SAP is one of the world’s oldest and largest software companies. It builds software that lets large organizations manage things such as global cash positions, supply-chain logistics, and product-planning timelines. Facing competition from startups, SAP is out to prove that the granddad of business software won’t be left behind in a technology landscape upended by cloud computing.
The bread and butter of SAP’s business have long been desktop software for mega-corporations like airlines and oil companies. But in this age of mobile-first and cloud technology, and SAP sees the writing on the wall—innovate or get out of the way. SAP Fiori (“flowers” in Italian) represents SAP’s intent to deliver a consumer-grade user experience across all of its on-premise and Cloud-based applications. A harmonized experience that is responsive and adaptive—whether you’re on a phone, tablet, or desktop.
SAP established various “labs” to operate as startups within the organization. The hope was that infusing a little Silicon Valley startup culture into SAP would help drive innovation. I was brought in as a member of the SAP Global Design team—a multi-disciplinary team that designs, develops and delivers system-based design solutions for the enterprise. I was hired as a full-time principal visual designer at the lab in New York City. My responsibility was to help with the rollout of Fiori—partnering with strategists, UX designers, content strategists, and developers in New York, Palo Alto, and Germany. I helped design various system components, icons, and also help lead an effort to deliver our icon library as a typeface.