 280 site visits. The model today spans 61 roles, 5 departments, 15 organization charts, and 155 processes that make up 33 business process groups.
One of the more salient points of impact is that it has helped us factor “process” complexity based on size and business need. For example when you design “paying supplier” process in a small organization, Annie (a persona in our customer model) does all the tasks. Whereas when designing the same process for a larger organization, we need to coordinate the process flow across April (AP), Arnie (AR), Phyllis (Accounting Mgr), and Ken (Controller).
We have started to include the customer model in our implementation methodologies and believe that it something that can be extended by the community for any given specific deployment. Our goal would be for each organization using Dynamics to have a “poster” that was a real living model of their people and processes (and this will be something we generate from the software “models” we capture).