CISCO

Streamlining IT Ordering





PROBLEM

Cisco uses its catalog platform to handle the ordering of infrastructure resources, while passing information to and from two other platforms—a service portfolio and a funding platform. At the same time, there is another platform in development specifically built for ordering and managing IT.

Ordering IT through Cisco is tedious and time-consuming, on average taking more than 100 clicks and up to 30 minutes for an experienced manager to order one resource. How can the new IT platform streamline the process for future orders, while integrating the existing platforms?

SOLUTION

A clean up of the ordering process will minimize the confusion around and time needed to order IT, so developers and managers have more time and effort to focus on their primary projects.

ROLE

My responsibilities included product research, market research, user research, stakeholder interviews, information architecture, usability testing, wireframing, and iterating. The team consisted of a lead developer and myself.



Bugs in the User Experience


Analyzing data from existing feedback as well as gathering new feedback on the ordering experience revealed trends in the ordering experience. The lack of guidance was the most common pain point.





Who is Ordering IT?


The client wanted to target two user-types: one with an IT background, and another without. To flesh out what that meant, I interviewed 5 developers and 5 EPMs to build out personas.





Remapping the Flow


One of the business requirements was to integrate the 4 service platforms, so a remapping of the end-to-end flow was necessary to clarify the gaps and to get everyone on the same page.

Part of the problem was that the catalog and IT platform shared overlapping functions, which was confusing even for managers and developers, let alone the users. Specifying the purpose for each platform would greatly improve the wayfinding within the ordering experience.



Since VMs are the most common order, that became the specific flow to focus on. However, due to the structural hierarchy of the platform, a user must first complete 3 tasks before beginning the ordering process. Many users, regardless of IT background, did not know how to proceed after the first task.

By moving the target task from the last step to the first, users can immediately begin the process of ordering a VM.






Helping the User Find Their Way


The lack of guidance—the biggest pain point—was a symptom of navigational ambiguity. To address this, I used a two step approach.

First, I created a new navigational logic for the platform including 2 main objectives: ordering and managing. Ordering IT resources is the most common task a project manager or developer needs to complete when using the platform, while managing IT resources is the recurring task. By separating them, the user can utilize a tailored flow for their objective.



Finally, I emphasized the navigation and hierarchy through visual cues, breaking up the monotony of the original, as well as including textual information. An infobar houses more information about the complexities of IT and the IT platform.


It was also important that the redesign work with the current framework, as time and resources were limited so a complete overhaul of the platform was unrealistic.



Feedback


Testing the prototype with developers, designers, and managers with varying degrees of IT knowledge yielded positive results. There was some confusion over words and semantics, but overall the design was intuitive and efficient.

The scalability of the design also leaves room for an expanding list of orders, as more resources eventually migrate onto the IT platform.