To ensure your SAP Fiori journey has a good chance of success, take a look at some lessons we learnt along the way. Our project went live with Fiori Launchpad to over 1500 users on PCs with Internet Explorer 11, Google Chrome to a small pilot group of Apple iPads. Here’s myfioristory.
1. Engage your customer with a Fiori proof of concept running on a mobile device
In our first 2 weeks, we set up an objective to have a tangible example of Fiori that our customers could touch, see and feel on an Apple iPad.
To deliver this rapidly, we spent some time to identify a range of regularly used SAP transactions that could be easily replaced with a standard Fiori application. A great example is the My Inbox application, which out of the box is very well designed and ready to demonstrate straight away with workflow approvals.
You could also cheat and use the freely available demos online but nothing builds belief like seeing Fiori work on one’s own infrastructure.
Once we demonstrated our completed proof of concept, the conversations around Fiori’s purpose and requirements gathering were much easier to have with our customer. There are some key ingredients to getting a proof of concept running quickly and that’s to engage all the right people very early when you start your project, which leads me to…
2. Know your target architecture and infrastructure before you start
Mobilizing Fiori involves many moving parts and it can be easy to underestimate effort required if you don’t prepare and engage the right people early on in your project. Depending on your organization, you may have to address aspects of:
- Networks (in particular Wifi or 3G, 4G, LTE etc)
- Hardware procurement
- Hardware warranty considerations
- Software licensing
- Mobile device management and support arrangements depending on the breadth of your infrastructure
Flesh these out as soon as you can especially if each aspect has a different stakeholder involved. On our project we started our Fiori build in parallel with infrastructure build. If you’re not sure what your final state of Fiori should look like, an achievable starting point is to have Fiori accessible on Windows desktops and one type of tablet mobile device in your first project phase.
If you are delivering Fiori desktop accessibility, the type of web browser that exists on your standard operating environment may cause issues. This is prudent especially if your organization uses an older version of Microsoft Internet Explorer. I found UI5 and Fiori tend to work well on IE11 or higher. If you’re PC’s are still on anything older I would be influencing all the power that be to upgrade to at least IE11 or a different browser like Google Chrome.
3. Simplify the way you access your SAP transactions
The Fiori Launchpad is an excellent mobile-enabled entry point for accessing slick mobile ready SAP transactions. Going straight to the Fiori Launchpad is not so straight forward if you have additional entry points like SAP portal, Netweaver Business Client (NWBC) and Business Objects Launchpad for reporting. My recommendation is to use your SAP Fiori Launchpad implementation to consolidate these entry points.
One way I was able to facilitate this consolidation was by building a custom UI5 wrapper application to make HTML applications like NWBC and portal transactions available within the SAP Fiori Launchpad. This also worked quite well for basic Business Objects reports too.
Making legacy transactions available in the Fiori Launchpad allowed us to bring the Launchpad early to users and start the process of converting each transaction/report to a standard Fiori application or a custom UI5 application over a phased approach.
In my guide An alternative method to launching HTML applications (SAP GUI, Webdynpro) within the Fiori Launchpad I explain the design of my custom UI5 application to achieve this.
4. Be responsive to user feedback
I cannot stress the importance of rapid changes to UI5 and Fiori applications to address user feedback. Rapid changes demonstrate immediate value to your customer. Immediate value builds trust between you and your Fiori users quickly. Addressing issues and bringing out constant improvements is all part of improving the user experience as well.
On our project we had an environment that favored quarterly releases into production. By building buy in with our proof of concept, we were able to build support for Fiori across the organization and as a result won support to utilize the agile project methodology and same day changes into production in the later stages of our project.
5. Use the latest patch levels. Patch at the start of your project cycle. Patch often!
Go with the latest version for SAP Fiori. I’ve seen discussions of using “N-1” versions which I think is a flawed approach because no build or version is bug free and in reality you’re going to have to live with some degree of issues. The other catch is unless you are across every single OSS note, you won’t know what these issues are until you actually implement. The exception to the rule is if a patch level is experiencing severe issues but these get fixed pretty quickly anyway if you’re not being silly with customizations. And also ask yourself when was the last time the latest software caused issues. In my experience most SAP implementation problems are caused by poor customization or configuration.
If you’re concerned about issues with using the latest I always update at the beginning of the project cycle which buys me time to develop solutions or raise incidents with SAP if I encounter any.
Throughout the duration of the project we covered SAP UI Technologies SPS10, 12 and 13 with no major issues. At the time of patching we were always using SAP’s latest releases. These patches also forced patches on other areas of SAP, which were not maintained over time.
6. Research and setup your development environment with the right tools
The beauty of SAP moving to web technologies is that it opens up a whole new world of tools to choose from. Make sure you have the following setup early!
- IDE or text editing tool – I would recommend getting WebIDE setup way before your project starts because acquiring the right production use license takes a little bit of time. Whilst your WebIDE is being setup, I’d also explore Eclipse Luna or Mars whilst you’re waiting with the Apache Tomcat web server. If you’re more adventurous you should check out advanced text editing tools like atom.io or sublimetext.
- Git code repository – It’s important regardless the size of your team to start getting your git habits on early. Whether you prefer to use command line or GUI you need to make sure you have some form of system in place.
- Update your technical skills – You’ll need some skills to brush up on to leverage these new tools, visit A beginner’s guide to skilling up for SAP Fiori and UI5 for more information.
7. Leverage SAP’s General Availability Care Program
I don’t know how much longer SAP are offering the General Availability Care Program for SAP Fiori but it has helped us significantly resolve issues quickly through escalation and focus on our SAP incidents. I do strongly advise to use this service wisely by only choosing specific issues that are significantly impacting your project as SAP get bombarded with tickets. My feedback which I had provided to SAP was that the program would have been used more effectively if we had the project coach come visit us once to create buy-in.
So there we have it! I hope you found our experiences valuable and if you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch with my senior colleagueVictor Yeoh or myself.