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Two different approaches to implementing Fiori

A combination of the Fiori Launchpad, Fiori apps, and Personas is a big part of the the future for your SAP Enterprise software; however the journey is not a simple one for a customer.  There’s really two common ways an existing, non S/4 customer will get into Fiori which are:

  • “That Fiori app is just what we need; let’s implement it”, and
  • “I see the power that Fiori is going to give us, let’s build a vision, and build a UX strategy and plan on how to get there”

The problem with the first step is you may feel you are stepping into Fiori carefully, but realistically, you’re not going to be prepared and the ROI on your investment is going to be far from ideal.

Why you may ask?

Well it’s because the dependencies just to get started efficiently are not there.  See every Fiori app will typically require:

  • minimal versions of certain components;
  • will definitely require additional add-in’s you may not have, including some that may be required on your core ERP system which may require you to do large coverage regression testing if you’re a very touchy change managed organisation (e.g. Fiori My Inbox typically requires several notes to be applied to the workflow pieces of your connected ABAP stacks);
  • will require training for your developers;
  • will require licenses to be purchased for WebIDE on HCP (the SAP recommended development environment for Fiori web development);
  • will require installation and security approval/set-up for the HANA Cloud Connector (the software which provides a tunnel from on-premise to HCP where WebIDE is hosted
  • will require software versioning (usually based on Git)
  • will require authorisation and authentication design

And on top of this; how does the Fiori Launchpad and/or Fiori app you want to deploy fit into your current user experience? Do people expect this to work on Mobile devices like SAP advertise it does with no changes (business interpretation of messaging)?

In short, you get the TCO that supports a new User Experience but only receiving a single Fiori app deployment. That and you’ll probably take short cuts since it doesn’t make sense, for example, to set-up the HANA Cloud Connector or the Git repository for a single app; which leads to an environment less than ideal to implement more Fiori apps in.

But there’s another way

But taking the 2nd approach, things can play out quite differently.

First, you have a plan to understand how Fiori will, over time, fit into your users’ UX. This will include understanding where mobility fits in, which will hit the hurdles that your security & governance hoops you need to jump through. You can also get your licenses in place early (there’s actually a free 10 user/developer license that can be used for WebIDE which takes a bit over a week to get which can drive setting up HANA Cloud Connector too (which is another security & governance hoop for you to jump through).

Your developers can also start taking open.sap.com courses to get up to speed because they know Fiori is coming.  And if you’re outsourced, it does not mean you can’t suggest strongly that you are expecting them to start upskilling in this area. BTW – Starting this week is Developing Web Apps with SAPUI5 –   which should be a really good follow up to Build Your Own SAP Fiori App in the Cloud – .

    

The big advantage of planning ahead (the main reason for this post)

While there’s lots more to state about the benefits of having a vision, including ratifying the vision with peers within the SAP ecosystem before realising you’ve gone down a rabbit hole of unsupported scenarios, the important point I wanted to make is:

  • If you research the Fiori apps that you think may benefit your business; you can then apply the required add-on’s, notes and update your Gateway back-end “bits” when you do support packs for these apps!

If you do do this, and have some of the other pieces in place also, then within a single day, you can test out 15-20 Fiori apps in a single day with very little effort and see how well they actually work “out of the box”.

The only catch to this is the pace of change within the Fiori space so unlike with Support Packs, 6 months is a long time so you may want a newer release than you have installed, but it doesn’t mean the version you have is not supported still so not all is lost.

Now how to know what Fiori apps to prepare for? Well that’s what the Fiori Apps Library and the Fiori Trial is for.  You obviously have to filter out the incompatible apps but send these out to your SME’s or SAP minded functional owners to review; get their input; then use the installation information for each app to identify the prerequisites for your Support Packs which you pass to your Basis team to take care of during support packs.

The perfect customer to be asked to implement Fiori apps at

So just to come from a different angle to wrap this post up; the following is what I’d like to see if asked to implement a few Fiori apps at a customer:

  • A UX Vision and Strategy that incorporates Fiori, mobiilty, etc; and understands where Fiori Launchpad fits in (though thisdefinitely evolves if it’s your first set of Fiori apps).
  • A company that runs at least IE11 (or even better – Chrome) since there is no support for <IE11 any more.
  • A back-end system (or systems) with all the required add-on’s for the apps requested in place already.
  • All back-end systems have a suitable patch level of Gateway on it.
  • Licensing for WebIDE with a HANA Cloud Connector set-up, either talking to an on-premise Gateway/Fiori server, or the HCP Fiori Cloud Edition.
  • If running HCP Fiori Cloud Edition, confirmation the Fiori apps are supported on that platform.
  • If running an on-premise Gateway/Fiori server, preferably installed with UI Add-On 2.0 and patched fairly recently (and as this is the innovation layer, the ability to update this relatively quickly with updates to the UI add-on’s, and UI5 versions).
  • A Git Repository for “Fiori” (aka UI5) code.
  • Chrome browser available on development PC’s.
  • Developers who are passionate to learn UI5 and have done their homework at open.sap.com already 🙂

Feel free to add further “perfect customer” requirements below in the comments as I’m sure there are many learnings out there…

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17 Comments

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  1. Tejas Chouhan

    Strongly agree !!. Its better to do a homework, like openSAP, the best thing available in market free of cost. I mean what is now not available in Fiori space. Earlier Fiori was only something new in the market, which customers were scared to adapt. But now with the confidence and new UX strategy SAP has focussed on. Customers are happy to go ahead with the pace and implement ASAP.

    People who dont know what Fiori is capable of, can go to SFCE (www.sapfioritrial.com) and login with the trial account and can play around with standard apps readily available, enhance them, connect your onpremise systems, change theming as per the client’s standard and demo it. 🙂

    Cheers !!

    regards,

    Tejas

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    1. Matt Harding Post author

      Thanks Tejas. Nice additions and strengthening of my points!  And the SFCE is an awesome addition when it comes to understanding Fiori.  Regularly use it to see how SAP have done certain things.

      Cheers,

      Matt

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  2. Yogendra Ahuja

    Licensing for Web IDE?….what are the consequences, if I develop an App on Web IDE and deploy to my on premise production environment without having the Web IDE licenses?

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    1. Matt Harding Post author

      I’m no legal guy, but really, if you create your extensions using using just notepad or vi and then upload to your Gateway server; you’ll be fine. WebIDE is not a dependency for writing extensions. 

      The concern I raised was more around getting on-premise connectivity supported by the customer; and having an official HCP account enables this. Sure you may be able to secretly deploy the HCC using the developer edition against your trial account (it’s like a hack for developer’s to get it up and running without governance/security knowing); or if maybe the version of the local WebIDE works for you (and you’re comfortable with not being truly supported if something doesn’t work or you miss a more recent feature); then so be it.

      That all said, there’s a free license available for WebIDE licenses for customers now, so seems like a no brainer now days if you can get HCC set-up…

      Cheers,

      Matt

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  3. Jocelyn Dart

    Great post Matt! Absolutely agree on the need for planning… especially…

    Do not pick a Fiori app by it’s cover… at least check the pre-requisites

    Seen a few customers literally go bowling along into a project based on the title of the Fiori app alone… only to find it then needs some module they don’t have – like MDG or Retail.

    As for my perfect customer…

    Never mind a full-blown UX Strategy (and I say this as a UX Strategist) … the intent to evolve your UX strategy is enough to get going

    What I consider absolutely critical is “we listen to our people” – i.e. our end users.

    I want a customer who actually cares about how this is pragmatically going to fit with their end users.  I want a customer who routinely gets down on the frontline to understand their end users’ concerns. Then I know this can really work.

    Customers who take a purely technology focussed view and abdicate user experience decisions to IT and business process experts who wouldn’t know their end user if they fell over them …can expect a bumpy ride.

    Cheers,

    Jocelyn

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    1. Matt Harding Post author

      Thanks for the additions Jocelyn.  To your points; just noticed a new feature in the Fiori Apps Library that only shows you potentially compatible apps and ranks them too in terms of relevance that should help with the shopping list approach of customers  (except using the st03 data I had, I saw no Fiori apps so maybe a little buggy).

      UX Strategy and Design principles – if they have thought through the Fiori Launchpad, and where it fits into the organisation and how they will manage having potentially 2 ways of doing something while they are building out Fiori – then that’s probably enough…But depends on the level of investment in Fiori – Change management is hard – thinking and getting input on a design; can be quite easy comparatively.


      And completely agree with end users being king (except for developers/UX people of course) – luckily most I deal with know this to a degree (or I preach it if they don’t).

      Cheers,

      Matt

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  4. Jelena Perfiljeva

    Oh dear… I better run to tell our management since there seems to be a belief that all we’d need is to install an add-on or something and, of course, it’s free, so why not. (Now there are WebIDE / Cloud licenses, whaaat?) Darn SAP marketing. 🙁

    As a side note – I was not a huge fan of the openSAP Fiori class, although many others liked it. IMHO if you’re a developer just looking for practical information quickly then the SCN blogs would be a better source. For example, this list (which annoyingly pops up in the feed every time Aviad Rivlin updates it, ahem 🙂 ) seems like a good starting point.

    Thanks for sharing, Matt!

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    1. Matt Harding Post author

      HI Jelena,

      I discovered the value of open.sap.com beyond my own learning recently, and that was for developers who are not as passionate as us who need to be encouraged to learn new things. e.g. These are people who didn’t even know what made up Fiori and were mostly fairly senior custom development people (and don’t get me started on the lack of OO usage/knowledge/reuse).

      On a side note, I’m hopeful the new SAPUI5 course is more detailed/difficult and less marketing/superficial than some of the more recent open SAP courses which has been an issue in the past.

      Anyway, because of the structured content and the award 😉 at the end; a consulting company can encourage their developers to attend this and they work together to learn (mostly out of hours and during lunch because they’re consultants).

      Unfortunately, if it wasn’t for courses like this; I’d be hamstrung with so many basic questions like; what’s WebIDE, JavaScript is just JAVA right, etc?  That said, it will take someone a good 3-6 months (or more) to learn the basics of Fiori/Gateway development, but many companies are expecting developers to pick it up by themselves during a project.

      And thanks for pointing out the link – Following Aviad’s updates now too…

      Cheers,

      Matt

      ps. I’m still bewildered by the lack of OO knowledge (design and development) in ABAP’ers and wish SAP would do an open.sap.com course about that even as thinking about reuse on implementations is sorely lacking. Though oddly enough, one developer recently mentioned to me that he likes functions in SAP and hasn’t learnt OO since SAP delivered OO classes are harder to comprehend in SAP (which in a lot of cases is true within SAP).

      BTW – I think I digressed 😆

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      1. Simone Milesi

        On a side note, I’m hopeful the new SAPUI5 course is more detailed/difficult and less marketing/superficial than some of the more recent open SAP courses which has been an issue in the past.

        i hope so too.

        i keep signing into open sap courses but i crash every time into boring marketing that kills my willpower so i leave the courses until they are over and i can do some cherrypicking of the lessons i found interesting.

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        1. Jelena Perfiljeva

          Simone, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve only taken one course so far (but have taken openHPI before, which I found to be superior), but dozed off too frequently. Well, I don’t want to pollute comments here, that’s what the course feedback is for. Just hope someone listens…

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  5. Frank Clement

    Fully aggree.

    Indeed, I like very much the connection with HCP and all related benefits. As usual, I am always sorry that customers have to go thru a long and painful (mainly for their wallet) process to implement innovative solutions with their SAP landscape.

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  6. Jocelyn Dart

    Hi folks

    If you are looking for SCN Blogs then Jeremy Good has been collecting up the better stuff through All Things SAP Fiori

    With opensap most courses do some positioning stuff in week 1 … & go deeper after that.   What I personally like about the opensap courses is that they have consistently included the most up to date material & latest information on features & direction.

    You always have the option of enrolling “self paced” & cherry picking the material of most interest to you. 

    rgds

    Jocelyn

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    1. Simone Milesi

      Hi Jocelyn,

      it’s true, we can enroll “self paced” but this way we risk to loose the community discussions / support since the community is more active during the “normal” course lifespan.

      And some courses like the one on SAP Fiori, to be effective, need it.

      Still, i keep enrolling and trying to learn something new but i think that some improvement for “pure tech” people will be really appreciated!

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    2. Jeremy Good

      😳   Jocelyn – thank you for the shout out to the All Things SAP Fiori document (and associated content), but I am merely a humble participant in the much larger SAP Fiori space and global community at large.  The collection of content and continued SAP Fiori collaboration from community members all over the globe is what makes it exciting to be a small part of.

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