Best SAPPHIRE ever! We had tremendous interest in SAP Screen Personas at the various customer sessions and in the Fiori cafe. It was great to meet several customers in person that I previously knew only by phone. And, as always, it was nice to reconnect with colleagues that I only see a few times a year. This blog post will discuss the highlights from my perspective (see also Steve Rumsby’s summary) and some interesting (and often incorrect) things we overheard at the show.
First, special thanks (in the order their sessions appeared in the agenda) to the customers that spoke:
- Steve Rumsby from University of Warwick
- Daphne Van Den Brule from Nestle
- Cheryl Sutton from Freescale
- Steven Soderberg from Vocera
- Sebastian Steinhauer
- Tina Tuan
- Dwayne DeSylvia
And to Katie Moser, who organized the UX presence at the Platform and Technology campus.
Left to right: Tina Tuan, Dwayne DeSylvia, Michael Falk, Johannes Wasserfall, Katie Moser, Sebastian Steinhauer, Peter Spielvogel
What made SAPPHIRE NOW so exciting this year for me?
Bill’s announcement about SAP Screen Personas (not explicitly mentioned, but part of the message) and SAP Fiori being included with the underlying licenses was very well received.
Steve Rumsby talking about the University of Warwick deployment in which he created a “Personas bubble” for his users (maintenance workers). Inside the bubble, they have a simplified and intuitive experience where they can complete their work without venturing into any standard SAP screens. My favorite take-away from this presentation was the quote from a new user that wondered why everyone complains about SAP since it is so easy to use. You can see his presentation about the SAP Screen Personas Co-Innovation Project.
Daphne and Andreas Hauser (global head of SAP Design and Co-innovation Center) sharing Nestle’s journey with Fiori and Personas. They discussed strategy, implementation tactics, challenges they faced along the way, and most importantly what they learned. This remains a key collaboration for us and I look forward to working with my colleagues at Nestle to bring a delightful user experience to their employees.
Cheryl’s amazing demo of the before and after scenarios at Freescale and how she packed 19 data sources into a single screen. And rolled out the entire deployment (single HR scenario) in about six weeks.
Our ASUG session and the demo theaters in which we shared a lab preview of the next version of SAP Screen Personas, which was largely influenced by customer feedback. Thank you to all our customers that provided input on what you like about Personas and the suggestions for improvement. Please keep them coming. Our goal is to empower you with the tools to make SAP simpler for your employees that rely on it to do their day-to-day jobs.
The migration workshop in which several regular Practitioner Forum participants got to meet face to face. We appreciate your openness and willingness to share knowledge with each other.
Discussion with the SAP Mentors (thanks Mark Finnern for setting this up) about SAP Screen Personas. Several people offered great ideas about how they might use Personas. While we do not encourage people to use Personas outside of the use case for which we designed it, as software developers, we appreciate interesting and creative workarounds that people come up with. Often, these eventually find their way into the product, although in a more elegant way. So, SAP Mentors, tinker away! One interesting and immediately actionable idea that came out of this meeting was for people to share flavors for specific industries or use cases. Let me know if you have any thoughts on this – or flavors you care to share with the Personas community. Flavor sharing (via export/import utility) is available in Personas 2.0 SP2.
Deep discussions about UX strategy in the Fiori cafe. It was great to have specialists available to answer questions about Personas, Fiori, SAP Design Services, or the UX strategy. Unfortunately, there are still some misperceptions about SAP Screen Personas that exist. See below.
More Myths about SAP Screen Personas
While SAPPHIRE NOW had some amazing highlights, SAP Screen Personas product owner Sebastian Steinhauer and I overheard some interesting conversations that revealed ongoing confusion about SAP Screen Personas and how it fits into SAP’s user experience strategy and roadmap. We’ll share what we heard, along with the reality. Consider this an extension of the “SAP Screen Personas Myth vs. Truth” series.
Personas does not require a separate server. It is an add-on to the NetWeaver ABAP stack. Most customers complete the installation and configuration in somewhere between an hour and a day.
Personas is not being replaced by Fiori. These are two complementary solutions. I had many conversations with customers seeking guidance on when to use which solution. While it depends on your specific needs, the quick answer is that if a Fiori app exists that meets your needs, you should try it. If you need new functionality, build it yourself using the SAP UI5 libraries. If you want to streamline SAP GUI transactions without requiring developer resources, then Personas is probably your best choice, assuming you do not have immediate mobility needs.
Personas and Fiori are separate solutions built using different technologies. Personas is an add-on to the NetWeaver ABAP stack. It was designed to make it fast and easy to simplify Dynpro (SAP GUI) screens that run on a desktop. Going forward, the DYNP, a core component processing every single interaction with the SAP GUI screen, combines information from the Personas add-on and the screen definitions from the Internet Transaction Sever (ITS), which resides inside the kernel. For optimal performance, Personas delivers screen personalizations as XML data via the DIAG protocol (used by the SAP GUI family).
Fiori uses a different approach. Fiori separates the application logic from the user interface using Gateway. It allows you to create apps written in SAP UI5 that run across desktops, tablets, and mobile phones. The apps link to SAP-delivered or customer-written/extended Gateway services, exchanging data using the ODATA protocol . While the go-to-market of these products has merged and many customers choose to use them together, they are separate solutions that are deployed independently.
SAP Screen Personas is here to stay. We are investing heavily in the product, moving it deeper into the core of the SAP application server. As you may have seen in one of the lab preview demos of the next version of Personas, we plan to make it available through the SAP GUI for HTML (Web GUI). In addition to removing the Silverlight dependency, this has the advantage of simplifying the architecture and paving the way for further performance enhancements. We have five tightly coordinated teams spread across three continents working on adding new functionality, boosting performance, and making Personas easier to use and manage.
Fiori does not require Silverlight. It never has and never will. I have no idea where this came from.
Personas works on all SAP GUI transactions. While SAP released Fiori to address the most common use cases, SAP Screen Personas also works on many of those same transactions. Your use case should determine which solution you use. If you need mobility, Fiori is the better option. If you need access to many fields at the same time or extensive personalization of your custom transactions, a desktop solution built using SAP Screen Personas may better meet your needs.
Currently, Personas only works on Dynpro screens (the majority of screens in classic SAP ERP). We are working on Personas for Web Dynpro, but this is NOT in the upcoming release.
What else did you hear about SAP Screen Personas at SAPPHIRE NOW? Was it true?
What were your favorite moments at SAPPHIRE NOW related to SAP’s user experience?
What open questions remain that you wanted to hear but did not?
(Our SAP Screen Personas roadmap remains on track. Unfortunately, revenue recognition rules prevent us from sharing any dates about upcoming releases. Recommendation: if you are interested in driving productivity through personalization with SAP Screen Personas, we suggest you download the current version and get started.)