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The Power of Design Thinking in Fiori Application Development

Last week the NIMBL team visited SAP for a Co-Innovation workshop where we are partnering with SAP to build a Fiori application that runs on the HANA Cloud.

Our use case is for a Transportation company that ships millions of dollars of goods each year.  One major issue for them (and most transportation companies) is the impact that weather has on transport.  If there is severe weather that will affect a shipment the Transportation Planners are forced to scramble at the last minute to try and reroute the delivery.  This results in lost revenue by: 1) having the company pay to find another carrier/day to deliver the goods OR 2) having an unhappy customer that is forced to receive a late delivery.

NIMBL came up with a solution that can help the Transportation Planners determine Risk potential for shipments well in advance.  Our idea is to have a Fiori Dashboard that pulls in upcoming deliveries from SAP and calls a Weather API that gives us the forecast for the delivery addresses.  The government has come up with KPI models that predict how weather can affect ground transportation.  Using the power of HANA, we will compile the data and show it to the user in an easy to consume format.

Before attending the workshop we spoke with one of our customers to gather requirements for the Fiori application.  When we arrived at SAP, we were met with a Design Thinking coach.  We were told that the first two days of the workshop we would be working with the coach and our customer to dig deeper into the needs of this application.

Here are the activities that really helped us design the application:

Creating a Persona:

The objective of this task is to define WHO will be using the application.  What is their objective? What do they need to do their job?

In our case this was the Transportation Planner.  Through this exercise we determined that this person is very busy and needs to be able to access the information quickly and easily.

This exercise changed our entire design.  Our original idea was to have the user enter search parameters based on Transport orders. The flaw in that is now the Transportation Planner has to type in search criteria before they can access the information that they need.  Now, our plan was to have a dashboard that shows information that the user can filter if needed.

Mapping the Process Flow:

This involves mapping out the entire solution using a process flow.  What are the steps and endpoints involved?  How will the user’s interaction effect the design?  What logic needs to be built-in?

We began by drawing out exactly how our flow was going to work.  From the Transportation Planner accessing the application to calling real-time weather API’s to check newly proposed delivery dates. This task really helped us determine the tasks that were involved in development. Additionally, it revealed flaws in our design that we could not see before.


This task is creating the entire User Interface for the application using Tools that contain UI5 controls.  It allows the business to determine if there is anything missing (fields, logic). This is also a very useful tool for the developer.  Now, I can look at what I’ve created for the wireframe and develop based on those specific controls.

Overall, the experience was extremely eye opening, and the power of Design Thinking was realized for us during this conference.  We plan to incorporate this methodology on custom Fiori projects going forward.

Here is a screenshot of our final Dashboard Design:


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      Author's profile photo Bernd Herold
      Bernd Herold


      Congratulations to your nice Fiori app for Transportation Planners, leveraging the power of the HANA cloud and depth of SAP Business Suite. Well done.

      It was great to have the NIMBL team joining us for this co-innovation workshop and it's exciting to read about your positive experience while participating in this workshop.

      I am glad that this was an eye opening experience and that you will incorporate the Design Thinking methodology in your Fiori UX projects going forward. It's indeed a very valuable methodology.

      I wish you all the best.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Sarah,

      Great that you apply Design Thinking to projects. Your point about "Creating a Persona" is very important. Too often a super user who is afraid to "lose" functionality is in charge of the specification and you end up spending 90% of development time on complex features that are rarely (if ever) used 🙂

      Author's profile photo Krishna Kishor Kammaje
      Krishna Kishor Kammaje

      Completely agree. 

      One of the ways we used to convince the end user (who is fearing of loosing the functionality) to agree to a simple UI  is by giving a NWBC tile in the launchpad  for all the complex-rarely used features.

      Author's profile photo BAlwant Singh
      BAlwant Singh

      Great blog!!