Continuing this blog with some reflections on user experience…
For both fixed and mobile use cases, SAP provides a dedicated user experience differentiating between the expert and the casual user. But, let’s face it, the user interface of a maintenance worker will predominantly be mobile in the future. Hence there is a special focus on mobile applications when talking about Enterprise Asset Management.
SAPGUI is now out there since quite some years, being continuously improved, still some people like it, others don’t. Expert users still need a rich user experience, think about a maintenance planner sitting in front of a 24″ screen, overviewing all maintenance orders and resource availability. Occasional users like maintenance workers need a different sort of experience, more intuitive and not requiring a huge training effort. Having announced mainstream maintenance for the Business Suite 7 being prolonged until end of 2020, SAP’s strategy for user experience aims on balancing between longevity and innovation, providing user experience for the expert as well as for the casual user.
So, while keeping very powerful SAPGUI capabilities for the expert users, SAP delivered a completely new user interface for the maintenance worker with ERP 6.0 Enhancement Package 5. This has been further enhanced with EhP 6 last year. It can be deployed via portal roles or the NetWeaver Business Client. Already embedded into this technology are animated 3D visuals that can be deployed leveraging Adobe Interactive Forms and Right Hemisphere technology.
At SAPPHIRE, I was very excited getting to see the newest outcomes from Right Hemisphere, being part of SAP in the meantime. The Visual Enterprise Author can accommodate nearly all types of engineering formats and convert CAD data into models that can be complemented by other information and being displayed in a business application type of environment. Let’s imagine how tremendously this will improve the accuracy of information when working with asset data.
On SAP’s roadmap – enabling for all aspects of a visual enterprise – we have use cases for visual repair instructions, selection of spare parts directly from a 3D model of the asset, and more. At Orlando, we could already have a look at a prototype iPad version of the Visual Enterprise Viewer which we aim on integrating into our mobile solution offering.
Talking mobility, we could also publish an important announcement that we were going to acquire a company called Syclo, already our partner for mobile applications in Enterprise Asset Management. When SAP’s Mobile Asset Management was put to maintenance mode in 1999, the space was then open to partner offerings. A very successful partnership with Syclo developed, marketing their offering as Endorsed Business Solutions, adhering to SAP’s product standards. The acquisition of Sybase in 2010 then marked a game changer for mobility in SAP, clearly demonstrating how strategic this area is to us. Since this specifically holds true regarding Enterprise Asset Management, the acquisition of our partner Syclo was a next logical step. The SMART Work Manager by Syclo and other products are on the SAP price list in the meantime, combining the rich features and functionality both companies can offer today. Time to embark on this journey is now, if not already started. Many companies have already proven the efficiency boost of bringing the information to the workplace without time lag and in the most suitable form. Our customers can also expect a roadmap on further enhancements being published soon.
Additionally, SAP is constantly enhancing the usability of its solutions in the backend as well. This is mainly done based on an initiative called Customer Connection, leveraging the wealth of experience in our user base and using our relationship with user groups, like ASUG, DSAG, VNSG, SAUG, AFSUG, and others. SAPPHIRE Orlando has been another possibility to strengthen our relationship with ASUG’s Enterprise Asset Management Community, specifically the Special Interest Group (SIG) on Plant Maintenance. We presented and discussed recent improvements being delivered within a second cycle of Customer Connection for EAM.
User Groups are leveraging the SAP Idea Place for rating and prioritizing new proposals for continuous improvement. For getting to know more about it, you may also visit the SAP Improvement Finder containing more details about recent enhancements. For an overall view on new features and business functions you will find a comprehensive overview on information sources visiting the Service Marketplace. For your convenience, you can also find a document summarizing the improvements here.
Please find the next blog in this series here!