Latest Update: References updated for SAP S/4HANA 1709
By the way, if you are looking for the guides for earlier releases, our own Jorge Baltazar has an excellent summary in Fiori for S/4HANA – getting started with documentation
Like many new solutions SAP S/4HANA comes with a plethora of guides, help documentation, roadmaps, and diagrams – and of course the Simplification List. Sorting out which of these are relevant to the UX/UI Lead can be a challenge. Based on direct project experience this blog clarifies which guides are most useful for User Experience consultants.
Starting our first S/4HANA project can be a daunting proposition – particularly for On-Premise deployments which are often far more complex than pure Cloud solutions. As with many new solutions there seems to be so much material to wade through before we can start on our assigned tasks. Where do we find the best information? Which guides are really useful? If this is a Proof of Concept or early Pilot, which guides can we ignore for now (until we get to a productive setup)? Where are the gotchas and one-liners hidden? Is there anything missing?
Based on real project experiences it’s worth knowing that for the UX/UI Lead so much of the material aimed at functional consultants is largely irrelevant. Even the beginning of all S/4HANA wisdom – The Simplification List – gives guidance as to what tiles and apps need to be activated, but not how.
UPDATE: As of SAP S/4HANA 1709, the Simplification List is also available as an interactive Simplification Item Catalog.
Tip: By the way all S/4HANA consultants absolutely must read the Simplification List to understand the difference between ERP and S/4HANA. Even as a UX/UI consultant we want to understand what it contains and be able to redirect functional consultants to the Simplification List when they are looking for functions that are no longer supported or recommended.
So what guides do we need and where are they?
Let’s start with the end in mind: What are we trying to achieve at this point of the project?
For the UX or UI Lead the first tasks are typically:
- Confirm the desired system landscape as it pertains to UX
- Configure the Fiori Foundation (Fiori Launchpad, Fiori Search, User Assistance, et al)
- Activate Fiori and Other App Types in scope
- Activate Common Apps and Launchpad Features (Fiori Search content, My Inbox, Notifications, etc.)
- Adjust parameters on Analytical tiles and Overview Pages (e.g. currency)
- Configure & Test Fiori Launchpad, Apps and Launchpad Features for Business Roles in scope
Assumptions and Prerequisites:
What we won’t cover here is what’s needed to install the S/4HANA landscape or the various S/4HANA solution packages. That’s a task for the Basis/Infrastructure Lead and there is an excellent guide for them in the blog series:
What it’s definitely worth knowing as a UX/UI person is that the software that underlies the Fiori Launchpad, Launchpad features, and the apps in scope are all part of the S/4HANA install. So as a rule the one thing we won’t need to ask for is for additional packages to be installed for the apps and features in scope.
TIP: That said if you want to keep track of what Fiori apps have been activated we may want to give the Fiori App Activation tool a try in which case we ask our Basis/Infrastructure lead to include the small package SAP UI FIORI CONFIG. You can also use this to activate apps as an alternative to the mass maintenance approach explained in the SAP Best Practices Guide for Fiori Apps Deployment (MAD),
By the way, we also won’t cover extensions to the standard – that’s a whole topic in itself for a future time – but we’ll touch on that at the end.
Guides we will need to complete these tasks are:
- Fiori Landscape Recommendations
- UI Technology Guide
- SAP Best Practices for user experience in SAP S/4HANA
- Fiori Apps Library
- Other S/4HANA Guides
Tip: In a hurry? Go straight to the SAP Best Practices S/4HANA UX Guides.
Let’s take this step by step.
Fiori Landscape Recommendations
The best place to find information on the Fiori Landscape for S/4HANA is far and away the EA Explorer where it is listed as Landscape Scenario IV (Fiori Frontend Server and S/4HANA)
There are two (2) components that the UX/UI consultant needs to confirm are definitely in the S/4HANA landscape:
- SAP FES – the Fiori Front End Server in Hub mode
- Web Dispatcher
Front End Server in Hub Mode
So yes the Fiori Frontend Server is usually SAP Gateway (there’s a variation on this if we are using Fiori Cloud).
Ok so technically we could use Landscape Scenario FES as an Add-On but this is generally speaking not a good idea.
Even with S/4HANA both Fiori and SAPUI5 its primary underlying technology are still moving at a very rapid rate. Sooner or later – and it’s going to be sooner – we will need to upgrade that FrontEnd Server to take advantage of the latest and greatest out of the box capabilities. S/4HANA 1610 is delivered with SAPUI5 1.40. Even since the start of 2017, SAPUI5 1.42 has been released with a bunch of useful extra out of the box capabilities – such as being able to cut-and-paste text from one UI5 control (i.e. roughly anything a user can see on the screen – text area, button, tab, label, input field, form, etc.) to another; and flexibility improvements in the Fiori 2.0 Notification Center.
When we first set up S/4HANA apps it’s easy to think the Web Dispatcher is superfluous to requirements – after I can call the Fiori Launchpad and Fiori Apps directly in the Fiori Frontend Server – but that would be a mistake. There are two (2) pieces of functionality that rely on the Web Dispatcher even if we are only doing an internal proof of concept with no external internet access:
- Fiori Search
- User Assistance
Don’t even contemplate setting up a S/4HANA system without these!
Fiori Search gives a user the ability to type in any random id or code (think some random reference number sent by a customer) and find all the matching objects in the system and then launch the relevant app to view/action them.
And of course User Assistance is a huge benefit for the change management challenge – especially for those dyed in the wool SAPGUI users who need to get used to the look and feel of S/4HANA.
What about Cloud, SAP Cloud Platform, and non-SAP
If we are adding in additional components such as Cloud, SAP Cloud Platform or non-SAP solutions we can find the equivalent recommended Landscape options for those under “Other Content of the same category”. Yes they all recommended Fiori Frontend Server in hub mode too.
Once we have confirmed the landscape and the solution is installed we want to get to work activating the S/4HANA UX. For that we will need to get our hands on the UI Technology Guide.
UI Technology Guide
The guide to end all guides for the UX/UI consultant is the UI Technologyide for S/4HANA. This is a PDF provided in the SAP Help Library S/4HANA section for the relevant S/4HANA release. It’s an excellent reference guide we draw on time and time again.
We can find similar information via the S/4HANA Product Assistance under UI Technologies in SAP NetWeaver.
The UI Technology Guide is excellent as a reference guide but is not intended as a step-by-step how to setup the S/4HANA system guide. For that – whether we are using SAP Best Practices Content or not – we want to get a hold of the Best Practice S/4HANA UX Guides.
Best Practice S/4HANA UX Guides
These are delivered as part of the SAP Best Practice Content that can be found in the Best Practices Explorer, however we can also get them from the depths of the Administration Guide for the implementation of SAP S/4HANA 1709. Like all of the S/4HANA Best Practice Guides, each of these has a 3 character code for quick reference, e.g. MAA for Fiori Foundation Configuration.
These are the guides available:
- SAP S/4HANA Fiori Foundation Configuration (MAA)
- SAP S/4HANA Fiori Basic Network and Security Configuration (MAB)
- SAP S/4HANA Fiori Transactional App Deployment (MAD)
- SAP S/4HANA Fiori Launchpad Operation (MAG)
- SAP S/4HANA Fiori Other App Type Deployment (MAL)
Now if we are doing a proof of concept only – using a throwaway landscape that will never become any part of our productive landscape and only turning on standard out of the box content – then we can put aside the MAB and MAG guides until later.
For a step-by-step approach we want to start with MAA, then move to MAD, and finally MAL.
VERY IMPORTANT: Now just about everything in these guides will need to be completed – and in the case of MAD and MAL it needs to be completed multiple times depending on the number of business roles and apps to be activated. So we want to work methodically and logically – tracking what we have and haven’t done. If we need to skip over a step – e.g. because we are still waiting for the Web Dispatcher to be put in place – then we want to note that so we can come back to complete it later.
SAP S/4HANA Fiori Foundation Configuration (MAA)
Base configuration of system connections (RFC Destinations and System Aliases), the Fiori Launchpad, Fiori Search and User Assistance.
It also includes the Web Dispatcher parameters needed – we want to hand them over to our Basis/Infrastructure Lead responsible for the Web Dispatcher and check back with them to make sure that they are completed. We can carry on configuring in the meantime but note that the Fiori Search and User Assistance will not work from the Fiori Launchpad until the Web Dispatcher is configured correctly.
SAP S/4HANA Fiori Transactional App Deployment (MAD)
The guide for activating Fiori apps. As S/4HANA 1610 already has over 500 Fiori apps, and in S/4HANA 1709 there are over 950 apps, we want to do en masse per business role as explained in Leading S/4HANA UX – Role-Based for App Discovery and Activation
SAP S/4HANA Fiori Other App Type Deployment (MAL)
The guide for activating Web Dynpro ABAP apps and SAPGUI for HTML transactions launched from the Launchpad.
Both the MAD and MAL guides will require us to extract app activation details from the Fiori Apps Library. For this we need to know the list of business roles in scope (ask the project manager).
Tip: We always want to add in the ADMINISTRATOR and ANALYTICS EXPERT roles – these have a lot of common functionality apps and a lot of apps that we need to extend or create our own apps later.
Fiori Apps Library
Ok so by now most of us are well aware of the Fiori Apps Library that holds a summary of each app and its activation details.
How to work with the Fiori Apps Library is explained in Leading S/4HANA UX – Role-Based for App Discovery and Activation
There are a couple of other tips worth knowing:
- Always double check we are looking the details of an app relevant to our S/4HANA version
Just because an app was available for Business Suite or Suite on HANA this does not imply it is available for S/4HANA. It may have been succeeded by a new app, or it may be waiting on further simplification of that area in S/4HANA. Or it may be a S/4HANA Cloud app and not available for on-premise. Even between different versions of S/4HANA an app may have been superseded. Where apps are available on multiple platforms we need to make sure we use the platform dropdown to get the correct implementation/configuration details for activation in our version.
That includes getting to the right App documentation for our version!
- Just because it is listed as an app that doesn’t mean it exists as a tile in the Fiori Launchpad
Some apps are reuse blocks that provide common functionality to other apps, some are sub-apps that appear in the Personalization dialog in the Me viewport of the Fiori Launchpad, some are sub-apps for specific tasks in My Inbox.
You’ll find this explained more in Leading S/4HANA UX – Not every app is a tile
- Within the details of each app, take note of the System Alias used, and look for the link to the Implementation Documentation link
Many apps have additional configuration steps in the Product Assistance help of S/4HANA. This is especially true for My Inbox and its sub apps such as My Inbox – Approve Purchase Order.
Other S/4HANA Guides
Apart from the main guides listed above and of course the:
…it’s worth dipping into the some of the other documentation from time to time.
Administration Guide for the implementation of SAP S/4HANA 1709
The Administration Guide is a goldmine of small – “did we forget to mention?” – extra configuration steps and general guidance. Such as for the Attachment Services (see the Prerequisite Settings section of the guide) that are shared by many apps.
What’s New in User Interface Technology 7.52
The What’s New Guide is a good general reference giving a heads up on some of the nitty gritty of how different UI technologies work in S/4HANA.
General Functions for the Key User
Whether or not they are in scope, we always want to include the business roles: ADMINISTRATOR and ANALYTICS EXPERT. In the General Functions for the Key User documentation we can see these have a bunch of common apps such as for scheduling jobs, creating forms and email templates, sending output. They also include apps that we will need to extend existing apps, create new apps, and troubleshoot “no data” / “no authorization” issues.
The Fiori Launchpad guide is one of my favourite guides for making the launchpad work how we want it, including Launchpad Designer, enabling/disabling shell features, and of course troubleshooting and performance options.
And the User Guide is great too!
Fiori 2.0 Notifications
Ok so there’s not a lot of information about how to configure the Fiori 2.0 Notifications yet, but what there is we can find in:
Last but not least, check out the S/4HANA Product Assistance documentation. This is especially useful for understanding the configuration of Overview Pages. It’s also useful for My Inbox scenario specific configuration, such as “Inbox Configuration for <area>” for Environment Management, Incident Management, and Health and Safety Management.
Where to next from here
Knowing where to find the best information takes a lot of the anxiety and drama out of activating S/4HANA UX. The guides we’ve looked at here are in general excellent and extremely helpful and stand us in good stead on the project frontline.
Of course there’s much more to User Experience than just activating our S/4HANA User Interfaces – but it’s a good starting point from which to discuss fit/gap use cases, extension/BYO scenarios, and Change Management approaches.
To continue our journey, once we have activated our S/4HANA UX and all the apps in scope, then we need to come to grips with:
- Security concepts, especially the Launchpad driven authorization concept
- Extension and BYO app options
These are topics worthy of their own blogs. But to whet your appetite, that’s where we want to go back to the MAG/MAL and UI Technology Guides for our first hints of what is to come.
All the best for your S/4HANA project!
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