IBM Automation Decision Services wins a 2020 platinum Spark Design Award

This team earned the highest distinction in the digital category

Arin Bhowmick
Dec 9, 2020 · 3 min read

The IBM Automation Decision Services (ADS) design team is closing out 2020 on a strong note as Platinum level winner of the Spark Design Awards in the Digital category. As we plan to head into the winter holidays, I couldn’t be more excited to see our designers recognized for the hard work they put in this year.

The Spark Design Awards is an international design competition that seeks to “promote better living through design.” The evaluation criteria focused on innovation i.e., does the design “Spark,” i.e., innovate, change the game
and in some way help humanity or the environment we live in. When their global jury of design experts, looked at submissions, they first and foremost assessed if design broke new grounds and improved quality of life.

How Automation Decision Services breaks new ground

See how ADS enables business analysts to worker smarter

Business users have to analyze documents, extract the policies, and ask their IT department to change the rules in the application code. This is a complicated and lengthy process.

IBM Automation Decision Services (available as part of IBM Cloud Pak for Automation) helps business users make the business decisions through a simple interface that requires no coding. Because conditions evolve, business users can also quickly change the way decisions are made and stay aligned with important business requirements.

Decisions are made with well-known conditions and well-defined policies. But they increasingly require you have a view into the future. ADS makes the link between AI predictions and concrete decisions simple and actionable for workers without AI expertise.

Setting up users for success

ADS gives business users an introduction to the primary concepts of diagram building

This design team worked to ensure non-technical users had all of the information and guidance they need to succeed. ADS’ clear, simple, and compelling visual layout provide meaningful engagement to users.

They also provided sample projects and instructive empty states to give users a starting point and show them how they can use decisions in specific domain contexts. Every detail matters.

Empty states are a simple yet powerful way to keep a user informed and supported.
The user can easily complete a preconfigured predictive model with the help of a tutorial to configure the invocation to Machine Learning.

The team conducted extensive user research to understand the pain points and needs of their existing customers. As the project progressed, we continued to apply the IBM Enterprise Design Thinking framework and involve sponsor users to help us verify our hypotheses, and to gain valuable feedback on our designs. In the initial steps of the design process, they regularly shared wireframes with sponsor users to get early feedback. To ensure great user experience made it to production, they also organized several usability tests with early versions in live code.

Helping businesses through uncertain times

As businesses constantly adjust and readjust to meet public health needs, IBM is proposing ADS to companies that need to decide in real time how they can make working conditions safe and anticipate risk.

Through design that has democratized decision-making, this team has given business users the potential to help their companies and colleagues with some of their greatest challenges to date.

Winning team

  • Design manager: Mark Marrara
  • Design team: Myriam Battelli, Fabienne Schoeman, Aurélie Baton, Dave Clark

Arin Bhowmick (@arinbhowmick) is Vice President and Chief Design Officer, IBM Cloud, Data and AI, based in San Francisco, California. The above article is personal and does not necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

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