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The crowds on the final day were the biggest yet at our morning Expert Session for SAP Screen Personas. It could be that people are talking about the mention at the TechEd keynote or all the activities yesterday. We also had great attendance at the Clubhouse Theater presentation in the afternoon.

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Congratulations to Anthony Gonsalves and Glenn De Santis, who won the gift card drawings on Thursday’s 11AM and 2PM sessions, respectively.

People asked many questions over the course of the six interactive sessions we hosted. Here are several themes that came up almost every time.

Demo/trial/developer accounts

One of the questions that came up in every session was whether there was a way to try SAP Screen Personas before it comes to market in December 2012. We have started the conversation internally and are optimistic that we will have a solution soon.

Performance

Many people asked the performance impact of SAP Screen Personas compared to the standard SAP GUI. The SAP GUI has been optimized over the past many years. All else being equal, nothing will beat the SAP GUI.

But, all Is not equal and SAP Screen Personas can provide two distinct performance advantages.

  1. Since the solution allows you to remove fields from the screen, you can reduce the amount of information that needs to get rendered on the screen. This can improve performance. The mitigating factor is that if you add many additional screen elements, you will counter this advantage.
  2. SAP Screen Personas allows you to add scripts to the screen that perform several process steps at a time. For example, if you add a way to enter data on the start screen, you can automate its entry on the subsequent transaction screen, bypassing one screen. Similarly, you can merge tabs together and further reduce the number of round-trips to the back-end. Depending on the latency of your network, this could have a significant performance impact.

Sharing flavors/control

Our design goal was to make personalization easy enough for an end-user with basic PowerPoint skills. As you saw in our demos, we have achieved our goal. That said, we have heard many different views on how IT will deliver personalized screens to their business users. Here are the two extremes – everything in between is possible.

Full end-user control

Some IT departments want to empower their end users and give them the ability to modify screens however they want. “What if the user makes a screen that does not work?” you may ask. One IT manager replied, “They can always revert to the standard screen and this will force them to learn how to do it correctly.” A harsh view, to be sure, but we are presenting one extreme vantage point.

Full IT control

Other IT departments do not want to worry about supporting a screen that they have never seen before. So, they plan to build personalized screens for different departments and push them out to the different groups. The end-users will, of course, provide input, but IT will make all the changes.

In between

Most organizations will adopt policies that are between these two extreme positions. SAP Screen Personas allows users to share flavors with each other. IT can lock certain fields and define exactly what fields they allow the end-users to change. This ensures that IT controls what is important while giving their users some ability to make changes that make their life easier.

In all cases, we recommend that only experts use the advanced scripting functions.

Language support

SAP Screen Personas supports English and German. What this means is that the labels in the SAP Screen Personas toolbar can appear in either of these languages.

So, what can you do to create personalized screens in other languages?

Using SAP Screen Personas, you can write labels in any language you choose. If you need to support users in different regions, you can build separate flavors in each language.

SAP Screen Personas pulls screen label and layout information from the backend systems. So, unmodified SAP labels appear in the source language. If you change screen layout using SAP Screen Personas, these will appear in any language. But, if you change “sold-to party” to “customer”, then “customer” will appear on the screen in that position, regardless of what language the rest of screen appears.

Tablet / mobile access

No, the current version of SAP Screen Personas does not work on the iPad.

It does work on the new Windows 8 tablets. This was part of the demo we gave at the start of Demo Jam.

Licensing

We will license SAP Screen Personas separately. Ask your account executive for details.

How can I gain expertise on this solution?

Practice makes perfect. The best way to become an expert on personalizing screens is by making lots of them. As mentioned above, we are working on establishing a demo environment where you can experiment and hone your design skills.

Transports

Most SAP developers think in terms of dev/QA/production. So, we build SAP Screen Personas to fit into that environment. You can design flavors in your development environment. Test them with end-users to ensure that the new screens improve the user experience as expected. Then, roll them into production.

Does this work with transaction screens?

Does this work with all transactions

While many of the demos we showed were modifying the start screen, you can personalize any transaction screen. In fact, the demo was changing a transaction as the start screen is the SMEN transaction.

SAP Screen Personas works with SAP “core ERP” systems or any SAP GUI screen you can use via a browser.

Product Details

SAP Screen Personas will become available in December 2012

SAP Screen Personas can modify Dynpro screens only

More Information

SAP Screen Personas overview page

SAP Screen Personas demo (Opening act at TechEd Demo Jam)

SAP TechEd Day 1 summary blog post

SAP TechEd Day 2 summary blog post

SAP TechEd Day 3 wrap up and FAQ (this post)

What’s Next

In the coming weeks, we will be posting training videos and additional technical information in this space on SCN.

For SAP Imagineering, Peter Spielvogel.

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15 Comments

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  1. Frans Smolders

    Hi Peter,

    Thanks for this great piece! This is really promising 🙂

    I have a specific question: In HR it is common that users in different countries see different fields on the same screen. E.g. the table (in HR called infotype) for employee benefits shows US specific fields only to US benefit administrators. A system parameter decides the country the administrator comes from and renders the appropriate fields. Do you know how Personas handles this?

    best regards,

    Frans  

    (0) 
    1. Tobias Queck

      SAP Screen Personas builds on top of the screens coming from the back-end, therefore, if no flavor is applied, it would be the same as in the SAP GUI. When you start personalizing a flavor e.g. moving a field then Personas would move this field if it is available, if the field is not available because of the backend configuration, then the change is just ignored. If you modify a table view which might have different columns based on the setting, e.g. if you remove column 3 in a table, then column 3 is removed independent of the content of the column.

      Just a side note, Personas works only on Dynpro screens, most of the employee facing interfaces such as ESS are WebDynpro applications.

      (0) 
      1. Brent Talbot

        Hi Peter,

        In the questions and answers there is a comment “establishing a demo environment where you can experiment and hone your design skills” That was the reason for my original question.

        I was looking for a place where I can learn to use Personas. If the installation is quick and easy then I suppose I could install in our demo environment. Is there an installation guide available?

        (0) 
  2. Laurence Kelly
    Hi Peter,
    The fact sheet says Screen Personas require SAP kernel release 7.21 and your overview presentation (slide 24) seems to indicate you need to have Silverlight 5.
    Are there any other technical prerequisites to using them?  e.g. netweaver version, ECC EHP level etc.
    Best regards,
    Laurence.
    (0) 
    1. Peter Spielvogel Post author

      Personas consists of three components which all have different requirements: (1)server, (2) client and (3) kernel.

      (1) The SAP Screen Personas product that customers purchase is a Netweaver Add-On that requires SAP_BASIS 700 or any EhP thereof (701, 702, 731). Depending on the customer’s setup this needs to be installed on one Netweaver and can store the personalization for all other systems that are used with Personas. There are no other known requirements for the add-on.

      (2) Part of the Add-On is a BSP that contains the Personas Client. When opening the url pointing to the BSP, the Personas Client is downloaded to the user’s laptop and connects back to the server (add-on) to get user specific data. The client requires Silverlight 5 and a browser that supports Silverlight 5. This covers all main browser on Windows XP/Vista/7/8 and MacOS (more details at http://www.microsoft.com/getsilverlight/get-started/install/default.aspx System Requirements tab). Because of the Silverlight requirement, the client does NOT run on an iPad, Android or linux device.

      (3) When the client is started, the user gets presented with a list of available systems to which the user can connect. The only requirement for such a system is that it has a 7.21 or 7.40 kernel.

      (0) 
  3. Tuelay Asci

    Hi all,

    we realized Screen Personas at Teched and want to use it.

    Our Basis team installed the Add-on and SP01 (blank installation). Thats all we did sofar and we need some support how to do the configuration, how to get access to Screen Personas and so on.

    Please help with some documentation or configuration guides.

    Thanks and Best regards

    (0) 
  4. Santosh Gangurde

    HI All,

    I am new user to parsonas.

    Can we add different tabs in One screen.

    e.g. In T-code ME21N PO creation. From Header Org Data and from Item Tax can we replicate data on same screen?

    (0) 

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