UPDATE 29th September, 2015: The name of our new release has changed. It is now SAP Business Client 6.0″. That is, it is the next, incremental release after NWBC 5.0; we are dropping the “NetWeaver” to comply with new guidelines – many products, including SAP Gateway and SAP Enterprise Portal, have done the same thing. Also, I will be covering these topics in detail at Teched.

NB: SAP Business Client 6.0 requires SAP NetWeaver 7.5, or NW UI Add-Ons, v2.0 SP1.


This has been a hot topic for some time, but now is probably a good time to formalize some informal discussions, and outline the latest version of the roadmap. Now, firstly because Ingo Deck of this parish is releasing the latest version of the UI Roadmap soon, and secondly because I had the opportunity of addressing the ASUG UX Special Interest Group just before Easter (27th March), and presented this information to them.

The last time I presented a roadmap was Teched in November. The overall strategy was clear then, and hasn’t changed, either in my lecture (UXP106 : “What’s New in NWBC”), or in Nis Boy Naeve’s talk (TEC104: “SAP’s User Experience Strategy”):

SAPUIClientConvergence.png

– in particular: “The SAP Fiori launchpad (FLP) will become the web-based entry point for SAP business applications across platforms and devices” . If you look closely, this included a “Desktop” capability, ie support for SAP GUI for Windows native.

The challenge was to put some flesh on these bones, which we are now doing with the new roadmap. This represents less of a revolution, more an incremental change from the previous roadmap (Teched November 2014), but I think it is worth discussing here in some detail, because we have had so many queries on this topic, and I promised to keep you all informed.

Planned innovations

The first big news is this (from “Planned” in the roadmap slide):


Roadmap_Planned.png

I talked about this at TechEd 2014, but we have now moved it to “Planned”, so it should be available much sooner. This means that, for the first time, we will soon officially support Fiori content in NWBC. (;-) !). Users can access all their usual content (SAP GUI native, WD ABAP etc) and their Fiori apps from one index page:

IndexPage_toTimesheet_All_Wide.png

There are limitations:

… but for a simple ESS/MSS app, this still represents a big step forward.

This is our first step in realizing the vision of NWBC as a bridge between the established and new worlds, which we first introduced at Teched 2014.

Requirements: NWBC 5.0 or later, latest patch level; plus EITHER SAP NetWeaver 7.5, OR NW UI Add-Ons V2.0 SP0.

Catalog apps

All apps are available, but you need to configure the intent (=semantic object+action) in the Fiori Launchpad Designer.

See Configuring Navigation for more details.

Requirements: NWBC 5.0 or later, latest patch level; plus EITHER SAP NetWeaver 7.5, OR NW UI Add-Ons V2.0 SP0.

Future Vision

And the next big step is this:

FutureVision_Torn.png

So what’s changed?

  • First of all: NWBC for Fiori UX is an unofficial, working name for a concept that I alluded to at Teched 2014, but for which I can now offer more details:
    • Specifically, NWBC for Fiori UX SAP Business Client 6.0 will enable you to launch all your  Fiori content and your SAP GUI for Windows transactions directly from the Fiori Launchpad.  This is also the main idea of the first bullet point: “Fiori Launchpad in NWBC with SAP GUI native experience
  • Fiori Launchpad configuration for content” – enables you to maintain assign catalogs, groups, etc, directly in the Fiori Launchpad configuration environment
  • The third point is a corollary of this: “Enable business experts, not administrators, to configure content” – ie allowing customers to split authorization and content configuration -> making life simpler for both the LOB experts and the IT teams. This is something that many customers have been asking for for some time, so it’s good to get this implemented.
  • And similarly, the fourth point is also a corollary of the second:”Integration of content from SAP HANA” – ie by using Fiori Launchpad catalogs to access HANA content. Please note that this is not part of the first release of SAP Business Client 6.0.

This could look something like this:

FioriDesktopClientHomeV2.png

Open your Fiori Launchpad, click on the “My Sales Orders” tile…

FioriDesktopClientTransaction.png

and the intent-based navigation points to a SAP GUI for Windows transaction, which opens in a new tab.

The main limitation is that Desktop support is planned for Windows; we are not planning to offer a native Fiori desktop client for Macintosh (eg OS X), or Linux.

Requirements: SAP Business Client 6.0+ SAP NetWeaver 7.5 or SAP NetWeaver UI Add-Ons, SP1.

Summary

So the final step remains the same: Fiori Launchpad will become the Web-based entry point for SAP business applications across all platforms and devices. In addition, it will (as announced at Teched) be available in 3 flavors:

  • Browser – zero footprint, default for all, available for some time
  • Mobile – also available for some time, offering device integration and optimizing performance
  • Windows – offering SAP GUI for Windows support; available in future

… so your options look roughly like this:

FLP_3Flavore.png

Requirements: SAP NetWeaver 7.5, plus SAP Business Client 6.0.

I hope this clarifies our overall UI Client strategy. I will be updating have updated our overview slides accordingly.

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33 Comments

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  1. John Moy

    Hi Julie, I really appreciate you writing this blog post for us.  It clarifies some things for me, but I still have a question for clarification …. Is ‘NWBC for Fiori UX’ the same as ‘Fiori Client for Windows’ in the bottom image that you provided?  When I cheekily zoom in on the image of Fiori Client for Windows I can see the elements of NWBC (including for instance the button to Open Navigation Panel and Open Favorites Panel in the top left).  Of course, NWBC doesn’t run on an iMac so the image doesn’t quite correlate completely with my suspicions.

    😉

    So is it the case that SAP will start with the runtime of NWBC and eventually rebadge this as Fiori Client for Windows.  Or is NWBC for Fiori UX a SEPARATE parallel solution to Fiori Client for Windows?

    On a separate note, from a UX standpoint I would be interested to see how SAP reconciles the tile-based approach with the NWBC index page approach for navigating menu options. The tile-based approach was fine for SAP when dealing with the most-used scenarios.  But when you try to encapsulate everything a role requires, it needs considerably more.  For my recent NWBC project, we started with a blank menu and over the course of time, teams needed to add transactions / web dynpros / POWLs / BI reports etc. to each role on a justification basis.  For expert SAP users, in particular those back-office users in Accounting depts for instance, we found that they still needed a menu entry count north of 100 entries (some with as many as 400 menu entries – yes, really).  I don’t think the tile-based navigation would be so efficient from a visual and performance standpoint.  The NWBC index page navigation works really well because it is fast (cached locally) and coupled with the search feature (which includes search of the locally cached menu) allows very quick discovery which from a performance standpoint beats anything I have seen in SAPGUI, SAP Portal, or Fiori Launchpad.  So basically what I am saying is I’m not convinced the tile-based approach will scale well to some users who access many functions.

    Regards

    John

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    1. Samuli Kaski

      John Moy wrote:

      So basically what I am saying is I’m not convinced the tile-based approach will scale well to some users who access many functions.

      True. Maybe SAP will introduce hierarchical tiles or give the ability to have groups within groups. I believe even the home page framework back in the day had support for 3 levels: area groups, areas and sub-areas.

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      1. Julie Plummer Post author

        Hi Samuli,

        Yes you’re right it did. Hmmm. I’m not quite sure how to “Fiorize” the old 3.5 paradigm though 😉 .

        However, I will pass John’s comments on; also we will be co-innovating on this as I said; so I will let you know when I have more information. This could take some time though.

        Best wishes Julie.

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  2. Julie Plummer Post author

    Hi John, hi everyone,

    “NWBC for Fiori UX” and “Fiori Client for Windows” are both unofficial working names for the same thing. We are having some lively ( 😉 ) discussions about the name. To me, the name – whether “NWBC for Fiori” or “Fiori with NWBC capability”  – is not so important as the underlying function set. Main point is, though, no it’s not a separate parallel solution; it’s the same thing with 2 names (and which may yet be renamed).

    Also, we’re not quite finished yet! , which is why I said “…should look something like this…”. So, the moral of the story is: Don’t zoom in too closely just yet.

    Seriously, I know many of you want to see these innovations as soon as possible. So do I.  At present, we are looking at Wave 9 for the standalone apps, and H1 2016 for the <new client>. Standard disclaimer applies, but that is what we are aiming for; I will keep you all informed via this blog. Also, I will provide much more – details, and timelines – at TechEd 2015.

    Regarding the tiles: Yes, this has been raised by some other customers: We are looking into this, and also I hope that we will be co-innovating with some customers – on this, and other issues. ( I anticipate a lot of “brownfield” customers, where this will be an important topic). I will definitely pass on your comments to the PO, so thanks for that.

    Hope this helps to some extent. Please feel free (everyone) to post any other feedback or queries here – I will answer any I can, though obviously some info remains confidential at present.

    Thanks and best wishes,

    Julie.

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    1. John Moy

      Hi Julie,

      Thanks for your clarification.  I agree the underlying function set is important.  But I think the name might also be important.  For what it’s worth, I think you should name it Fiori Launchpad Desktop edition.  This way you completely ride on the wave of all the Fiori marketing which NWBC never had 🙂

      Regards

      John

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  3. Joao Sousa

    What happens if a user with a Mac clicks a “SAP GUI Windows” tile? I’m a bit disappointed that the “convergence” is Windows only.

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    1. Julie Plummer Post author

      Hi Joao,

      Yes, Jakob is right. NWBC for Fiori UX, like all the versions of NWBC before it, is only available for Windows, not Mac / Linux. This So we are not dropping any capability; we are just not expanding the capabilities for the new version.

      I am sorry, but I cannot see this changing in the foreseeable future.

      Best wishes,

      Julie.

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      1. Joao Sousa

        Don’t you think the missing NWBC for MacOS hurts it’s growth potencial? I’ll hardly recommend NWBC until this changes (which seems is never) because there are always people inside an organization that don’t have Windows, and NWBC doesn’t provide enough functionality (or stability) to make it worth it to go through the risk of having deployment issues.

        Personally I basically use WIndows/Mac on a 50/50 ratio, so NWBC is not an option for me.

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        1. Julie Plummer Post author

          Hi Joao,

          Don’t you think the missing NWBC for MacOS hurts it’s growth potencial?“ To some extent, yes. However, on the other hand, it allows us to get the Windows version developed and released that much faster. So, at present, it is a trade-off.

          I take your point and will pass on this message to the Product Owner, but I am not convinced that we will produce a Mac version of NWBC in the foreseeable future. If there is a Customer Connection in future, that would be a good topic for it, and would quite possibly resonate with other customers. However, we did a Customer Connecction last year, so we ar not planning one for this year.

          Best wishes Julie R Plummer.

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          1. Joao Sousa

            Thank you. Although I must say that I would rather it iterated slower and more consistently. Besides not having a Mac option, another thing preventing adoption from my end is the fact that NWBC was never as stable as SAP GUI. That’s the main reason, from my perspective, for the low NWBC adoption rate. I tried using it on several projects, but it was never up to par, which combined with no Java option made it impossible to recommend.

            NWBC should have replaced SAP GUI by now, but it hasn’t.

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            1. John Moy

              Hi Joao,

              One of the things I see is that as consultants we are informed by our opinions on earlier releases of product.  I personally think the later releases are stable (I am on a site with a user base of ~3000).  To me, the greatest thing that holds back NWBC adoption is inertia. Consultants implement what they know, even if it was from 1995.  Just think about it … if in 1999, we told our customers we were implementing a solution from 1979 – and we would put our hand on our heart and call that best practice, even if it was 20 years old.  Even if we were to say that SAPGUI is a little more stable, customers lose so much in UX (side panels, the ability to tap into SAP’s R&D from the past decade etc). And when we consider the alternative to host the web content … SAP Portal …. I have seen SAP Portal instances fail every so often and they bring down the entire user community.  At least with NWBC any issues are isolated to a single user.

              To me, it is important to move the ecosystem forward.  If there are issues encountered with the product, get them logged and fixed – I have personally found the NWBC team on the product support side to be quite responsive. 

              What I have found is that it is easier to rollout NWBC to a greenfields site, because the users are not hard-wired to having to remember 30 transaction codes in their head.  The problem is that consultants are hard-wired to operate that way, and we sometimes bring that paradigm to our implementations thinking end-users are the same.  On one rollout of a new SAP system with NWBC, when a team lead returned from the rollout and was asked how the rollout of (the entire) SAP went, the response he gave was ‘well, they really like NWBC’.

              I certainly agree with your comment …

              NWBC should have replaced SAP GUI by now, but it hasn’t.

              I’m hoping the tie-in to Fiori will force both customers to adopt the product, and for SAP to ensure it is the best product that it can possibly be.

              Cheers

              John

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              1. Joao Sousa

                Hello,

                I’ve been trying to use NWBC since 3.5. I used 3.5, 4 and 5. With 5 what happened was that it broke integration with ADT. If I opened NWBC the connection file became unreadable by Eclipse which makes it impossible to use (GUI 7.4 patch 2 hotfix 2).

                For some reason the search functionality in NWBC 5 isn’t working on my machine. Don’t know why, and with the ADT problem, I have little incentive to find out why. Sometimes it’s the little details that kill software adoption, especially when there are alternatives, and fat clients are dying.

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                1. Julie Plummer Post author

                  Hi Joao,

                  “NWBC should have replaced SAP GUI by now” – or strictly speaking “NWBC with SAP GUI embedded should have replaced the SAP GUI / SAPLogon standalone client by now”.

                  I think there are several reasons for this.

                  1. Inertia, as John said – definitely. Exacerbated by ecosystem inertia – there are plenty of direct incentives for, presales, sales, marketing, consultants, partners etc to recommend SAP Enterprise Portal, and none for NWBC. However, when SAP / Partners are aware of NWBC, they are often enthusiastic about the productivity gains, so ignorance is decreasing. A lot of my work now is multipliers, rather than one-to-one, for that reason.

                  2. The proxy problem: THe people who benefit most from NWBC, QUicklaunch , Side Panels, inboxes  / worklists, etc etc are generally using Suite transactions / appolications, whereas the people making the decision are often IT Admin – who don’t derive so much benefit. Enlightened customers who get real end users more involved earlier are more likely to implement NWBC.

                  3. The time lag: NWBC 5.0 is the first version to offer really tight integration with SAP GUI (7.4) – one installer, one UI landscape, no breakouts etc. NWBC 5.0 was released in October 2014. Since it can take roughly a year for a big customer to upgrade (SAP GUI or NWBC or both), I expect a greater uptake by end of this year, start of next.

                  4. Time lag again: The greatest gains from NWBC are probably in conjunction with Side Panel – ie EHP6. THe percentage of EHP6 or 7 customers with NWBC is very very high. So as more customers upgrade to the latest EHP, I expect greater take up of NWBC.

                  honestly don’t know why you are experiencing this ADT problem – I am not familiar with it. I would be happy to pursue it through OSS, but I get the sense you have given up. Let me know if you want to pursure this.


                  I agree that one day, fat clients will die. But most of our customers are not yet ready for this. SAP GUI+NWBC is a fat client, yes, (in fact the SAP GUI is much fatter, in simple desktop footprint terms, than NWBC) – but for now, most customers are not ready to replace Wingui with Webgui for on-premise systems – and while this remains true, they can benefit from the new Suite content – side panels, entry pages, worklists, Fiori apps etc – exposed by NWBC.

                  Bit more than my 0.02 ;-).

                  Best wishes,

                  JUlie R Plummer.

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                  1. Matt Harding

                    Hi Julie,

                    To your clarified comment:”NWBC with SAP GUI embedded should have replaced the SAP GUI / SAPLogon standalone client by now” – native sapgui is for functional consultants like eclipse is to developers in SAP – eg. It is a power user tool for implementation.  Hence while we still have clunky menu buttons in NWBC for SAPGUI screens, and slow responsiveness due to desktop search and similar in the “address” field; direct SAPGUI without NWBC is still the preferred option for those “implementers”.

                    NWBC, in my opinion, should be focused on end-users and not the other user types at least until the IMG is web enabled which unless you’re on S4/HANA in the public cloud; will be never.  This does raise the issue that implementers never fully learn how to use NWBC properly and the inertia is reduced, but hey.

                    IMO – SAPGUI logon in NWBC has hurt NWBC since I get functional people logging in via SAPGUI and seeing a reduced user experience accessibility, and correlate that to NWBC not being that great and head straight back to SAPGUI.

                    So in summary – please never remove the direct SAPGUI option (without NWBC), even though it’s disjointed in today’s age.

                    Cheers,

                    Matt

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                  2. Joao Sousa

                    would be happy to pursue it through OSS, but I get the sense you have given up.

                    I’ve “given up” on OSS, period. It frustrating enough to interact with OSS regarding server side issues, where SAP can go into the machine and see for themselves. Even there we are subjected to the constant back of forward of people clearly trying to get rid of the problem instead of solving customer issues.

                    Like I’ve said 100 times, lack of proper support leads to a lack of innovation. In my case just the though of having to interact with OSS makes me ignore NWBC at the first bug.

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                2. Angad Singh

                  Hi Joao,

                  The reason eclipse do not work with connection file after you NWBC or SAP Gui 7.4 because it enters following in the SAPUILandscape.xml file. If I remove the whole thing then I can consume connections in Eclipse. Now, I don’t know why does it do this.

                  1-08-2015 8-25-25 AM.jpg

                  Sorry guys, this might not be related to this discussion but I could not stop myself to share it.

                  Regards

                  Angad

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  4. Jakob Marius KjĂŚr

    Joao –> I would assume that it would just launch the SAP GUI for HTML version instead.

    Another comment:

    I have managed to create a workaround, where using a web dynpro application i am able “forward” a request from a tile to native gui and also web dynpro applications to achieve native NWBC for desktop capabilities like sidepanel etc.

    Anyone interested in hearing more about this, then i can write a blog post.

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  5. John Moy

    Hi Julie, just another thought comes to my mind.  NWBC currently is hard wired to Internet Explorer.  Whereas for Fiori, SAP appears to have optimised it for Chrome.  For this future desktop client, do you know if the alignment with IE will remain or whether multiple browsers will be supported?

    Regards

    John

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    1. Joao Sousa

      It’s not just optimized for Chrome, it doesn’t work properly in IE 🙂 . Sometimes I get the “this used to work” feeling and then I remember that I’m using IE.

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  6. Roy Brasse

    As a follow up to John Moy‘s comment.

    Microsoft’s browser roadmap shows limited support for Internet Explorer in the coming years.  Microsoft has announced Edge as their future browser.

    Does SAP plan on taking this into consideration with the NWBC roadmap? 

    The tight integration between NWBC and Internet Explorer has caused issues with NWBC deployments (Trusted Sites, Mixed Content Security, IE version, etc.)

    Now is the time to break free… 🙂

    Thanks,

    Roy

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    1. Julie Plummer Post author

      Hi John, Roy, and everyone,

      These comments are valid, and we are monitoring the situation regarding IE / Edge carefully. However, it is too early for us to make a public statement on this situation.

      As soon as we have a public statement to make, I will let you all know via this blog.

      Best wishes,

      Julie R Plummer.

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  7. Julie Plummer Post author

    Hi Matt, hi everyone,

    (@Matt I’m responding to your comment above of un 19, 2015 1:21 AM :

    “…So in summary – please never remove the direct SAPGUI option (without NWBC), even though it’s disjointed in today’s age.”

    No, we have absolutely no plans to completely replace SAP GUI standalone with NWBC+ SAP GUI embedded  – apart from anything else, it makes sense to keep the 2 separate entities for testing / patching etc.

    I realize I didn’T express myself particularly well: I meant at some point I hope that NWBC with SAP GUI embedded will be the preferred option for most Business Suite end users. Apart from anything else, we haven’t really enhanced the NW TXs (SE80, SM59 etc etc) with side panels, worklists etc, the way we have for the Suite, so I see the main benefit of NWBC as being for Suite users. That’s fine by us ;-).

    Hope this clarifies (and reassures a little).

    Julie.

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  8. Pablo Marco

    Hi Julie and everyone,

    We have deployed NWBC beginning of June and by September we will start using a couple of Fiori scenarios (My timesheet, approval of the timesheets and service entry sheet approval). As we also have a CRM system, we decided to go for a Netweaver Gateway Hub scenario installation. We expected with NWBC to have a single point of entry but when when in a work center we enter a link to the fiori launchpad, when users select it, it requests them to log in the system. I believe this is related of being to different systems but I wonder if somebody has faced this scenario and if there is a work around to enable a way to avoid this additional log in. By being already log in the ERP we expect somehow we could bypass this in someway but we haven,t found any option different from setting up SSO2.

    Any ideas or anyone facing the same scenario?

    Thanks

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    1. Samuli Kaski

      Your question is a basic question about Fiori Infrastructure setup. You have to enable trusted system connections from your Gateway system to both ERP and CRM. That said, unless you are actually referencing the Gateway system for both systems, it won’t work. If you have the need to reference a system bypassing the Gateway system, you should look into how to setup SSO for that system specifically.

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    2. Jakob Marius KjĂŚr

      Hi Pablo,

      We are using a gateway hub scenario as well. What we did was running the NWBC on the gateway (frontend) server and then access the CRM and ERP system from there. Make sure  to setup the trust as Samuli mentions. But then when you access the fiori launchpad via NWBC, then it is actually locally on the gateway server. However we are using NWBC for HTML, therefore the GUI access isn’t necessary, if your users need to launch transactions, then this isn’t an option as the users can’t use the address bar to access transactions as it will try to fire them locally on the gateway server, they would have to use the menu.

      Let me know if you need more details.

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    1. Julie Plummer Post author

      Thank you!

      Yes, we have a session devoted to NWBC: UX108. There will be plenty to say re Fiori integration ;-).

      I will probably blog about the TE session soon.

      Best wishes Julie.

      UPDATE: OK, I’ve now blogged on our Teched session, so do have a look:

      NWBC at Teched 2015: Oh yes

      I will be adding more info as it becomes available.

      Best wishes Julie.

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  9. Angad Singh

    Hi Julie,

    Thanks for providing us future direction of SAP #UI client strategy. Also, after reading other’s comments I believe there is fair point to understand what will happen to current investment or efforts put by SAP customers to align their #UI strategy with SAP. I noticed following in one of the TechEd (Berlin) presentation:

    1-08-2015 8-36-47 AM.jpg

    How do you correlate your discussion with above strategy? If SAP customer is putting development effort (customization, context based side panels etc) in NWBC desktop and roles are getting created with menus then does it mean there is no option for these customers to converge with SAP end #UI client strategy. How can we justify to them?

    In another scenario, if company just started with NWBC desktop (still in project mode) then what do we suggest to them?

    Regards

    Angad

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    1. Julie Plummer Post author

      Hi Angad,

      Yes, I am familiar with that slide. In fact, it featured, both in my presentation, and in the overall UX Stategy presentation by Nis Boy Naeve. So fear not: the overall UX strategy and the NWBC-specific strategy are fully aligned. All our development effort for the rest of this year, possibly beyond, is focused on NWBC-Fiori UX integration.

      Perhaps the slide you show is slightly misleading: It is quite true that you can launch all application types from Fiori Launchpad. However, it is perhaps not clear from the graphic that you will be launching SAP GUI transactions from FLP inside NWBC.

      In terms of roles, we   are looking carefully at this.  I will provide more details at Teched.

      So I personally do not see a conflict between the broad strategy from Teched 2014, and the strategy we are now implementing.

      Does this answer your question?
      Best wishes

      Julie R Plummer.

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  10. Pallayya Batchu

    Julie,

    What is the plan on side panels in NWBC for FIORI UX?  Will it be enabled only for GUI transactions or all types of applications? I can visualize side panels being useful even for FIORI applications.

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    1. Julie Plummer Post author

      Hi Pallayya, We are aware that displaying some kind of contextual information in various app types is useful, so we are looking carefully at this.

      Are you going to Teched? There is a session on Fiori apps, where you could raise this question:


      LV:

      UX111

      SAP Fiori Apps: An Overview
      Tue 05:45 PM – 06:45 PM Palazzo Ballroom D

      UX111

      SAP Fiori Apps: An Overview
      Wed 04:30 PM – 05:30 PM Palazzo Ballroom O

      Barcelona:

      UX111

      SAP Fiori Apps: An Overview
      Tue 16:45 – 17:45 L5

      Alternatively, you could ask at the Fiori cafe.

      Best wishes Julie.

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