Cisco DNAC Cloud Try & Buy

Explore and design the overall experience of trying and buying for enterprise SaaS application 

Journey Map

Competitor Analysis

Design Sprint

Work Facilitation


Flow Diagram

Visual Design

Design System

  • My Role: UX Designer / Workshop Facilitator

  • Team: With 1 Design Lead

  • Duration: 3 Months

  • Time: 2017 ~ 2018

  • Tools: Sketch, Google Slides

0. Prologue


Cisco has traditionally been a networking and infrastructure company. While this direction worked well in past decades, disruptive changes―introduced through virtualization, software-defined networking, application awareness, and cloud―have changed market dynamics. Today we no longer see just a network and infrastructure market segment, but also the cloud services market segment, which is gaining more importance and market share every year. The cloud services market is much faster growth compared to the cloud infrastructure market. Therefore, moving into the cloud services market in addition to Cisco's existing network and infrastructure business is one of the mandatory requirements.

Cisco DNA Center is a network management and command operating platform for Cisco DNA (Digital Network Architecture) - One of the most essential software products in the Enterprise Networking portfolio. The leadership team decided to provide a cloud version which targets for medium-sized enterprises with smaller IT staffs, to accommodate for growing needs in the market. 

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Cisco DNA Center Cloud allows for centralized network management of multisite networks without the need for an onsite appliance, supporting agile IT team network management and control



Buying experience has changed dramatically in the software industry with the emergence of SaaS. There’s been a major shift in power from software vendors to software buyer. It's more autonomous and independent. More importantly, users expect to have a great buying experience from the software company, which can greatly affect the decision of purchase, and impression of the entire product. However, previously in the decades, Cisco still greatly relied on traditional in-person selling from partners and vendors. As the first step of making Cisco DNA Center Cloud a successful product, we need to investigate how users purchase the software today and create a intuitive and easy process for them.

Problem Statement

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How might we enable users to learn about DNAC Cloud offers, subscribe based on their needs and quickly get to value through a streamlined and efficient process. 


1. User Journey


As the phase of the project, we need to discover logical steps users need to go through in the process. Due to the tight schedule, we don't have chance to run user interviews from scratch. However, there are lots of stakeholders including PMs, Sales Representatives and Technical marketing engineers who has great knowledge about the user actions in different phases. We decided to run a journey map exercise with the team to collaboratively build a user journey together.

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User Journey - Partner.png

2. Competitor Analysis

In order to better understand the market trend and best practices for SaaS Buying Experience, I looked into 8 different SaaS products' user onboarding flow and what features they provide to accelerate the process and increase the conversion rate, including products outside of network industry. We hope to use these as inspirations in the later design phase. I presented the flow to the team and we summarized one top liner from each product.


Topliner from each product:

  • Explore without registering

  • Group offers by intent, not product

  • Great onboarding tour

  • Decide before registering

  • Customer testimonials

  •  Free hardware

  • Get customer into active trial with their own network

  • Simplified license key management 


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Sample of Competitor Analysis

3. Prototype


The scope of the project is quite large. In a large company, this requires lots of stakeholders to align and make decisions together. If we follow the regular design process - design and review, it's going to take long time to reach consensus with all the stakeholders and very likely end up with an endless loop of reviews and iterations. We won't be able to propose a clear and clean solution within the desired timeframe as well. After evaluating the situation and design approach, we proposed to the leadership team to run a Design Sprint, which can help us answer critical business questions through a five-day collaboration workshop.

Courtesy of GV



Set a long-term goal

List open questions

Make a map

Ask the experts


Look at competitors

Draw ideas and solutions


Vote on ideas



Build a prototype


Get feedback from five customers



We aligned on a long term goal:

"In two years, DNAC Cloud allows customers with 1,000+ users to operate an intent-based network to deliver business outcomes with flexible subscription options & deployment models.

The team listed HMWs while interviewing the experts, and voted on the ones we want to focus. For example: "HMW deploy the trial during the 30 mins sales phone call", "HMW simplify licensing and ease the buying model".


Everyone is drawing solutions using crazy 8s. The goal is to generate as many ideas as possible.

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Everyone presents their solution sketches and we vote them. Later we stitched together a storyboard using the top voted ideas.


During DAY 4, we built an end to end prototype for trying and buying experience and tested with 5 users on DAY 5. The entire organization aligned on the overall directions and discovered great opportunities that result in new business initiatives. My teammate and I took an extra couple of days to revise the wireframe based on user feedback and handed over the PM to continue to socialize the ideas to the broader team and top management.


Moments of Truth


Provide users with multiple ways / entry points to learn about the product.


"Instant demo" allows users to explore the product without signing up. Prompt users to sign up for a trial and deploy their own devices to start managing and monitoring their own network.

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Copy of Cisco DNA C Cloud Prototype .png


30 mins to value: guide users to launch an offer and deploy devices. Gamify the experience and give a sense of achievement.


Send usage updates and remind users to make the purchase.

Cisco DNA Cloud Prototype  (1) copy
Copy of Cisco DNA C Cloud Prototype  (6)

Key Takeaways

At the end of the last day, the group summarized the top 5 learnings from user testing sessions:

  • Seeing an "instant demo" is a good way to convince a customer to start a trial with their won devices.

  • Customers need to understand DNA Center before doing a "use my data" trial and how much effort, resources & time is required to do the trial.

  • Existing customers want procurement through partners, technical advice from Cisco, and inventory planning through the tool.

  • Customers like the idea of a custom trial but are apprehensive about connecting their existing devices to DNAC.

  • A useful trial is bound by time (30 days or more), not number of devices.

4. Revisions


Copy of Cisco DNA C Cloud Prototype  (5)

1. Users are not sure what "Use my data"  means. We changed the questions to be "Ready to try DNAC Cloud in your environment" and make CTA more explicit just to "Start Trial".

2. Users want to see a demo like close to their own environment. Added a screen to allow users to customize data in the demo.


Copy of Cisco DNA C Cloud Prototype  (2)

The overall theme we observed from the testing is that users need enough information to understand how things work before taking actions. We added informative text before the sign-up step. 


Copy of Cisco DNA C Cloud Prototype  (6)
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1. Sending usage updates is highly appreciated, and users would like to have a dedicated page for them to look at usage at any time.

2. However, users won't directly add the apps to the cart, as the decision-maker is usually different from the person who's trying the software. We revised CTA to "forward as email ".

3. Users need a more comprehensive service catalog to learn about these products and make the purchase.

Cisco DNA Cloud Prototype  (1) copy
Cisco DNA Cloud Prototype  (1) copy
Cisco DNA Cloud Prototype  (1) copy
Cisco DNA Cloud Prototype  (1) copy 19.p
First Time 1- Add Device Step 1D Copy@2x
Cisco DNA Cloud Prototype  (1) copy 21.p

5. Hi-fidelity Design


The flow that we came up in the sprint results in different tracks that the management team prioritized. Service catalog is one of the features that is very critical for the buying flow however doesn't exist today. It should allow users to browse all the applications and subscription plans available to them and get quoted from service providers. I later got a chance to work on the hi-fidelity concept of this feature. As a start, I mapped out the information architecture and functionalities.




Browse all the applications with categories of intent

App Detail - final.png

Learn details of each application, and get quote

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Allow for plan based subscription - easier licensing

A workflow for users to request quotes from service providers

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Our design system was not very mature at that time. I tried to help to generalize some components as I worked through my design, like accent palette, card, color blocks, and including more variations in typography to allow better information hierarchy on the page.

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6. Summary


I didn't get chance to fully finish this project to the end, as I got new assignments in the middle. Therefore, the hi-fidelity design may not reach a complete development-ready state, and the lifecycle management of quote status has not been designed. The whole process was done in a very short time frame. If I have more time, I would conduct more rounds of user testings to the hi-fidelity designs, making sure the usability and quality of the design are as desired.


I enjoy how we use design thinking to run the discovery track at the beginning of this project, allowing us to embrace and evangelize user-centered design approach to the organizations and drive business strategies. This is the very first time Design Sprint was conduct in the organization and we receive lots of positive testimonials. It's also my first time facilitating this kind of activity. It is quite fun :)