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With UX Explorer SAP just introduces yet another website focussing on user Experience. I couldn’t help to write this short blog to express my frustration about all the new websites SAP is introducing trying to make clear that the do have a solid User interface Strategy.

Maybe it will help you to provide some overview.

so here we go:

Sites by SAP:

Other websites:

Wikipedia:

I’m sure there’s plenty more. Feel free to share with me. I’ll update the overview.

cheers

@pimdewit

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9 Comments

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  1. John Moy

    Hi Pim,

    Good observation. I don’t think SAP is sending a coherent message with all these sites. Indeed, it is starting to mirror the story with SAP UI technologies themselves, where we continue to see new ones introduced (eg SAPUI5, Personas) which simply add to the older ones which still remain.

    Cheers

    John

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    1. Juergen Jakowski

      Hi John,

      If Ford is coming up with a new car, would you expect that all previous cars have to be removed from our streets, though people still benefit from using them? I hope not… 🙂

      Example: While someone might like SAPUI5 and can generate benefit out of it, another one might keep on Dynpro ABAP. At the end, a customer strategy is – to me – much more than a copy of a SAP UX strategy. There are many parameters to consider before you take your decission. Why should we remove these options that are still of value for portion of our customers?

      However, I fully agree that a coherent message is needed and transparency about the values and features of everything needs to be provided. I think this is the main challenge. Not to replace things but to explain things, bring them into relation and differentiate the options?

      Wouldn’t you agree? 🙂

      Regards,
      JJ

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      1. John Moy

        Hi Juergen,

        Thanks for joining the conversation.  Personally, I’m not sure the car analogy quite fits.  But lets run with it, and take it from a customers perspective (rather than the manufacturer’s perspective – in this case Ford).  Lets say I want a car for the weekday commute to work.  Something small and fuel efficient.  I might also want (if I can afford it) a sports car for weekend drives.  But what I don’t want is to have to store and maintain every model of car that Ford has produced, accumulated because Ford hasn’t yet provided the all-in-one car that I need.  There is a large cost of upkeep in skills and maintenance to do that.  And in some ways that is what customers now need to do.  There are years of evolutionary cycles of UI technologies that haven’t yet converged, and so customers need to live with the various forms, have end-users make sense of them, and also keep skills across all of these (with the associated cost of ownership this can impose with skilled resources).  If a customer has ERP they of course will have some classic Dynpros.  Then perhaps some Web Dynpro ABAP to deal with if they implemented the lastest ESS/MSS (or alternatively Web Dynpro Java if they are on an older release).  If they have CRM they will need to deal with CRM WebUI which has its roots in BSP.  Even when we look at forms technologies, customers have to maintain a bundle of sapscript, smartforms, and Adobe forms because everything has yet to be converged 100% into a single technology. 

        I do understand that there is an argument that you can’t have a one size fits all approach to UI technologies, but I am fearing we have reached a critical mass whereby there are more options than the average customer can make sense of, or cost effectively support.  The UX Explorer site https://uxexplorer.hana.ondemand.com lists 24 UI frameworks … surely if SAP was to approach UI with a clean slate, it wouldn’t have created 24 different frameworks for all the various use cases?  What we are seeing here is partly the need to cater for different use cases, but also partly the legacy of having to hold onto older UI technologies because the newer ones have not 100% successfully replaced the old.  A CEO of a large global company once told me that technology people are good at creating new technologies, but not so good at decomissioning older ones.  His challenge was that for every new technology introduced, he wanted to see two older ones decomissioned.  I’m thinking that advice would have been beneficial (albeit very challenging) in the SAP UI space.

        Just my thoughts.

        Regards

        John

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        1. Juergen Jakowski

          Hi John,

          I’m just realizing that my answer was just dealing with “one side of the medal”, reflecting the technical options one has to develop UIs.

          The other side of the medal is of course how a customer uses or has to use UI technologies that are connected to the applications being adopted. So you are right, the car analogy might not be the best one, even when I liked it a lot while writing… 😀

          Actually, the current scenarios at customers might be exactly as you have described. Its a mix of different UI frameworks, depending on which applications are adopted. The new/renew/enable thinking of the SAP UX Strategy exactly deals with this point. As seen with the SAP Fiori apps, we already working on bringing bundles of applications together on one framework. The same happens in the SAP Business Suite with the renovations of core apps towards FPM/WDA (which is by the way a process we are in for quite a while). Yes, their will remain a mix at many customers but at least we will try to make this mix as small as possible. As you can see in the SAP UX Strategy paper our main focus is on SAPUI5, FPM/WDA and of course Dynpro ABAP, using SAP Screen Personas as enabling tool for customer adaptations.

          I fully agree that we have to continue to reduce the mix required through the adoption of applications. But I would still keep up the statement that even while SAP is not using a UI technology anymore, customers who have developed their own apps on these technologies should remain save, too.

          Besides the frameworks, I think an additional way to tackle this topic is by looking into the topic of integration of these frameworks. Here I think of SAP NetWeaver Business Client or SAP NetWeaver Portal.

          Does that all make sense? 😉

          All the best,

          JJ

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          1. John Moy

            Hi Juergen,

            Yes thank you. That all makes sense.

            And I am a big fan of NWBC4.0 (implementing it right now) as that does help.

            Cheers

            John

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  2. Juergen Jakowski

    Hi Pim,

    actually, you did the same observation I did some time ago, when I started to think of a solution for that. However, to me it was not the number of pages that raised my interest. It was more the content itself. Honestly speaking, I share John’s opinion that is is hard to provide a coherent message across all channels and websites. But again, I think this comes back to the content. If we would have the content just once, sharing it across all pages, I think you agree that this would be ok for all of us. And exactly this is what we are currently working on with you activtiy around SAP UX Explorer.

    Unfortunately, UI / UX is a broad cross topic which of course includes a lot of information. To me, this is the callenge of our time to get this huge amount of information handled and has not much to do with SAP in particular.

    Just to validate that I’m seriously talking about this, you have to add SAP Help Portal, and Service Marketplace as well to your list. And I agree, there might be other places like YouTube, were you also can find more information.Nevertheless, we also have to admit that besides the overlapping part all the sources might have, they also provide plenty of great, detailed and specific information.

    So, what is the solution for all of us.

    I believe it is SAP UX Explorer. The last weeks I always say that it has the potential to become the glue between all these different sources of information. The idea with SAP UX Explorer is to give you the opportunity to:

    1. Explore (the topics thar are of interest for you)

    2. Understand (the value and features of each topic and how it fits to you)

    3. Act (by generating a learning curriculum, collecting more information through additional – existing – resources, start leveraging the topics and so on)

    Point 3 is where we currently working on.

    While SAP UX Explorer is in a Beta mode right now, I think that it already provides you with the value to explore and understand things at one place. You also get guided to other places with more details.

    Comming back to your list. I would hope that – together with the community – we can grow up SAP UX Explorer to become the central information portal in regards to UX and UI. But even if we would reach this target, the others will still remain, as they provide more details to specific topics:

    SAP Design Guild (get more details on design topics)

    SAP User Experience Community (discuss about design topics)

    SAP SCN UI Technologies (get more details and discuss about UI technologies)

    SAP Screen Personas (is to me nothing else than SCN UI Technologies, redirects to SCN)

    Of course, I cannot speak for all other pages outside SAP.

    Are there currently overlaps in these areas? Yes.

    Are we currently working on elimating as many overlaps a possible? Yes.

    Are we trying hard to share the same content through various site instead of uploading different versions of the content to multiple places? Yes.

    Are we already completed with this process? No..

    After all, I’m happy to see that you made the same observation and therefore I’m confident you will like the current version and the coming versions of SAP UX Explorer as the starting point into UI / UX knowledge… 🙂

    Let me know what you think.

    All the best,

    Jürgen

    PS: Sorry for the long explaination… 😉

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  3. Former Member Post author

    Hi Juergen,

    First short reaction.

    I’m very pleased with your comments and explanations. It’s not often that the responsible SAP persons proactively engage. Personal compliments to you. I find the time the upcoming days to go through your comment in more detail and (if needed) adjust my blog.

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