Sage ESS is a responsive and scalable employee self-service SaaS solution that empowers employees to manage their personal information and leave applications, and allows employers to seamlessly manage workflows and teams on any screen anytime anywhere.


The Access Group (formally Sage)

UX Designer

SaaS | Responsive


Sage ESS


  • Market research
  • Stakeholder interviews

  • User contextual interviews
  • Surveys
  • Competitive analysis
  • Personas
  • Sitemaps
  • User journeys
  • User stories
  • Wireframes
  • Visual design
  • Prototyping
  • Usability testing


Sage provided Sage MicrOpay payroll software customers a client hosted employee self-service portal, called ESP. It served the essentials that you would expect from any employee self-service application. But it was designed as a stop-gap measure for the lack of real SaaS employee self-service offering and poor code management inherently made it difficult to add new features.

The business decided that it was best to build a new employee self-service SaaS solution from the ground up, laying the groundwork for a solution that was flexible and scalable in order to cater for many of our customer needs.



Further research was undertaken to find out what our current and prospective customer's problems were and whether they were solved in the marketplace. We used clientele and ABS statistical analysis, market research, surveys, stakeholder interviews, competitive audits, and ESP contextual observations and user feedback to answer those questions.

The problems our customers were facing with ESP was its: non-responsive layout, counterintuitive tree navigation pattern, limited browser support, workflows and org structure independencies, poor performance, and insecure generic accounts.

What customers were wanting was an employee self-service solution that was simple to set up, integrate with other solutions, and accessible on any screen anytime anywhere.


Personas were formulated on the Professional Services industry – our common clientele – to help with the ideation process. It helped us understand how each persona interacts with each other, directly and indirectly, from requesting and approving leave, to managing teams, roles and permissions.

Sage ESS personas
Sage ESS personas

User stories were written based on a set of common scenarios that helped us define how our users, teams, roles, permissions and workflows were governed.

Sage ESS approval scenarios and workflow
Sage ESS approval scenarios and workflow

From the process a set of several key features were agreed upon to create a minimum marketable product.

Sage ESS MVP features
Sage ESS MVP features


Concepts were sketched to find patterns that were fit for purpose. These were prototyped and user tested using Axure. A style guide was then created based on Sage's branding guidelines.

Initial Sage ESS concepts
Initial Sage ESS concepts


After extensive research, analysis, design, and testing, we launched our new minimum marketable product. We received really positive and constructive feedback from our customers, which in turn helped us refine our product over time.


ESS is available in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

The Team

Product Manager Janice Aldinger
Senior Product Analyst Sharon Anderson
Business Analyst Luciana Soewito
Product Development Manager Art Czernecki
Senior Analyst Programmer Mark Foster
Senior Analyst Programmer Enrico Boentaran
Full Stack Software Developer Abethan Rajendram
Analyst Programmer Cemson Zhang
Technical Writer Mary Claffey
Test Analyst Vaasu Checllathurai
Former National Software Development Jason Fischer
Former Senior Web Developer Chen Lin
Former Senior Business Analyst Barry Jose

Special Thanks

Managing Director Michael Smith
Business Analyst Thu Dinh
Technical Implementation Consultant Jiba Gurton
Software Implementation Consultant Kim Rinquest
The Sales and Marketing Team

© 2022 GABS

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