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Leading S/4HANA UX – Role-Based for App Discovery and Activation

One of the early challenges facing UX and UI Leads on S/4HANA projects is gathering the list of Apps that are possible for S/4HANA and their associated configuration information. This blog shows how following the Fiori Design Principle of Role-Based speeds this process ensuring the optimal Fiori bang-for-your-buck on S/4HANA projects; and demonstrates a typical flow in the Fiori Apps Library.

While installing S/4HANA delivers a Big Bang collection of new Fiori user experiences, the actual Apps you want to use still need to be chosen & individually activated.  Only once you activate the apps will they be available for use.  Every app exposes certain data as well as user interfaces, so you only want to expose the apps you are actually going to use.  This minimizes: data exposure risks; confusion for users and project team; and support issues.

Early in your S/4HANA project as a UX Lead you will need to sort out which Fiori Apps are actually available on your S/4HANA product version. Similarly as a UI Lead you will need to gather the configuration information for all the Apps to be installed. You will need to do this even if you are using Best Practice Content because, while Best Practice Content provides some of this information in spreadsheet lists, it’s normal for the project to want to add some extra apps not covered by Best Practice Content.

This will involve delving into the depths of the Fiori Apps Library to explore:

  • Which Fiori Apps are available
  • For each App you will also need to gather:
    • The App type, which is the starting point for app behaviour, app feature potential, and troubleshooting
    • What needs to be installed on Frontend (Gateway – if On-Premise) and Backend servers, as these may be optional modules on S/4HANA
    • What ICF nodes and OData Services need to be activated
    • What Search Connectors and other analytical components need to be activated
    • Where to find the associated sample Fiori Tile Catalogs and security roles
    • What SAP Notes to check first for any queries re correct configuration, expected behaviour, or support fixes

You can collect this information individual App by individual App but with over 550 Fiori apps in S/4HANA 1610 that’s a very tedious and time-consuming approach.  Surely there is a faster and more efficient way? Yes there is. Aggregation by Business Role!

Business Role for holistic, prioritized view of available apps

You might be wondering – why filter by Business Role? Surely we just want to grab the whole list of apps for S/4HANA.  Well having been through this personally several times now, and played around with the different filter options in the Fiori Apps Library, for S/4HANA the “By Role” filter is the most reliable method for finding all Fiori Apps that can be run on S/4HANA 1610.

Searching “By Required Backend” alone – as suggested by this otherwise excellent guide – misses out on Apps that can be run on optional modules in S/4HANA.  Searching “By Product Version” only reveals the Apps where your version is the “Leading Product Version” and misses inherited apps from previous product versions and common apps that run on all SAP backends and solutions, such as My Inbox.

Searching by business role also makes sense from a project viewpoint as when project timelines are constrained you can prioritise apps based on:

  • Which apps are relevant for users in scope for the current project phase
  • Which apps are needed first/next based on functional consultant availability

Aggregation for Efficiency

Using aggregation you can quickly:

  • Eliminate apps only available on Cloud or On-Premise depending on your S/4HANA version
  • Eliminate apps that are not relevant on your version of S/4HANA
  • If upgrading to S/4HANA, identify and eliminate apps that are superseded by new apps on your version of S/4HANA
  • Download spreadsheet lists of ICF Nodes, OData Services, and SAP Notes which can then be uploaded into accelerator tools such as the Fiori App Activation tool or Task List configuration (transaction STC01) – for more details reference the UI Technology Guide or Best Practice Fiori Apps Deployment (MAD) guide)

To start this process someone needs to provide a list of the business roles in scope – usually this is the Project Manager.

There are also 2 roles you ALWAYS want regardless of whether they were asked for or not:

  • The ADMINISTRATOR role – which contains common apps for email/form templates, job scheduling, custom CDS views, and custom fields, among others
  • The ANALYTICS SPECIALIST role – which contains configuration apps for Smart Business tiles

NOTE: Be aware that if you are using the Best Practice Content you may be given business roles that do NOT contain any Fiori apps and have Web Dynpro or SAPGUI content only.  For these you must check the Best Practice content to get the list of Web Dynpro ICF nodes to be activated in the Backend (S/4HANA core) system.

Working with the Fiori Apps Library

Here’s a typical flow you can follow starting from the Fiori Apps Library home page

Select Apps by desired Business Role

In the Categories list, select By Roles 

Then select the specific business role

Aggregate Apps relevant to your S/4HANA version

Select all apps – using the Select All icon at the top

[OPTIONALLY] You can also deselect any apps explicitly not needed using the checkboxes next to each app

Press the Aggregate button – this takes a few seconds so wait for it to finish.

Check the correct system and release are selected – if not use the dropdowns to adjust. Restrict the list of apps to your system and release using “Remove unavailable apps” button.

If there are a large number of apps you may find you need to follow the “Selected apps not available in … ” option to find the “Remove unavailable apps” button.

If you are upgrading and some apps have been superseded you’ll see this as follows. For a fresh install you want to remove the “Successor also chosen” apps with the matching delete icon.

You now have a final list of apps you can use for that business role in S/4HANA. If you want to simply download the list of apps use the List View button in the footer to do that.

Collecting App Activation information

In the aggregation view, scroll down to find:

  • Any related required apps due to dependencies
  • Aggregated Configuration Requirements
  • Required SAP Notes

Expand the configuration requirements.

Download the list of ICF Nodes and the list of OData Services to be activated in the Frontend Server (i.e. Gateway system if using S/4HANA On-Premise).

If there are any Web Dynpro Applications you’ll see a similar download option – remember these will need to be activated in the Backend (S/4HANA) system.

Use the Export options to export to a spreadsheet – like this example for the ICF nodes.

It’s also a good idea to grab the list of Search Connectors
These you will activate via transaction ESH_COCKPIT in the Backend (S/4HANA) system.

Similarly Download the list of Required SAP Notes.

BE WARNED: many of these are composite notes or contain general advice that you should read.

These SAP Notes should be your first port of call for any issues or confusion around configuration needs.

But what about …

One thing I don’t worry about too much at this stage is gathering the technical security role ids. I can always get those again later following much the same approach…and with 1610 we have a much easier way of creating security roles. But that’s for a future blog.

ONE LAST TIP: You will definitely need to keep a list of ALL the Apps you are activating… for security authorization, for launchpad customization, and for testing.

Good Luck!

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