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Now updated for S/4HANA 1709

SAP Fiori is the user experience bringing SAP S/4HANA innovations to your employees. So selecting the right SAP Fiori apps for your business is a crucial step in deriving optimal business value from your SAP S/4HANA solution. In this blog we outline the major considerations when selecting apps.

NOTE: While many classic UIs – such as SAPGUI and Web Dynpro ABAP – still provide valuable business logic for experts, it is the SAP Fiori Launchpad and SAP Fiori apps for SAP S/4HANA that provide access to the most important benefits of digital transformation that S/4HANA brings. You should also be aware that some classic UIs you may know from SAP Business Suite or  SAP Business Suite on HANA are discontinued as part of SAP S/4HANA Simplifications.  You can check these and the recommended alternatives in the SAP S/4HANA Simplification List.

There are 3 main considerations when selecting SAP Fiori apps of SAP S/4HANA for your business:

  • Your Business Priorities and Strategic Direction
  • Your Business Roles
  • Your SAP S/4HANA Version

Let’s take a brief look at each of these and finish with a few thoughts on the risks of not including SAP Fiori apps in your SAP S/4HANA project

Your Business Priorities and Strategic Direction

There are 2 main questions that are the guiding principles for Fiori app selection for your business:

  • How do you want to transform the working lives of your EMPLOYEES 
  • How will transforming the working lives of your employees transform your BUSINESS

Answering how you want to transform the working lives of your employees gives you an idea of WHAT you want to change.  In other words, where is the BUSINESS VALUE for your employees that will promote organizational change & will speed user adoption.

It’s helpful to look at both the OPPORTUNITIES you want to take advantage of as well as the CHALLENGES you want to overcome.  This directs you to the sorts of benefits and improvements you are looking for, and the advantages that will provide to your users.

For example:

To Achieve Your Transformation Aim Select Fiori apps that provide
Reduce training costs especially when onboarding new employees or when employees change their business role

Simple transactional UIs

E.g. Post G/L Journal Entries, Create Purchase Requisitions (from catalogs), Clear Incoming Payments, Record Inspection Results, Manage Supplier Invoices, Process Address Screening Hits, Manage Imports for Master Data Quality, My Leave Requests (Version 3), Post Goods Receipt for Delivery, Schedule Goods Issue for Deliveries

Simple ways for business process owners and experts to easily monitor & act on the business objects and processes they are responsible for

Simple “Manage <business object>” apps that give easy oversight of what is happening and  easy options to explore details and take action,

E.g. Manage Recurring Journal EntriesManage Customer Line Items, Manage Purchase ContractsAsset Master Worklist, Manage Sales Orders, Asset Transactions, Manage Diets, Manage Bank Statements, Check Cash Flow Items, Mass Changes to Purchase Contracts, Manage Customer Returns

Provide real-time insights for expert users so they can decide and act faster

Overview pages where the expert can see their insights, filter and act on them together

E.g. Procurement Overview Page, Order to Cash Performance Overview Page, Multiproject Overview, Outstanding Billing Overview, My Sales Overview, Overview Inventory Management, Resource Scheduling for Maintenance Planners, Foreign Exchange Overview

Promote a paradigm shift from transaction processing to Processing by Exception

Decision support apps that may include Predictive Analytics or Machine Learning

E.g. Monitor Back Order Processing Run, Manage Material Coverage, Resource Scheduling for Maintenance Planners,Sales Order Fulfillment Issues, Release for Delivery, List Incomplete Sales Documents, Manage Predictive Detection Methods, Configure the Consumption of Predictive Models, Simulate Product Configuration Models, Overdue Materials – Stock in Transit, Identify Risks for Industrial Hygenist, and consider add-ons such as SAP CoPilot, SAP Cash Application, SAP RealSpend

Optimize the time needed to perform deeper analyses of what is happening in your business right now

Embedded analytics with smart options to slice, dice and share insights & act on them

E.g. Supervise Collections Worklist, Event-based Revenue Recognition, Cash Position Details, Inventory Turnover Analysis, Overdue Receivables, Monitor Supplier Confirmations, Cash Flow Analyzer, Commitments and Actual Analyses, and consider add-ons such as SAP Financial Statements Insights

Answering how these changes will transform your business will uncover organisational PRIORITIES and APPETITE for change.  And help you make the BUSINESS CASE for which Fiori apps should be part of your first & future waves.

Your Business Roles

To transform the working live of your employees, and consequently transform your business, start by focussing on their business roles.

When planning the impact of rolling out your selected SAP Fiori apps you across your business, you will need to identify which employees will be impacted by your first and future waves.  In practice on SAP S/4HANA projects, the most useful way to group employees for user experience is the BUSINESS ROLE.

People who perform the same business role tend to share:

  • Similar tasks
  • Similar pain points & challenges
  • Similar opportunities & preferences
  • Similar expertise expectations (casual vs professional user)
  • Similar training needs (on the job, online learning, classroom)
  • Similar working environments (Corporate, Urban, Rural, Industrial)
  • Similar work gear (Suit, Uniform, Safety Gear, Toolbelts)
  • Similar device type needs (desktop, tablet, phone)
  • Similar device feature needs (camera, barcode reader, network reliability)

The Business Role is therefore a good default granularity for:

  • Understanding your employees’ working lives
  • Assessing app and device needs
  • Assessing organizational change impacts

Business Roles and their associated tasks also have a natural mapping to Business Processes, helping you to align impacts on both people and processes.

Your business roles can also be mapped readily to the over 100 sample business roles you can filter on in the SAP Fiori apps reference library.  This organizational role to sample role mapping gives an easy starting point for which groups of apps to focus on in the SAP Activate phases Prepare and Explore.

Your SAP S/4HANA Version

Your SAP S/4HANA version will determine:

  • Which Fiori apps are delivered as standard
  • How easy it is to adapt standard apps or add your own custom Fiori apps
  • What personalization options are available to optimize the productivity of your employees

There are significant jumps in the numbers of apps delivered, e.g.:

  • SAP S/4HANA 1511 delivered 315 SAP Fiori apps
  • SAP S/4HANA 1610 delivered just over 600 SAP Fiori apps
  • SAP S/4HANA 1709 is already delivering over 950 SAP Fiori apps

Each version has grown in the number of SAP Fiori apps that assist your UX Lead, administrators, analytics specialists, and functional consultants on your SAP S/4HANA project to activate, adapt, and extend SAP Fiori apps. Such as the Fiori app activation tool, the In App Extensibility options, and KPI Workspace app to adjust analytics thresholds and timelines, and Report Design apps (coming in 1709).

Each version has grown in personalization capabilities so employees can adjust their HomePage, add their favourite classic UIs, control their own Default Settings, adjust which Overview Page cards are shown or hidden, and save their default filters and sorting as variants.

What if we decide NOT to deploy SAP Fiori apps

Well of course the “Do Nothing” choice is always an option, but before going down that path, make sure you understand the risk of doing nothing.

Many times, we have seen customers and partners who have taken a technical upgrade approach to SAP S/4HANA being caught out at the end of the project.

While the project itself may complete successfully, the business protests:

“WHERE IS THE PROMISED BUSINESS VALUE?”.

Without SAP Fiori that business value is not obvious to the business user. With SAP Fiori, the business value is clear, tangible, and integrated into their working lives.  We have seen this many times not only at customers but also internally at SAP.

With SAP Fiori apps:

  • Tasks become simpler to complete
  • Tasks are simpler to find – no more moving from system to system to complete your work as everything is on the one Launchpad
  • Business objects can be found with only a partial keyword or reference
  • Analytics give real-time Insights and navigate easily to the relevant actions – no more delays waiting for data replication, and no more swapping between the analytics system and the transactional system

Final Thoughts

Yes, every business is different and every business has different priorities and different needs for their people.  However, our experience across many SAP S/4HANA projects is that the more SAP Fiori apps you deploy the more business value you will derive from SAP S/4HANA innovations and the more obvious that will be to all of your business people.

To encourage those customers and partners who are still growing their UX resources and practice, SAP provides a growing body of advice to guide the SAP Fiori aspects of your SAP S/4HANA projects such as:

Brought to you by the S/4HANA RIG

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5 Comments

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  1. Pengxin Chen

    great article. Well done.

    While the statements are true for selling the product and the project, there is another side of the token in real life: the worst part of a S/4 UX is not SAPGUI–it is sending users to various UIs in order to complete their daily tasks.

    SAP has also intentionally or inadvertently put Fiori, Persona, and even web dynpro into the grand “Fiori” bucket.

    In order to quickly catch up the SAPGUI capabilities, the new belize theme converted many classic SAPGUI screens into psudo web pages that can be easily identified from native Fiori apps.

    The overall direction of UX is “probably” native Fiori apps.  There are already tasks in S/4 that can only be leveraged by Fiori apps, as stated.

    “Probably” was used be caused SAP had been doing many sharp turns in recent memory….cannot even stay straight with product branding or names…which is another interesting topic.

    In any case, During the SAP’s product transition period, it is perfectly logical to choose a UI that provides users with maximum uniformity and less confusion—even if it means to stay with the older SAPGUI clients.

    A great topic to be continued.

    Thanks again.

    Peter

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    1. Jocelyn Dart Post author

      HI Peter, Thanks for your thoughts and encouragement.

      True, every organization has judgement calls to be made which is kind of the point of the article.

      I’d be reluctant to suggest that uniformity of user experience is a reality for any user anywhere. We all deal with so many different types of apps at home as well as in the workplace.

      The question for organisations is whether reluctance to change is a good enough reason to miss out on the process benefits of these new user experiences. Which is why you need to consider where the pain points and opportunities are.  Where’s the least reluctance to change? And the biggest benefit in making a change? Which really comes down to balancing business user goals with organizational goals.

      Personally I like to look for casual user groups who have limited system usage needs and find SAPGUI burdensome, and any group of users who are struggling to get the real-time analytics they need, and then work from there. There’s always someone who is ripe for change.

      We’ve also seen that customers who excel at organizational change management involve end user groups in making decisions around which apps are released to them in what wave. The more ownership end users groups have in their own user experiences, the more positive they are towards change.

      Rgds,

      Jocelyn

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