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When we, the User Experience focus group of the VNSG organized a workshop for customers about SAP’s UI strategy in 2015, we got so many registrations that we had to disappoint most of the customers. Nis Boy Naeve, who was heading the workshop, promised us to do a second edition. This is what took place last week in Den Bosch at SAP NL.

We started the workshop with 5 minute long presentations from the participating customers which they prepared upfront. Each of them was asked to answer 3 questions:

  1. What does you company do? What are the business priorities regarding user experience?
  2. Can you describe your current system landscape including what is already planned?
  3. What concrete user experience challenges do you have?

I was really surprised by the maturity of the customers in the sense that they were very aware of the main lines of SAP strategy and they were busy with Fiori (planning, starting, implementing, etc.). Almost all of them are using Enterprise Portal and one of their main questions was how to combine Fiori with the Portal and other SAP and non-SAP systems. One aspect is the technical integration and another one is the challenge of creating a consistent user experience.

After the presentations SAP took the stage to give an overview of their UX strategy and to reflect on the questions. Nis Boy Naeve, Tobias Gollwitzer, Ingo Deck and Carola Steinmaier were running the show. I especially enjoyed the conversation we had about Fiori 2.0. Ingo explained how the notifications will appear in the upper right hand corner of the Fiori launchpad. At this point we asked about the future of Fiori My Inbox and we were told that this app is here to stay. Some of us were interested in the integration of workflows from various systems, e.g. SuccessFactors. They stated that SAP is in the process of developing connectors based on HCI and PO. Another interesting topic was about the “New, Renew, Enable” slide, which I think everyone busy with SAP UX has seen already. It has been now changed to “New, Renew, Empower”. While Enable was focused on the tooling, Empower is broader including education, best practices and UX design services.

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To my surprise many customers were not aware of Fiori cloud edition and the Fiori demo environment. Here is the URL everyone should check out: https://www.sapfioritrial.com/

We had a detailed discussion about how to provide consistent UX to SAP users at the moment. It is today’s reality that there is no Fiori application for everything and this is not even realistic for the future either. Providing a single access point is possible via the Fiori launchpad. Users can see tiles in the launchpad and the technology behind the tiles can differ. Some tiles will launch Fiori apps, some others will launch web applications with Fiori look and some tiles may just point to ULRs. Web applications can be visually aligned with Fiori with enablement tools such as SAP Screen Personas and UI Theme Designer. A good example for this visual harmonization is the SAP Screen Personas Flavor Gallery: https://personasgalleryimagineering.us1.hana.ondemand.com/PersonasGallery/

Carola gave a live demo of the new launchpad, which contained two new features:

  • Menu on the top of the launchpad to jump to groups directly, without scrolling down a lot.
  • Link area which allows the possibility to add links to the launchpad without creating a separate tile for each URL.

Few other points which I learned from the Q&A:

  • The Give Feedback function in the launchpad sends data to SAP. This will be a service on HCP, which customers will be able to subscribe for.
  • The SAP Business Client can open the Fiori launchpad as entry page, but side panels are not supported in the Fiori UX. The main benefit of integrating the Business Client and the launchpad is that this way transactions can be opened from the launchpad in the native client.
  • Collaboration functionality will be added to the Fiori UX, but knowledge/document management will not be added to the Fiori launchpad. This part of the Enterprise Portal is not covered by the launchpad.
  • UX as a Service is a bundling of HCP based tools such as Splash, Build and Web IDE.

The afternoon part of the workshop was even more active for the participants, as they were guided through the process of creating a UI/UX roadmap in groups. Each participant really liked this part.

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Tobias gave his recommendations how to create your UX-roadmap via Standardized Approach and he facilitated small exercises with the groups. After completing few of these exercises, each team had a roadmap. For round up each team presented their UX-roadmap and we all could ask questions and comment on them. It was interesting to see the differences. We discussed that one of the main challenges in creating a roadmap for multiple years is the fast changing nature of UI technologies.

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The evaluation of the workshop was amazing. If you know the Dutch culture, you know that such high scores are difficult to earn.

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I would like to say thanks again to Nis Boy Naeve, Tobias Gollwitzer, Ingo Deck and Carola Steinmaier from SAP and my partner in the focus group, Henny Claessens, for creating this workshop for VNSG customers.

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