IBM Storage is moving to both virtual machines and Software Defined Environments, which is a federated model of linking abstracted storage infrastructure together. While the server side of data centers that would have the databases for enterprise storage, the problems of backup from a client perspective was in need of being addressed in order to both reduce the number of client backup failures as well as allow line-of business users access to storage snapshots without opening up a ticket to do so.
Methods & Practices
Adam's UX team researched the many client environments and determined which ones had promise of investing in. Several customers in data centers, healthcare, government and universities were visited. Each had network administrators, VM administrators, help desk and line of business users to determine similarities and differences based on backup and recovery tasks and needs - as well as how these roles were connected together.
His team used both observational and contextual inquiry techniques and small workshops to understand their "as is" states. They then looked at market competitors to understand their approach to file restore for virtual machines and compared their approaches to what their research began to tell in terms of key insights.
Adam's UX Team began to prototype using an early version of IBM Design Language and went out in the field with their concepts to get direct feedback from administrators. They felt the File Restore tool was visually simple and automated for their users to successfully restore a file without opening up a ticket.
Impact & Outcome
Most customers, when seeing our approach to a web-based tool for line-of-business users to use, they asked if we had outsourced our concepts to an outside company to solve because it looked too simple for IBM to accomplish. Adam's UX team told them that IBM did not outsource it and was done by a whole storage team. Administrators were impressed that IBM was able to create a valuable restore tool that would be simple to use and reduce the need for system administrators and help desk to restore files. This solution was released in Q4 of 2015 as TSM File Restore for VE.