Sponsor Spotlight: SAP

SAP joins the Vancouver User Experience Awards as our keynote sponsor.

As a Director of User Experience at SAP, Julian Richards is proud to lead his Vancouver-based team in creating amazing experiences. One of which is SAP Jam Collaboration, a platform that addresses the evolving needs of today's digital workplaces. As the workplace changes, UX has never been more critical given the proliferation of tools and processes that connect employees. The growth of the SAP Jam platform’s subscriber base from 34 million in 2016 to 53 million in 2018 is evidence of this.

“Holistically, it's a great environment for designers to work in,” he explains. UX Designers on the SAP team are routinely challenged to solve customer problems across multiple contexts: streamlining workflows for HR and Marketing journeys or connecting employees with the experts and knowledge they need to do their jobs faster. Ultimately it’s all about the employee experience in this category and how well-designed experiences can help drive engagement and purpose. In this way, the UX team are also passionate advocates for sustaining focus on the customer and their needs.

His team is a perfect example of what’s so great about design in Vancouver: they bring a huge spirit of curiosity and innovation to their work every day. Julian loves that these characteristics aren’t just present in his team, but pervasive across the design talent that exists in Vancouver. This is something we see every year at the Vancouver User Experience Awards, which is why it’s an event he looks forward to every year.

Over the course of his 20-year career, Julian has watched Vancouver’s User Experience community evolve. The nineties, he reflects, saw a lot of self-taught and motivated people advocating for great design and driving the conversation. “Now we see a lot of local designers, coming out of local schools and working on products and services for the benefit of local people.”  

The UX team at SAP is a diverse group. This diversity—which comes from far more than education or professional experience—is a huge asset to their customers. “Our customers are global and they come from multiple contexts. They speak different languages, come from different regions, and work in different cultures. The greater the extent the design team reflects the reality of the world, the better,” explains Julian. To stay connected to this global base the team even hosts SAP Jam Design Days throughout the year to spend time meeting and listening to customers. The last event was hosted at SAP’s office in Yaletown, the next will be in Milan, Italy.

Deep exposure to ongoing conversations around bots, machine learning, and AI are great motivators for the design team but at their core, they remain focused on fundamental interaction design methods: people-centered, accessible, and data-informed. Julian is proud of the work his team does at SAP and looks forward to seeing other organizations show off their impactful work as well. “The awards are an annual reminder that this city has unlimited potential when it comes to design talent,” says Julian.