Submitting and approving an Expense has never been easier!

<Mobile app case study>  

 

A lot has been written in our blog on the principles and guidelines for designing mobile apps and how to move a web solution to mobile.

 

In the following blog, I would like to show how we at HP Anywhere took two complex applications used widely in enterprise organizations–submitting and approving expenses—and reconstructed them for mobile while utilizing these principles.

 

This project started as a joint collaboration with HP IT, which is HP’s IT organization supporting more than 300,000 employees world wide.

The requirements were very complex as HPIT has two web applications that have been in use for some years and support all of HP’s sites and financial regulations worldwide.  

 

Our Goal was to create solutions that can support submitting and approving expenses—anywhere, anytime with no exceptional effort!  In addition, we strived for a visually appealing UI and a positive consumer experience.

 

The 1st step was to collect requirements from HP IT, the Expense team, and the development team supporting them.

 

The 2nd Step was to identify the core use cases that we aimed to serve, identify the added value of running on a mobile device (camera, GPS, etc.), and identify the added value the mobile use case needs to serve.

 

The 3rd step was to propose a solution and refine it with the expense professionals and HP IT.

 

 

The expense submission application (My Expenses)

 

Submitting expenses today is a complex process that is done using a web application on your PC, and is considered one of less pleasant things to do when you get back from a work trip. It requires you to find all of your receipts, organize them, and submit them at once.

This process is even more time consuming in areas like Europe and the Middle East where you do not have AMEX synchronization.

 

The application we developed enables you to submit your expenses “On the Go”, thus saving time and effort. It also minimizes the mental load of recollecting what the expenses were for.

 

Oded klimer - expense app - UX manager

 

 

So what makes our app so easy to use?

 

  • It’s 12:00 noon…
  • You’re traveling on business to New York.
  • You go to eat lunch at the Peter Luger Steakhouse… (after all it’s considered one of the best steak houses in NY)
  • The bill is a bit expensive….But your boss will understand :-)…
  • You take out your phone and open the “My Expenses” app.
  • You tap the camera icon and take a photo of the receipt.
  • A brief “Create Expense Wizard” opens, and you fill in some basic fields.
  • The details of the country, currency and date are filled in automatically based on your phone’s location.

 

30 Seconds later… the expense form is filled in and you are on way to meet your customer!

 

This mobile app gives you added value by utilizing the device’s built-in capabilities. The camera minimizes the risk of losing the receipt; the device’s GPS saves you the time of filling in fields.

 

 

The report approval application (My Approvals)

 

Managers are the ones in charge of approving reports and expenses. In most cases, they are busy people that spend a large portion of their time away from their desk. As a result, the approval process that exists today—which requires managers to use a web app on their PC—takes time and, as a result, employee reimbursements are often delayed.

 

The app that we developed improves the manager’s experience in 3 ways: The manager can approve expenses anywhere, anytime, with no need to access a PC. The design is clear and has 3 big decision buttons. The expense details are organized in a clear and intuitive manner. 

 

Oded Klimer - expense app - UX manager

 

So what makes the experience so easy and clear?

 

  • It’s 19:00 at night.
  • The manager is riding the train on the way home.
  • He takes out the phone and opens the “My Approvals” app.
  • In the list, he can clearly see all the expense reports pending his approval, the ones that have exceptions, and the ones that have attachments.
  • He selects the first report in the list and reviews the expenses quickly and easily.
  • He clicks “Approve” and continues to the next report.

 

30 Seconds later…The manager has reviewed the report, examined the exceptions, made a decision, and continued to the next report!

 

 

 

 

These 2 examples demonstrate how we have incorporated the principles and guidelines of building mobile apps in a successful manner.

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About the Author
Oded Klimer is a User Experience Manager & Strategist at HP. For more than a decade he has been Innovating, testing creating, and managing ...


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