One of the most important tenets of software design is the idea that we should manage the complexity of the user's actions so that they don't have to. Simply put, we do the complex work once so that when the user wants to do the same thing they don't have to do anything difficult. The provisioning portal we were asked to build was a fantastic example of this idea.
The problem we were tasked with solving was that customers' "assets" (routers, firewalls, and other devices) had to be set up on a case by case basis by someone who worked for Verizon. Each time one of those devices needed to be updated or changed, the customer would have to put in a support ticket and another Verizon worker would have to make the change for them. We wanted to offload that work to our system, thereby improving customer satisfaction and reducing the number of support tickets the Verizon people had to deal with each day.
Let Me Do It
Customers still have to purchase services directly from a Verizon salesperson (perhaps that's something we'll address in a future release), but now they can take care of enlisting their own routers and firewalls in any Verizon security service. Right from our dashboard, users can input their own information and then a Verizon engineer can access that information and simply approve or reject it. One of the more complicated challenges for us was to simplify the information input process for the user, asking them only for what information was most crucial at the time to reduce fatigue. A tremendous amount of information is required to provision a system and in the past that work was multiplied by the number of assets an organization needed. Our portal simplified that entire process and made provisioning and managing those assets much more streamlined than it had ever been before.
Our design team worked directly with a design team from Verizon to ensure a consistent experience with Verizon's other applications. We collaborated to create an interactive style guide from which developers could pick and choose components. This atomic design allowed us to easily share code and design elements through the entire Unified Security Portal and made updating those components more granular and less reliant on whole complex systems.