Solving /


SmartCare is a key support tool used by 13,000 IBM users such as System Availability Leaders (SALs) to monitor client PMR/PMH/Complaints and how they can adversely affect business relationships. 

This tool pulls from over a dozen databases such as Retain and is powered by Cognos. While the user base likes SmartCare, There were many basic usability problems that adversely affected the ability to understand and consume the important content from SmartCare, and there were many workarounds and excess overhead that users had to do in order to create custom reports.

Adam's UX team has a passion for support and saw SmartCare as a good platform that was built over time with no overall plan for growth by the IBM Systems Client Experience Organization. Based on their knowledge coming into the project as well as our initial research on markets, competitors and interactions with IBMers who use SmartCare, they defined a goal of maximizing the role-based self-service nature of SmartCare Dashboard from initial sign up, improve the structure and delivery of content through typographic, visual, and interaction design and generating easier to use online and email reporting to decrease enterprise account risks.

Methods & Practices

While this project was not a Hallmark project, Adam decided to run it as if it were. This meant securing executive support of IBM Design Thinking, radical collaboration between product management and engineering, iterating through observe, reflect, make to continually align the team, and having direct sponsor user engagement. Design worked with product management to review the market for business intelligence and ticketing solutions as inputs into the workshop which bridged the as is with to be states. 

A growing theme throughout our research, workshop and post-workshop discussions regards what SmartCare feels users need to know in order for users to have greater insight into client pain vs. what users want to know to meet their specific daily activities to reduce client pain. SmartCare services are invisible to users because they are not differentiated from imported application data. Adam envisioned SmartCare to highlight that it is providing clearer value to users daily efforts supported by analytics, customization/personalization of related data and the drive for cognitive services to accelerate value to users.

Key Activities and Practices

- Employed heuristic analysis of the is a framework to understand human-computer interactions as an evaluative protocol to understand SmartCare Classic's 'as is' state through visual, content, interaction and workflow and identify usability problems.

- Identified five users of SmartCare that represented two key roles for Phase 1 : SAL/CAL & CritSit. These sponsor users were involved with ideation sessions, and a three day workshop with the SmartCare team. 

- Employed a workshop for design, engineering, and sponsor users to align on how the chosen persona, a SAL (Sam) viewed SmartCare currently and the future benefit from an improved SmartCare experience, defined three hills to guide recommendations to improve the SmartCare experience

Impact & Outcome

Because of our desire to run the project like a Hallmark our team was able to achieve greater outcomes due to socializing the benefits of IBM Design Thinking at an executive management, middle management and product team level. The recommendations of a re envisioned SmartCare that directly addressed the goal of the project using IBM Design Language patterns provided a compelling future that was validated by the sponsor users and supported by the SmartCare team. 

IBM created a minimum viable product as the starting point for their journey to observe, reflect and make and will be managing a beta using real account data for users to provide feedback to the value of SmartCare. This also  transformed engineering by learning agile practices and an increased awareness of user-centered thinking by focusing all engineering work to map back to the value of the hills.

Project Downloads

This was our competitive analysis of BI and Ticketing competitive tools.

Competitive analysis

This was our detailed heuristic analysis of key specific SmartCare screens with recommendations.

As is SmartCare Heuristic Analysis

This was our final Playback 0 deck integrating all research, concepting, final recommendations and next steps.

Playback 0 Deck