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Personalization is pervasive. You can order Nike sneakers with whatever colors, options, and labels you choose. You can personalize your Trek bicycle, selecting every component, down to the colors of the shifter cables. You can customize your Maserati, choosing your wheels, the color of the brake calipers, and any artwork you want on the hood. Some of these changes improve usability, others just make you happy. SAP will soon offer additional personalization options.

PersonasBeforeAfter.png

In Q4 of 2012, SAP customers will be able to purchase a new solution to personalize their SAP GUI screens. SAP Screen Personas provides a simple, drag and drop approach to modify many common SAP screens to make them more usable as well as more visually appealing. IT departments and authorized end-users will be able to modify screens using their own unique knowledge of which information they need on the screen to optimize usability and productivity.

PersonasTimeToValue.png

Customers have long been able to modify SAP screens to improve end-user efficiency. Traditionally, this has required dedicated and highly-skilled IT resources. And, such projects typically take weeks or months to complete. What makes SAP Screen Personas unique is the non-technical skills required to use it successfully. Any person with the right permissions can use the intuitive interface to streamline screens to suit their unique role-based needs, with no knowledge of back-end systems, coding skills, or ABAP.

A common concern is how IT can manage an environment in which each user (at least in theory) can have his or her own unique SAP screen. The answer is that IT maintains complete control over what users can modify. In some cases, IT will allow users to change the screen layout and add their own personalized images and graphics. In others IT will make role-based adjustments and push them out to the SAP users in their organization. Companies will choose the policy that works best in their environment. In all cases, everyone has instant access to the original, un-modified screen.

The SAP Imagineering team continues to receive very positive feedback from our co-innovation partners. They are testing SAP Screen Personas with their own business scenarios, on their own transactions, with their own data. Their best suggestions will become part of the product when we release it later this year.

At a recent “Influencers Innovation Day” in Palo Alto, we previewed this solution to a small group of analysts, journalists, and bloggers. The general consensus was that SAP Screen Personas is a move in the right direction to address usability issues.

6 September 2012 update

FAQ on SAP Screen Personas posted to SCN.

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15 Comments

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  1. Paul Hardy

    In essence what you are saying, is that soon, customers will be able to PURCHASE (i.e. pay) for a tool that does what the free software GUIXT – supported by SAP – has been doing for over ten years? I first encountered it in 1999.

    Please correct me if I am missing something.

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    1. Peter Spielvogel Post author

      Paul and Gregor,

      Thanks for your comments.

      You are correct that there are currently many ways to personalize SAP screens, some free and some for purchase. GUIXT has some free components and they charge for more advanced capabilities. You can visit their web site or search online for pricing details.

      SAP Screen Personas represents another option for organizations to personalize their SAP GUI screens. It includes some new capabilities that allow amazing flexibility in the graphics and layout on the screen. Our early co-innovation partners are doing some very impressive things with Personas.

      With more choices on how to modify SAP screens to meet their specific needs, our customers win.

      Regards,

      Peter

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      1. Gregor Wolf

        Dear Peter,

        thank you for your answer. What I’m wondering is why SAP put’s another option into the game. Isn’t WebDynpro ABAP the GoTo UI technology which can be adjusted to customers needs using the Floor Plan Manager? Especially the Sales Order creation which is shown here as an example for simplified screens is provided as a WebDynpro Application with SAP ERP 6.0 EhP 2: Logistics: S&D Simplification. Could it be that SAP doesn’t know what SAP already can? And here we have yet another tool in the game to confuse SAP Customers.

        Best regards

        Gregor Wolf

        SAP Mentor and Speaker of the DSAG Working Group Sales & Marketing

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        1. Peter Spielvogel Post author

          Gregor,

          Yes, WebDynpro is the new UI direction. And, as you point out, Floor Plan Manager provides extensive customization options.

          However, some customers have not moved in this direction and are asking for similar capability for their classic Dynpro screens. Personas gives them this ability.

          Hope this clarifies the situation.

          Regards,

          Peter

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          1. Paul Hardy

            Greetings,

            I don’t want to blow the GUIXT trumpet too hard, but the free parts of it allow people to modify their screens fairly dramatically. The battle you will face is getting people to shell out money when their APPEARS to be a free alternative, in the same way that “friends reunited” had to stop charging membership when Facebook came along,

            Gregor is correct about a really mixed message coming out of SAP, it is easy for us outside the company to get the impression that different departments do not talk to each other.

            For example, in the SAP GUI 7.30 you get some new options for users changing how their screens behave. In many areas of SAP people get bombarded with many similar tools coming out all the time to try and solve the same problem, and end up not knowing which way to turn.

            I do agree with you however that Web Dynpro is not really a replacement for “classic” dynpros, in that it is not intended to run inside the SAP GUI. So it is all very well for the official SAP position to be to replace SAP GUI transactions with web transactions, but that is not everyones cup of tea.  I suppose the NWBC is the answer, but if that was the case you would not need the upcoming SAP tool that does GUIXT type things would you?

            Cheersy Cheers

            Paul

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            1. Paul Hardy

              p.s. in the screen shot at the top of your blog you make a thing about having the brand name (logo) in the top right hand corner of the screen. That facility is in the SAP GUI 730 also.

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  2. John Moy

    Hi Peter,

    When I look at the slideshare presentation you linked to, it looks like ITS is in the mix here.  Is it the case that this tool generates HTML ITS templates based on the target SAP GUI transaction, and provides a nice design time tool to amend the template as you please?  Generation of HTML ITS templates is what we used to do in SAP WebStudio back in the 1990s, and which we can do now in SE80 (for integrated ITS), however any authoring tools to nicely amend the generated HTML is currently lacking.  Is it the case that this tool is simply providing an easy authoring mechanism to amend the HTML?

    Regards

    John

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    1. Peter Spielvogel Post author

      Hi John,

      You are correct that we use ITS, but not in the way you described. We will explain the complete architecture in a separate blog post.

      Regards,

      Peter

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  3. Simon Kemp

    Thanks for sharing this Peter. I have just one comment… while you say:

    Any person with the right permissions can use the intuitive interface to streamline screens to suit their unique role-based needs, with no knowledge of back-end systems, coding skills, or ABAP.

    I would argue that while they may not require coding skills or ABAP, they do require design and user experience (UX) skills to create the right design and experience for users. In the hands of a good designer who understands the user’s needs I can see this being a powerful tool, in the hands of every user or someone with no design experience I can see this being a debacle.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Thanks

    Simon

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    1. Peter Spielvogel Post author

      Simon,

      You raise some excellent points about usability and the importance of design skills.

      While we designed SAP Screen Personas to be easy enough for a business user to operate, our discussions with dozens of customers in indicate that most expect their IT teams to control the creation and deployment of screens centrally.

      So far, during co-innovation projects (beta testing), many of the IT professionals have involved SAP key users (or power users) in their design discussions. Most modifications focus on streamlining work flows, generally by removing unused fields from the screen to simplify them. While end-users are generally not UX experts, they do understand how they interact with the screen and what information they use and what they never use. With this information they can make informed decisions on how to simplify their individual work flows. IT can use this knowledge, along with their UX skills, to design the right experience for their user base.

      Regards,

      Peter

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  4. Peter Spielvogel Post author

    Usability is important for SAP, our customers, and everyone that relies on enterprise applications to perform business functions. The entire industry has moved forward in this area over the past several years, fueled in part by the mobile app revolution, in which simplicity is paramount.

    Personas does not change SAP’s broader UX strategy, which includes NWBC and Web Dynpro for on-premise solutions. In fact, Personas screens can be rendered in the browser or in the NWBC canvas area.

    For our on-premise solutions, there have been several SAP and non-SAP ways to modify screens and change the way users interact with the software. Examples of these solutions include Floor Plan Manager (for Web Dynpro screens), Duet Enterprise (Microsoft SharePoint integration), SAP Interactive Forms by Adobe (electronic forms for data input across devices), and GUIXT (using scripts to modify UI while leaving underlying ABAP and Dynpro unchanged).

    The break-through innovation that Personas provides is ease-of-use. Unlike the solutions mentioned above, Personas makes it possible for end-users to modify screens on their own, if their IT departments allow this.

    We designed Personas as a tool that allows users or their IT departments to quickly change, streamline, and personalize screens where there are no corresponding Web Dynpro applications available or IT currently chooses not to move in this direction.

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  5. Joyce Billquist

    Link for the frequently asked questions does not work. 

    Does Personas allow scirpting similar to GuiXT, such as calling Function Modules to derive screen data or custom searchhelps?

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    1. Peter Spielvogel Post author

      Hi Joyce,

      I fixed the link to the FAQ. We moved all SAP Screen Personas content to the SAP GUI space.

      Yes, Personas has extensive scripting capabilities.

      More FAQ from our recent webinars available at:

      http://scn.sap.com/community/gui/blog/2013/03/05/qa-transcript-from-sap-screen-personas-webinar-1

      http://scn.sap.com/community/gui/blog/2013/03/09/qa-transcript-from-sap-screen-personas-webinar-2

      http://scn.sap.com/community/gui/blog/2013/03/18/qa-transcript-from-sap-screen-personas-webinar-3

      Regards,

      Peter

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