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Author's profile photo Tamas Szirtes

User Experience in HR

The User Experience focus group of the Dutch SAP user organization (VNSG) had a meeting today about UX in HR. When Marcel Rabe and I decided to set up this meeting around HR, our goal was to tackle questions like:

  • What does SAP offer to provide great user experience for HR?
  • Knowing that there are many options (Fiori, Mobile, Portal, Cloud, NWBC, etc etc), what do companies do?
  • What is the roadmap and vision of SAP?

We invited the members of the HR focus group too, so we had a mixed audience with Dutch customers and consultants focused on UX and HR. Unfortunately we couldn’t get a bigger room, so we had to limit the registrations.


We started with some updated about our UEX focus group:

  • The number of members keeps raising, now we are at 346
  • We are busy to engage with SAP about UEX vision and prepare a feedback workshop in Walldorf
  • We are influencing SAP in various ways: Customer Connection regarding NWBC, Customer Engagement Initiaties in SSO and Project “Magnet”
  • We are organizing a special theme day about UEX on Dec 11
  • Our next meeting will be about Fiori on Oct 23 and will be organized together with the new Custom Development focus group.
  • We recommend for everyone interested in UEX

The first presentation was about the Dutch post company PostNL from René Kolpa (PostNL) and Susan van Someren (Xbow-IT).  Rene talked about their HR strategy as part of their complete landscape strategy. PostNL has almost 60000 employees, 2550 post offices in the NL, operates in more European countries with € 4+ billion revenue. They have an “All cloud strategy” meaning that all systems should be in the cloud by 2016. The goals of this strategy are cost flexibilization, decrease absolute costs, move to future technology, speed and focus on governance. Susan gave concrete examples and a live demo of SAP technical solutions which PostNL has implemented as part of this strategy. They are replacing the SAP Portal with NetWeaver Busines Client to simplify the landscape. They think that moving to the cloud will mean less control over branding, so already as preparation they are consolidating on one design, which is almost SAP out-of-box. They replace UWL with POWL inbox and Interactive Adobe Forms with Web Dynpro ABAP Forms. They are planning to implement ESS scenarios in SAPUI5 to provide better OS/browser support than AIF.


Universiy of Utrecht/UMC, in contrast to PostNL, achieved the improved user experience in the SAP Portal. Gonen Frenk (Nextmoves) explained how user friendliness was enhanced by using logical icons, consistency in design, understandable error messages, etc. UU/UMC have decided to bring their corporate branding to the portal. Their success was founded in user centric design and the involvement of a professional interaction designer. Technically speaking, it resulted in a custom portal framework based on the AJAX framework in Enterprise Portal 7.3


The Amsterdam transportation company GVB talked about how they integrate Microsoft and SAP technologies for eHRM. Alexandra Hustinxk (GVB) and Jan-Willem Goes (The Next View) introduced the challenge at GVB: they have 3750 employees, among them many older men with lower education, so the design had to consider this user population. An important requirement was to support any device, so they decided for responsive web design. The solution architecture consists of SAP backend, Gateway, Duet Enterprise, the Cordis myHR suite and SharePoint. GVB is very satisfied with the result, they get 200 unique visitors per day, out of which 75% from remote access (e.g. employees on the road).


The customer story of ProRail was presented by Pieter Van Reisen (HuRis). He explained that SucccessFactors is a best of breed HCM Suite including talent management, Core HR, HR Analytics, Social collaboration, etc. SuccessFactors is clear market leader talent management, but Pieter explained that it offers great UX too. He demoed a whole list of little, but very useful UX solutions: clickable tiles, easy navigation, little extra functionalities which make it just better e.g. record the sounding of your name, quick lookups, quick links, graphical overviews e.g. org chart, “print and go” feature to take offline all necessary docs for a meeting, context sensitive video helps, personalization of home page, etc.


There was an unexpected twist to our meeting. During this meeting the SAPPHIRE keynote took place in Orlando and just before Martine Fase’s (SAP) presentation we got the news that Fiori became “free”. This good news energized the meeting and indeed Martine explained that among the many UI options, SAPUI5 and Fiori are raising fast and are future proof options. On the other hand, at the moment the current set of Fiori apps don’t cover all ESS/MSS functionality, so HR Renewal, especially version 2.0 offer very attractive functionalities. Martina placed these HR related options into the overall SAP UX strategy covering New, Renew and Enable.


Thanks again for all the presenters, it was a great VNSG UEX afternoon!

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      Author's profile photo Simon Kemp
      Simon Kemp

      Excellent Tamas, thanks for sharing! Can I join the group too 😀

      Author's profile photo Tamas Szirtes
      Tamas Szirtes

      As a speaker, of course! If you arrange your travel, I arrange your admission 😉

      Author's profile photo Simon Kemp
      Simon Kemp

      I thought maybe my 4 months in Den Haag qualified me as Dutch enough, alstublieft! 😆

      Author's profile photo Aviad Rivlin
      Aviad Rivlin

      Very nice blog Tamas! Thanks for sharing.