Currently there are 2 C4C iPad apps available in the App store. The so called Native app which is based on HTML5 and the Responsive one, based on Fiori. The first app is available since the 1402 release and the Responsive app became available in the 1502 release. In my last project we had to choose the app for the endusers, in our case sales representatives, to work with. The decision was made in October, so based on the 1508 release of C4C. In this blog I will explain the differences (related to our scope) between the apps, approach, our choice and the reason behind this.

Online

Because  the Responsive UI (Fiori) is the future for C4C (and other SAP products) it was our preferred app to use. But to get a better view on both apps we started testing our main processes in the Online version of both apps. The sales representative processes (on a high level) we had to cover where Visit management (incl. surveys) and Quotation management (incl pricing call to ECC). After a week of testing we came to the conclusion that both apps were capable of supporting the main processes.

An important subject we discovered during testing was stability. The Responsive app crashed more then once and we also encountered several minor issues in this app. The Native app behaved as as expected without any issues. At that moment we could live with the minor issues in the Responsive app.

Look&Feel: Native (left) vs Responsive (right)

Offline & Synchronization

After we finished the Online testing we started testing the Offline (without WiFi or 3G/4G connection) capabilities of both apps. Before you can test offline you have to synchronize data to your device in order to use this data offline. A big difference we see in the Offline setup of the apps. For the Native app the end user can decide what objects (max 2500 entries per object) needs to be synchronized within a specific time frame. For the Responsive app this set up is done by your administrator. The administrator must set the objects and the maximum amount (max. 5000) of the objects that must be synchronized per business role. After the settings were made we could start and test the synchronization. This immediately resulted in some doubts. Where we did not encounter any problems with synchronization in the Native app, we had several with Responsive. Sometimes it crashed, gave a unexpected error or stayed synchronizing for hours.


Because our end users will use the offline mode quiet often we had to consider these issues (synchronization and in functionality) in our final decision.

Reporting

For our project we did not have any specific reporting requirements so this was not part of our decision but there is a big difference in this part. The Native app does only support operational functionality and no analytical. If you have analytical wishes you have to use a separate app: SAP Customer Insight. The Responsive app supports operational and analytical requirements in one app. This is obviously a big advantage because your users does not have to switch between apps.

Future

In recent contact with SAP we were told that the Responsive app will be at least at the same level as the Native app as of the 1602 release. We certainly will check this!! The focus of SAP  is completely on the Responsive app so don’t expect a lot of new features in the Native app the coming releases. For example; fields created with the Key User Tool or via PDI are now supported in Offline mode in the Responsive app (associated logic on the extensions is not yet available). We see also other (basic) improvements in the Responsive app like sorting of results, better search options and additional functionality in objects.

Conclusion

Eventually we chose to use the Native app. The main reasons for this were the lack of Offline capabilities (no offline order intake) and several synchronization/offline issues in the Responsive app.

The high level steps we did to make a final decision:
1: Prepare (e.g. use this and search on SCN for related topics)
2: Determine scope and requirements
3: Test our scope in the Online mode
4: Test our scope in the Offline mode
5: Evaluate results
6: Decide

We’re now planning to use the Responsive app somewhere next year, after release 1605 or 1608. Colleagues of mine who are participating in other projects made different choices, mainly based on their project requirements.

Good luck with your choice!!!

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