B2G (ERP SaaS) - Desktop & Mobile App
Legacy, Redesign, Redefine
Mahfuzi Akbar (UI Designer)
Mindha Ningrum (UI Designer)
Prestisa Amelina (UX Writer)
Aji Maulidio (UI Designer)
In early 2020 when I was working at Alterra Indonesia, I was in charge of PDAM Pintar, a product for Regional Drinking Water Company (or PDAM in Indonesian). At that time, Alterra just acquired PT. Bima Sakti with PDAM Pintar as its main product. The product is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) that consists of 11 Desktop App (.Net based), 1 Web App, and 3 Android Mobile App. In total, the team was working on 12 different products or we called “Module”. All the products are integrated with PDAM’s end-to-end system, from the front office where the customer has to pay the water bill payment to the back office like HR-things and warehouse.
PDAM Pintar helps digitize the system & workflow for all PDAM across the city all over Indonesia and helps them to be more transparent in terms of budget and the policy as well.
The designs themselves, are mostly a dashboard to help the PDAM’s staffs collaborate & work better, PDAM Pintar also has a bill payment app for PDAM customers and Dashboard Web App to help the PDAM executives monitor the high-level things.
PDAM Pintar aims to be the leading solution provider with the largest market share for Indonesian PDAMs in digitizing their business processes and billing.
The long-term vision is to make the PDAM Pintar software system delivered on-demand over a network as a SaaS product, when everything is connected to each other there will be no manual process.
What The Design Team Should Do
To support the vision, the main focus was to deploy the product in the cloud and add support for online integration. The implementation at that moment was a pain in the ass, if we can make it simpler and onboard more users easily then we get closer to the vision.
As a design team, we need to assess the existing product, define the user pain points & needs, and validate the problem statement from stakeholders. After that, we can prioritize the goal and translate it into the design solution.
Responsibility as Design Lead
As a design lead my roles are;
1. Have taken UX ownership and influence the team member to take the ownership as well
2. Scoping down the projects and manpower
3. Present the design outcomes to stakeholders
4. Working closely with the product manager and development team
5. Create a roadmap from the very beginning and define the expected outcomes
6. Make sure the roadmap is still achievable and aligns with the company’s visions & team OKR’s
7. Supervise the design, copy and research outcomes
8. Mentoring and motivating the team members
9. Always learn and improve the design outcomes and workflow
10. Hands-on on some parts to increase the manpower and deliver the design output ontime
This is the workflow that I made and applied at the moment
No Designer in The Past 8 Years
The first time the team & I got assigned to help scale up the product, we were like.. surprised... with the design. It was like we were back in the 90s, when DOS was exist. Not only the looks, the flow was also... can I say, crazy ?. The UXs are hard to understand and follow when we tried the product for the first time. But, yeah finally we understood why there was no designer back then. A bunch of developers built it over time, no wonder the flow was messy.
Custom-Made Product for Almost 69 PDAMs
The deeper we dug.. the more we knew. And, we found the Narnia closet there ? Actually, each PDAM had a custom-made package. It was so hard to make them integrated with the cloud and design-wise, did we need to audit them all?? The vision was to build the SaaS product, but could we?
Not only the design & the tech but also the business model is custom. Different PDAMs with a different subscription fee. It was crazy, we need to map it out.
Different Area, Different Infrastructures & Resources
Digital products require some kind of infrastructure that suits their needs. The first & the foremost is the internet, the stability & the network. In the case of PDAM Pintar, apart from the internet, qualified devices, servers, and an internal IT team are also needed. Unfortunately, not all PDAMs in Indonesia have a good infrastructure or are in accordance with the PDAM Pintar’s specs. This is very challenging because as a design team, we have to design a product that can work in various areas, including areas with minimal infrastructure.
Non-Tech Savvy Users
We should deal with the non-tech savvy users, they usually use Windows as an operating system, but surprisingly, some still use the 2000s edition of Windows. Previously, they needed about 3 months for the onboard process until they could use the PDAM Pintar apps. This onboard process is carried out with the product demos and 1 on 1 training. As a design team, our challenge is how to make the onboarding process more efficient and faster, without having to go to every single PDAM in a different area and do training. As well as how to approach this kind of user.
The Design Process
The higher-ups keep mentioning redesign, but before jumping into the redesign thingy, the design team tried to look back and map the current conditions. Which ones are good and ones that not. We tried to zoom in & zoom out and came up with an approach. It looked like we need to use the Design Thinking approach before we decide whether we need to redesign or not.
I personally was thinking that the solution maybe will not solve only with the redesign. Yes, I was down to redesign because it will be easier for the design team, but when we tried to look back, we had an assumption like, maybe redesign would add more problems if we don’t know the real core problem here. We have to dig deeper, especially because PDAM Pintar is a product that has been used by its users for a long time. So this is the process that we went through;
For the first stage, we focused on Emphatize and Define to understand the context and the past issues, since this is a legacy product.
We hold a one on one interviews that follow a preset selection of questions prompting the user to describe their interactions, thoughts, and feelings related to PDAM Pintar’s product and service, and the work environment as well. We got the sample from our data then we held the interview in each PDAM office around Indonesia. I can’t show the sample and interview questions here due to the company’s policy.
Focus Group Discussion
We also had a participatory group meeting that are led through a discussion and activities to gather data on PDAM Pintar’s products and services.
We follow the life of PDAM staffs to capture user behaviors, activities, and experiences when using PDAM Pintar & how they live their daily life.
The Observation Results (Empathy Maps & User Personas)
We had empathy maps that help us empathize and synthesize our observations from the research phase, and draw out unexpected insights about our user’s needs.
We make the empathy maps one by one for all user samples. I can share the example below;
After we had so many insights from empathy maps, know our users are, their needs, behaviors, goal, and basically everything about the users. Next is the user persona. We need user personas to guide our ideation process, achieve our goal of creating a good user experience, communicate the insights from user research, and the most important is to help us clarify actual user priorities over the stakeholders’ personal wish list.
These are our steps to define user persona;
1. Synthesize data from empathy maps and interview recaps.
2. Define user groups based on empathy maps
3. Use Proto Personas as a hypothesis
4. Define the final number of personas and chose a Role-Based Personas perspective
5. Describe the personas
This is our final user persona (PDAM Staff – Hublang Division);
Define Problem Statements
Overwhelmed with insights, we needed to start prioritizing to form a strategy. 3 steps that we took in this phase;
1. Understand the key pain points, wants, and needs
2. Classify all insights gathered
3. Present our synthesis to stakeholders
Actually, we had 11 problem statements with severity 4, we need to solve those 11 immediately. Here, I’ll show the top 3 problem statements here. We treat these problem statements as a UX recommendations and present them to the stakeholders. Here are some of them;
1. Users need a report that matches the auditor’s format, it will help them to compile the report at the end of the year and they aren’t required to create the report manually or from scratch.
2. Users need a manual book, help center, and documentation that will help them to solve the problem immediately and help them when they’re on a leave or need to be replaced.
3. Users need a notification when other divisions do an update, it will make them easy to check the latest update and changes related to the financial process.
The Next Steps
Design as Solution
Based on our problem statements and discussion with the stakeholders, we connect all the user needs, pain points and behavior to the business value, company’s vision and product development priorities.
We came up with many design solutions and as I lead I created the roadmap as well. Here are some of the solutions that we’ve developed.
We also did the usability testing before the launch, the result was really good even we got appreciated by the stakeholders.
We successfully launch the design solutions one by one from a 1-year roadmap that we created.
– Our clients (PDAM) increase up to 20%
– Reduce the implementation cost up to 50% in less than a year because of the product onboarding & documentation we no longer need an on-site implementation, some of the main area can be held remotely
– Reduce the PDAM’s paper cost by almost 100% because they no longer need to print the report, they can automatically sync everything across divisions
Let’s work together!