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SAP Usability Tests – The Democratization of Innovation

Recently, I received an email announcing the SAP Usability  Test topics that are available for participants at this year’s TechEd in Vienna.   There was also a SAP Usability Test Center at SAP TechEd Vienna from  Martin Hofmann, the head of a team responsible for SAP user interface design for  tools and technologies, announcing these tests.

The TechEds are exciting events where atendees can  participate in a variety of sessions (ranging from hands-on to informational  sessions) that usually focus on technology that has already been released or  which will soon be released.  There are often huge crowds at such sessions.

On the other hand, I’ve participated in a number of usability  tests and am always amazed at the low level of interest from most TechEd  participants in them.  Let’s take a look at the description of such tests:

SAP developers and employees  from the SAP user experience team are giving you the opportunity to try out and  provide feedback on new SAP solutions by participating in a test. The aim of  the test is to improve user friendliness, thereby increasing satisfaction among  SAP software users. The test examines components under development and products  from various SAP development areas.

Instead of being passive and complaining about SAP  products once they have been released, you have the ability – irregardless of  how limited- to take an active role in determining how future products  are developed.  Of course, the items being tested are often prototypes but it is  at exactly this stage that you as a end-user may influence how such  developments evolve.

My Selection of Usability Tests interesting for  BPXs

I’ve selected those tests that I feel are of greatest  interest for BPXs.  The blog from the head of UI testing had only a list of the  topics being tested. I’ve added details from the more detailed  description of these tests. 

Note: If you want even more details (Involved roles,  etc.) on these tests, then please examine the more detailed description provided  by the Usability team.

Overview of improved interfaces  in selected fields of SAP Solution Manager

• Discuss the usability of SAP  Solution Manager functions and investigate prototypes of improved user  interfaces in the following areas:

• Innovation management – A new  evaluation and blueprinting environment provides an alternative way to:

–        Browse, search for, and  assign business processes and selected content for an SAP Solution Manager  project

–        Upload (multiple) documents  to a project

–        Graphically model business  processes

• Solution documentation –  Centrally document your new or critical business processes, interfaces, and  custom developments with the business blueprint and configuration functionality.  Based on an analysis of your application, the solution documentation assistant  helps you to newly create and verify your existing solution documentation.


Administering and monitoring  applications for processes and tasks in the SAP NetWeaver Business Process  Management component

SAP NetWeaver Administrator  provides a set of administration and monitoring applications for the SAP  NetWeaver Business Process Management (SAP NetWeaver BPM) component. These  applications enable users to, among other things, administer process and task  definitions, instances, and availability and to troubleshoot BPM servers.


Run and monitor a business  process and its tasks

SAP NetWeaver BPM is a key  component of the SAP NetWeaver Composition Environment (SAP NetWeaver CE)  offering that provides a complete business process management suite to support  human tasks and automated services, business rules, and business activity  monitoring. This session focuses on triggering, running, and monitoring  processes from a business user’s perspective.


Modeling simple business rules  in the rules composer

The rules composer in SAP NetWeaver  Developer Studio allows developers to model business rules using “if-then”  constructions in English (such as language, decision tables, and graphical rule  flows).


Extending an SAP Business Suite  process using common process layer tools and the SAP NetWeaver Composition  Environment offering

An emerging set of tools provides  customers with the ability to explore and adapt business scenarios and processes  provided in SAP Business Suite to reflect their own IT landscapes. One of the  goals is to facilitate business blueprinting activities already known to SAP  Solution Manager users. This allows them to better understand, plan, and execute  changes to their systems by leveraging this content throughout the entire  application lifecycle.

This test explores prototypes for  such new tools that integrate with existing tools to provide a consistent and  content-oriented user experience that aids in understanding the as-is system,  eases the creation of to-be business blueprints, and carries this content-rich  experience over into the development environment. This allows users with  different responsibilities to access a common base of accurate content with the  tools appropriate to their activities. Efforts made in the initial stages of a  project can feed through into later phases, so there is an unbroken chain  through planning, implementation, testing, and monitoring.

The scenario in this test will  focus on the planning and implementation of an SAP Business Suite application  extension using SAP NetWeaver Composition Environment.


Modeling a human activity as a  part of a business process

SAP NetWeaver BPM is a key  component of SAP NetWeaver Composition Environment that provides a complete  business process management suite to support human tasks and automated services,  business rules, and business activity monitoring. This session focuses on  modeling new business processes and defining human activities and includes the  generation of user interfaces.

You will work on a prototype that  allows you to generate human activities from given process data.

My Note: This session is of  interest and might be associated with new UI-related functionality (UI  generation, etc.) associated with Visual Composer in the 7.2 environment


I’ve focused on those topics that are of more interest for  BPXs but there are a variety of other tests that are being offered as well. For  those of you interested in Business By Design, for example,  there are also a  few interesting offerings (for example, “Guided Activity to Set Up or an  Organizational Structure” or “Print Form Adaptation and Printer Queue  Management”).


These tests are an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.

For me, participation in such tests provides normal  users with the ability to participate in SAP innovation. It is just like a  normal election, if you don’t vote then after the election is over, you can’t  complain about the outcome.

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