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Author's profile photo Otto Gold

GUI-centric SAP systems design, part 2

GUI-centric SAP systems design, part 1 you can read the beginning of this “story”.

I have few general problems regarding the user productivity and how it is affected by the user interface technology choice. I will, as I promised, describe all the details of my approach to let you revise it all. Before I will tell you the whole secret, let me start with an example.

The example is very simple. It comes from the real life experience. It should be comprehensible for a reader with any background because it is based on very fundamental and every-day-life observations.

Let´s say you´re a SAP insider in your company and you´re asked how many groups of SAP “users” you have in your company. Because you don´t know what groups are the questioner interested in, you naturally come up with some simple one. For example (I added the important GUIs information to keep the text short and do not say everything twice):

  • We have the bosses, they don´t open the SAP GUI at all, they occasionally use the portal or ask for some paper report or an Excel sheet.
  • We have the expert users who work with their SAP transaction every day, like the accountants, the people from the manufacturing (who fill the daily production reports for example), the sales guys (who use their CRM screens) and we have the internal consulting team/ support guys/ IT architects/ coordinators/ competence center/ centre of excellence, who can navigate through the whole system.
  • And of course we have the people who don´t work with any SAP system, or very rarely to have their leave of absence approved or to check how many days-off do they have left.

I have asked this question few times, I have asked people in different SAP roles, with different education, different experience etc. The above mentioned “groups” are the “average” out of all the answers I got. Then I asked those people about the user interfaces/ what software solution they use (or better: what interfaces/ software do the users from the mentioned groups use?).

Here is the “average” answer:

  • Bosses: never use SAP GUI, occasionally use NetWeaver portal, often use the Office Excel (or any other spreadsheet processor, to be fairJ).
  • Expert users and internal support: use SAP GUI most of the time, rarely use SAP Portal, sometimes must use some other software (to send or receive data)
  • Occasional user: don´t use any IS/SAP interface (use papers, SAP people print the data for them or fill in the system) or use some simple tools like on Portal or Adobe form or two.

Warning: I am sure you can point out many details I don´t mention, GUIs I don´t consider etc. etc. But please try to understand the whole picture – this is just a general idea, something I would like to specify in the coming blogs about the same topic and maybe call a methodology one day. That means: you can use any GUIs instead of the one I use, you can replace my “groups” with yours. I am going to describe all the details how to “enhance” this simple model in the next blogs.

Let’s put it all into a table to simplify the observation:

Let´s end this part here with the conclusion this is just an example. A natural answer (by me) for a natural question about the often seen GUI interfaces. Maybe you recognize more user groups and make more GUIs available for them in your company. In that case the situation is even better for your company. The maturity level of your SAP system regarding the user comfort and hopefully the user productivity level as well is better than the “average” (my average, or this blog example “average”).

In the next part I will elaborate how can one naturally widen the choice of user groups and GUIs.

Regards Otto

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