SAP Fiori – First Thoughts
Last week during Sapphire Orlando SAP introduced SAP Fiori as a way to simplify Enterprise Software by providing a user interface that we are used to every day when we use Consumer Bases Apps for Itunes or Google Play.
After doing some investigation on the concepts of SAP Fiori i would like to share my finding with you.
Finding 1: SAP Fiori doesn’t fix diversity in configuration of SAP backend processen
The first release of SAP Fiori includes 25 apps for the most common business functions, such as workflow approvals, information lookups, and self-service tasks in the areas of HR, Sales and Purchase. Building Apps on top of SAP business processen is now common for the last 3-4 years. Before that we also build simple UI’s but just called them HTMLB or any other technology driven (web)application. What we have learned is that the diversity of the configuration in SAP backend processes is huge. Lot’s of organisation spend quite some time setting up their SAP mobile platform just to figure out that their backend processes are customised in a different way for standard SAP apps to work. In worst case scenario they have gone even beyond SAP standard processes and build their own logic. Annouchment of great looking new apps can create excitement within organisations but also lot’s of frustration when they don’t fit they way they have configured their business processes.
Finding 2: Finally Web responsive design
Thank you SAP, prays are being heard. After already showing some demo’s during last years Teched web responsive design has made it from just websites to productive applications. This allows organisations to deploy (and manage) a single code deployment that can serve any device on any platform running any screen resolution. (at least that the theory 😉 Proof is in the pudding. The demo video’s shows quite complex scenarios like “My TimeSheet” that i would love to test out on my mobile device running in both portrait and landscape mode.
Finding 3: SAP Fiori has a simplified system architecture
Architecture is simple and relies on three components. (for required releases please look at SAP Fiori Installation manual)
- SAP backend systems like ECC and SRM for business logic
- SAP Netweaver Gateway for providing oData interfaces to business logic
- SAP UI5 for NetWeaver Add-on to handle the HTML5 baed user interface
There is no need for additional (mobile) components. Authentication and authorisation is all handle by traditional tools like the profile generator (PFCG) and preconfigured rolls are delivered. There seems to be some kind of home screen configuration that centralise access to all apps.
Depending on your currently SAP backend system release you are able to run it directly from a single backend system. In reality most organisations will deploy a separate SAP NetWeaver Gateway Instance to run their Fiori Apps (and possibly other gateway based applications)
Finding 4: SAP Fiori doesn’t require SAP Mobile platform
With Fiori SAP is delivering (online web based) apps directly from the backend system. There is no more need for a separate mobile platform. To my opinion it does make sence that these apps can also be made available though the new SAP Mobile platform, enterprise edition, Cloud version. Main reason would be to provide a single platform to combine, and control, both SAP backend Apps and e.g. own build SAP Hana Cloud apps.
Since there are plans to also provide offline capabilities in the new oData releases less existing application will require SAP Mobile Platform.
Addendum 11-06-2013: The following side provides some insight in planned “offline” integration with SMP. My guess is that it will work on current MBO concept that get their data from the OData connection. Since there’s no MBO in the Cloud version of SMP we need to wait intill we get some more insight if (and how) Cloud SMP will support offline.
Finding 5: SAP Fiori has serious (functional) overlap with current offerings
There is no overlap for user experience point of view. I think everyone who took a look at the new Fiori scenarios must admit that they look great.
But if you take a closer look at the SAP Fiori Installation manual you will see that all scenario’s rely on the exact the same components in the backend system as their SAP Mobile platform Apps equivalent. If you take for example the Leave Request App for the SAP Store running on iPhone and the one that comes with SAP Fiori both use the backend component GBHCM0002 (as described in OSS note) So from a functionality point of view there doesn’t seem to be a lot of difference. You could say that actualy SAP Fiori is no more that just a different UI technology on top of the same business logic. It’s logical that all current Webdynpro based Self service application will shift to (Fiori like) HTML5 based apps. All current mobile native apps will follow.
Finding 6: Adoption of other UI technology
For SAP Fiori to work SAP has developed additional standard SAP Netweaver Gateway Models based with oData interfacing. Fiori uses SAPUI based HTML5 on top of that. If an organisation has already adopted an other UI Framework for deploying self services it should be relatively easy to build thier own UI’s on top of SAP Fiori Gateway Models. I hope SAP has adopted a clean MVC framework with Fiori that allows easy adoption of other UI frameworks. Looking forward how these gateway model can serve Microsoft Sharepoint based apps adopting oData (maybe Showkath Ali Naseem can comment and share experience) Since SAP and Microsoft are not delivering any standard scenario’s with Duet Enterprise i assume it’s quite easy to build your scenarios reusing Fiori gateway models.
Finding 7: Everything comes with a price
Currently SAP charges 100 Euro per user additionally for the use of the new Fiori scenarios. SAP please keep pricing simple. I would suggest:
- Include Fiori as a standard user interface options for named users.
- Introduce a subscription based pricing model for all self service scenarios.
Thank you on behave of 238.000 customers.
Finding 8: Download doesn’t come easy
One day after my initial blog i purchased Fiori for SAP Store and started download for installation on our test system. To my suprise Fiori doesn’t come 1 one package. Every scenario’s has his own download page and on each page there are at least 10 download object. Ouch SAP why not just one download. Or maybe 2 to separate between backend and Gateway.
Looking forward to you thought on my findings.
News links on SAP Fiori: