Many of the customers I talk to have end users who still rely on the old SAP GUI user interface. It’s been around for so long that many people are used to it and can speed through transactions. But for new or infrequent users, it is often daunting. Too many fields and menu options. Screens that don’t look like those in other applications.
SAP Personas is a relatively new tool that enables business users to personalize and simplify the SAP GUI user interface without programming and share their customized interface with other users.
To show our chemical customers what they can do to simplify daily tasks and improve their users’ experience, we decided to re-design the user interface for one of the most commonly adopted Best Practices for Chemicals scenarios – Order to Cash. We picked this scenario for our example figuring that the one thing process manufacturing companies have in common is that they all take orders from customers, ship goods, bill the customers, and get paid – and in many cases pay a carrier for transportation.
Going through this process in SAP Business Suite involves using a number of different steps and transactions: create a sales order; create, pick, and pack a delivery; create a shipment; calculate shipment costs; pay the carrier; bill the customer, and receive payment. In some companies, a different person might perform each step. In other companies, many steps might fall to the same person.
SAP Personas enables authorized end users to personalize individual transactions and/or to design a workspace for one or more specific employee roles. In our case, we decided to make all the order to cash functions available in one workspace whose screen you see below.
Look like the SAP GUI menu? I think not. But behind each button is a standard SAP transaction whose interface we also simplified. So, for example, the transaction to create a shipment looks like what you see below.
We added a cool background, removed fields we didn’t need, changed text labels to correspond to what we really called the data elements, and generally simplified – all using a straightforward drag and drop process that created a personalized layer on top of the existing transaction. Many such personalizations (called “flavors”) can be created for the same transaction by authorized end users. The flavors can be selected from the “Flavor Gallery” option you see in the upper right hand corner of the screen. And the user always has the option of reverting to the standard transaction.
Our experiment resulted in a sample, re-designed interface for the whole order to cash process. Your example could look quite different. But if you’d like to see our vision of these transactions, look at the recordings on our Best Practices web site.