VNSG meeting about SAP Fiori
Let me tell you about an interesting event organized by Dutch SAP user organization (VNSG) yesterday. The User Experience and the Custom Development focus groups joined forces and set up yesterday’s meeting about Fiori. The idea was to have Dutch customers present their experience, but unfortunately we couldn’t convince any of them to stand up to present. On the other hand, we had Marcel Smits, who is Fiori Factory Lead inside SAP EMEA, to tell what he learned about Fiori implementations at 90 customers.
Marcel introduced Fiori and emphasized the importance of great design, which creates an emotional connection with the end users. He talked about SAP’s goal to unify the UX for all SAP software. This means that the Fiori UX will be rolled out to all solutions. Not the Fiori technology, just the Fiori user experience. His first presentation focused on the Fiori apps roadmap per LoB where planned innovations are listed for the coming half a year and future innovations beyond half a year. Basically SAP releases a new wave of apps in each quarter. What we can notice is that the apps are getting more specific for certain tasks, some of them cover more complex processes, which took SAP more time to simplify. He made an interesting comment about a new WDA app for cost center hierarchy, which was released as WDA, because it was too complicated for the Fiori paradigm. Another interesting detail was about the My Benefits app, which is primarily created for the US market and therefore cannot be implemented “as plug and play” for the Netherlands. Marcel took some time to explain why some apps require HANA, while others don’t. He mentioned various reasons such as the use of HANA search models, use of HANA Live and the case of Fiori apps which require re-written, HANA-optimized backend logic.
Marcel shared his experience in Fiori implementations. He organized it along the 3 phases of UX adoption:
- Advise – What is my strategy and roadmap?
- Launch – How can I get started with deploying Fiori?
- Accelerate – How can I accelerate deployment of Fiori?
This presentation gave a very good overview and gave some very specific details at the same time. He talked extensively about the value of good design and he introduced the UX Value Calculator which can be used to quantify the benefits of great UX, in this case Fiori, and express the value in Euros based on many factors such as time saving of management. He talked about security around Fiori. Most SMEs use reverse proxy and SAP Web Dispatcher and larger organizations with more complex requirements implement SMP and Mocana. We had some conversation about SAP Notes, Marcel suggested to check them weekly, because they bring fixes, but also new functionality – which should be evaluated by customers. His advice was to keep track of all manual installations steps in Dev to speed up the setup of QA and Prod. Regarding project approach, he emphasized the importance of project management and he recommended the agile approach if at least 2 sprints can be defined in a project.
Aviad Rivlin, PM and SAP Mentor from SAP Labs Israel joined us virtually and presented via SAP Connect. He introduced the Fiori Launchad and gave a live demo. He defined FLP as “Intuitive, modern and easy to consume single point of access for bus applications and content”. He explained the 4 deployment options: ABAP (Gateway), JAVA (Enterprise Portal), Cloud (HCP) and HANA. He expects most customer to use the ABAP option, because it supports all Fiori apps. FLP in the portal works the same way, but the underlying technology is the portal and the Fiori apps run on the ABAP Front End Server. In case of HCP, the connectivity to on premise backend systems is provided by the Cloud Connector and the Fiori apps themselves run on HCP. He got questions about the future of FLP in relation to the SAP Portal so he spent quite some time explaining SAP’s UI client convergence plan covering alignment between Portal and FLP.
Wim Snoep and Leo van Hengel presented how to change and create Fiori apps. Wim talked about extensibility on 3 levels: backend (ABAP or HANA XS), Gateway/OData and front-end. He mentioned that modifications can be as simple as styling, but can mean introducing new functionality. He described his project approach consisting of 4 phases:
- Build services
- Build screens
Leo gave a nice live demo of Web IDE running on HCP trial. For many participants it was very interesting, because this was the first time they saw this new tool.
Finally Henny Claessens talked about his experience at AppHaus Heidelberg. This short presentation, more like a pitch, was nice to hear about this SAP initiative. It is basically a creative environment where SAP designers, developers, and customers can work together on new, innovative products in multidisciplinary teams. It aims at merging engineering and art. The Design Thinking workshop where Henny participated was about how to bring design education to SAP customers and partners in the form of DesignEd.
As far as I know this was the first time that students (from Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences) joined a VNSG meeting. We were happy to accept them to learn about Fiori.