Latest Update: Updates for SAP S/4HANA 1809. Link to Fiori Launchpad User Guide updated.
Honourable Mentions – Navigation updated: As of SAP S/4HANA 1809, Fiori launchpad can be configured to launch Web Dynpro ABAP apps and SAP GUI for HTML “inplace”, i.e. in the same content area as the Fiori launchpad without the need to launch a new tab. Refer to the Launchpad Configuration ParametersNAVIGATION_GUI_INPLACE and NAVIGATION_WDA_INPLACE in the Fiori Launchpad Administration Guide.
Also Notifications can now be received from Smart Business KPI tile alerts and SAP CoPilot chats.
In the SAP S/4HANA Regional Implementation Group we work with many customers implementing or planning to implement SAP S/4HANA projects worldwide. Once customers understand that Fiori is an essential part of SAP S/4HANA – as per Fiori in S/4HANA – Top 10 Myths & Misconceptions to avoid – the next questions are about how to get started in a way that brings the best possible result to every user – regardless of which Fiori apps or classic (SAP GUI or Web Dynpro ABAP) apps they use. This is especially critical for risk averse or time poor projects where there is a necessary focus on maximum impact for minimum time/effort investment. In this blog post you will find the top 5 Fiori features that prove the value of Fiori to your new S/4HANA business users and provide a foundation to grow your Fiori footprint over time.
As a customer or partner starting your first SAP S/4HANA project you will often face some common dilemmas regardless of the size of your project:
- How do you transition your business users to take advantage of the digital transformations of SAP S/4HANA at a manageable pace?
- How do you bring business users some immediate business value that motivates them to quickly accept both technological and organizational change?
- And as a business stakeholder, business expert, or ICT support team how do you make sure you can support these changes when you are still coming to grips with many of these changes yourself?
And most of all, knowing that there are likely to be so many more changes to come:
- How do you start small and grow?
These questions are particularly troublesome if your SAP S/4HANA project is also impacted by any of the following situations:
- You are risk averse due to political, time-sensitive, or budget concerns
- You are planning a multi-phase project where different business users and different business processes will be improved in different phases
- You have a large number of business users entrenched in past SAP GUI habits
The good news is that there are some high value central Fiori features that bring value to every business user:
- regardless of how much Fiori for S/4HANA content your project is planning to implement,
- regardless of which or how many Fiori apps your business users will be assigned,
- and even if every app they are assigned is a classic app (at least at first).
From our experiences across SAP S/4HANA customers, these are the top 5 Fiori features to include in your project. Most of these features are either provided working out of the box, or require minimal once-off configuration to get them going. And they are:
- Fiori Enterprise Search
- Fiori Notifications
- Fiori Default Values
- Fiori Personalization
- User Assistance
If you have a little more project capacity and sponsors/stakeholders who are keen to go further, at the end of this blog post you will also find a few suggestions for additional features and extensions worth considering.
Tip: If you are using Fiori on SAP Business Suite or Suite on HANA you might notice that Fiori Search, Fiori Notifications and Fiori Personalization are all part of Fiori 2.0.
So then what is the difference between using Fiori 2.0 in SAP S/4HANA vs. Fiori 2.0 in SAP Business Suite? Content! Content! Content!
While you get these same features provided with Fiori 2.0, the search models that make Fiori Search so useful, the Notification Providers that make Fiori Notifications so useful, and the sheer quantity of apps that support Personalization options are all out-of-the-box with SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP S/4HANA.
1 – Fiori Enterprise Search
Fiori Enterprise Search solves a universal problem for many business users. At my very first SAP S/4HANA customer (an Insurance agency broker), when I showed the business users the tiles on the Fiori Launchpad, they described their use case something like this:
- Someone has given me a reference number or reference code
- I don’t know what business object this reference represents
- Ok so it’s something to do with <x> (e.g. customer), but it could be any of <a, b, c, d, or e> (e.g. claim number, partner reference, sales order number, picking slip, delivery reference, customer reference, invoice number, customer’s invoice number, etc.)
- I’m not even entirely sure if it’s a full or partial reference
- So I’m not even sure what app I need to open yet until I figure out exactly what this reference represents
Now in SAP Business Suite typically you would have to bounce around the system checking the number in several reports and several transactions before you found out what the reference represents. Only then could you decide how to act on it. And only then go to the correct transaction to perform the relevant action.
With S/4HANA, Fiori Enterprise Search gives a much simpler answer. Just put whatever reference you were given into the search bar. Even as you start to enter the reference the search suggests some likely matches that you can use straightaway.
Tip: You can even use simple wildcards, e.g. *969 for anything ending in *969.
The Fiori Search bar is always available at the top of your Fiori screen. Just enter a reference and a couple of seconds later the search will return result lists of any business object that matches that reference completely or partially.
Better yet in case the reference was rather vague and there are a lot of matches, it brings filters tailored to each business object that help you quickly narrow down the search. Just select the most likely business object and the available filters will be shown in the filter pane.
And once you have identified the business object, it brings all the apps that you are authorized to use immediately to you as links in the search results list. That list includes both your Fiori apps and classic (SAP GUI transactions and Web Dynpro ABAP) apps. So you can simply click on the relevant link and move on to take whatever action is needed.
Of course if you do know what business object you are looking for you can just select the appropriate business object first and then enter your keyword.
Over 200 ready-to use-search models for business objects are provided with SAP S/4HANA.
Source: Fiori Road Map 2018 Q2
Tip: You will find all the search models mentioned as Search Connectors in the Fiori Apps Library.
Fiori Search even works for app names. Just enter some part of the app name or a keyword. You can even enter the even the technical app id of a Fiori app, or for a classic app you can enter the GUI transaction code (if you know it). Fiori Search will find all the related apps you are authorized to use, whether they appear on your home page or not. No need to hunt through cumbersome menus ever again.
For the security conscious among you, you may also want to read this blog post that explains how to Limit Search Object Access in Fiori Launchpad.
2 – Fiori Notifications
Another perennial problem for business users is getting a heads up on time-sensitive tasks or information. Notifications were consistently the most anticipated feature of Fiori 2.0 with every customer I met at every conference and event in the 18 months prior to Fiori 2.0 release. And it’s still one of the features customers want turned on early in S/4HANA.
In SAP Business Suite, usually the best heads-up you could get was an email to your workflow inbox or your email address. Given the amount of email traffic that most of us now deal with every day, that’s hardly satisfactory. It’s all too easy to overlook an email.
Fiori Notifications is an easy answer for that use case. Any notifications that are sent to the user automatically appear in the Notification Center viewport (on the right hand side of the Fiori Launchpad). And if you have new notifications the notification icon (top right hand of the Fiori Launchpad) adds a little badge that gives you a count of the number of new notifications waiting for you to view.
Notifications can be shown individually or grouped by type. Notifications can optionally include quick actions (e.g. approve, reject, confirmed). Notifications include a priority (green/yellow/red) marking, and higher priority notifications are shown first. Notifications can be directed to launch to a specific app where you can act on them further, e.g. Workflow notifications launch the user into Fiori app My Inbox.
In the latest S/4HANA releases (SAP S/4HANA 1709 and above), business users can also personalize their notifications by type. They can:
- Mute notifications they are not interested in
- Promote notifications that are important to them to high priority
Naturally these notifications can be configured to show on mobile devices as well (e.g. by adding SAP Cloud Platform mobile services to SAP Fiori Client).
Notifications can be sent from anywhere in the system – all you need is a notification provider (ABAP Class) to capture and send them. Out of the box SAP S/4HANA provides:
- Workflow Notification Provider
- SAP CoPilot chat notifications (as of S/4HANA 1709 FPS01, if SAP CoPilot is configured for use)
- Smart Business KPI threshold violation alerts as notifications (as of S/4HANA 1809)
- Demo Sample Notification Provider
You can use the Demo Sample Notification Provider to test you have configured the Notification Center correctly and as an example for creating your own notifications, e.g. for budget alerts.
You can find out more about notifications in:
- Leading S/4HANA UX – Notification Center – Part 1 – Activation
- Leading S/4HANA UX – Notification Center – Part 2 – Providing Notifications
3 – Fiori Default Values
Few things are more frustrating than having to enter over and over the values you use every day, whether they are company codes, cost centers, G/L accounts you regularly use, your plants or distribution centers, or even just the current calendar year. That’s where Fiori Default Values can help.
If you have business users who come from SAP Business Suite you are probably used to a similar idea called SET/GET parameters (SPA/GPA) . SET/GET parameters only worked within ABAP and were no help with your web apps. And they only allowed you to enter a single value per parameter. Fiori Default Values gives you much more than that.
With Fiori Default Values you can:
- Enter a primary value that you most commonly use, e.g. when entering data
- Enter additional values that you use e.g. as a search filter in analytics and Manage apps
- Pass the parameters to Fiori apps and to classic apps (Web Dynpro ABAP and SAP GUI apps)
Even better if you are doing a system conversion from SAP Business Suite, or you want to preset the default values for new users, you can use the traditional SET/GET PARAMETERS used to prefill the primary values.
For more details please refer to SAP Note 2519765 – Synchronization of Fiori User Default Values with Backend SET-/GET-Parameters
If the target app can only accept one value the primary value is passed. But if the target app can accept multiple values (e.g. filter parameters for Manage apps and many embedded analytics) then both the primary and the additional values will be passed.
Find out more in this trio of blog posts:
- Setting User Defaults in SAP S/4HANA
- Activating User Defaults in SAP S/4HANA
- Applying User Defaults in SAP S/4HANA
4 – Fiori Personalization
One of the most obvious differences of Fiori to SAP GUI is the high degree of Personalization provided. Personalization lets you as a business user adjust your display to suit your working conditions and your physical and cognitive needs, such as swapping to a high contrast scheme when you take your device into bright sunlight, or reducing the clutter of tiles on your Home Page to help you focus on your main tasks.
Personalization is a practical demonstration of respect for you as a human being. Personalization respects that you understand your own personal working environment and your own personal productivity needs better than any administrator or business expert can do.
While not everyone is ready to personalize their own user experience on day 1 of go-live, just knowing that these options are there gives you a sense of control of your own experience. As a business user, that decreases your stress levels.
In workshops, when designing the home page for business roles on S/4HANA projects, seeing how much personalization is there helps everyone relax and focus on achieving a good day 1 go-live experience, and avoids descending into unhelpful perfectionist discussions. And of course it’s always interesting going around live customers and seeing how many users have taken advantage of personalization.
As a business user, on the Fiori Launchpad you can adjust:
- Which groups and tiles are shown on your Home Page, how they are organized, and even how many groups are shown
- Tip: Your administrator can lock some groups to avoid them being changed – in practice several customers have used this approach to have one primary group set aside for new app/tile/feature announcements
- Language, date and time formats
- Colour, contrast and fonts (via themes)
- Whether user profiling is used to improve your search results
- Which notifications are demoted (hidden) or promoted (raised to high priority)
And you may find more options depending on your S/4HANA version.
Most options are found in the Settings dialog in the Me Area.
The Edit Home Page feature in the Me Area is the starting place for adjusting your personal home page design.
And in the latest releases you can even adjust the text on the tiles to help you find what you are looking for that much more quickly.
You can find more information in the Fiori Launchpad User Guide for your S/4HANA version.
Personalization doesn’t stop at the Launchpad! There’s much much more you can do once you start using the over 1K of Fiori apps available for SAP S/4HANA. A few quick examples:
- Set selection filter variants for the many app types including Analytical List apps, Manage apps, and Overview Page apps
- You can even share these filters with others, and save these filters as your tiles on your home page.
- Adjust the selected columns, column order, sort, grouping, and filtering on just about any table in any Manage App, Analytical List app, or Object Page app
- Select the chart view that works best for you in Analytical List apps from around 20 different chart types
- Drag and drop cards on Overview Pages to the layout that works best for you
- Mute cards you are not interested in on Overview Pages
- Manage your inbox substitutes or act as substitute for someone else
Find out more in:
- Fiori for S/4HANA – where to find App-specific Settings
- SAP HANA Academy tutorial – Understanding S/4HANA Extensibility
- SAP HANA Academy tutorial – Adapting the Launchpad – FLP Personalization
5 – User Assistance
Everyone needs a little help sometimes. Even when user interfaces are intuitive you still feel the comforted and supported when you know help is always close at hand.
On SAP S/4HANA projects it’s worth remembering that at the start of your project your project team members are all business users too. They may come with a lot of of experience in SAP business processes and technology, but for many consultants Fiori and S/4HANA are still relatively new to them, and they need to be onboarded and enabled too.
So one of the activities it’s worth doing early in the Explore phase (assuming you are following SAP Activate methodology) is to turn on the out of the box User Assistance content. While this content aimed primarily at SAP S/4HANA Cloud users, most of the content is equally applicable for SAP S/4HANA.
IMPORTANT: Of course you might need to notify your team of anything you are not intending to activate, e.g. you may not have added SAP CoPilot yet. You should also note that it might not cover all of your Fiori apps, such as where there apps available for SAP S/4HANA that are not available in SAP S/4HANA Cloud.
You access the User Assistance using the Help (“?”) icon. Depending on what your administrator or UX Lead has configured, the help icon will either be in the top shell bar of the Launchpad, or in the Me Area.
Like the rest of S/4HANA, the User Assistance is continuously improved. One of the recent additions is a helpful onboarding guide for users new to the Fiori Launchpad and new to working with Fiori Apps.
You will find these tutorials are interactive and step you through what you need to know.
The tutorials are broken down into bite-sized chunks, so you can focus on just what you need now, and come back to other topics later.
When you are in a Fiori app, another really useful feature of User Assistance are help bubbles that explain key terms and features for that app. You can click on either the bubble or the term in the User Assistance bar.
And you can even be given a heads-up of any changes that have been added since last time you logged on.
How do you add your own content?
You can replace or extend the delivered content using SAP Enable Now.
Can content be created for classic apps?
Yes content can be created for classic apps in SAP Enable Now too.
Navigation is one of those benefits that most people take for granted… until it’s not there.
The navigation from app to app in Fiori is so seamless that often business users don’t even notice they have changed app. In any Fiori app, selecting any link, button, table row, chart header, or even chart data point can move you seamlessly to another app.
That‘s a fundamental usability shift compared to SAP GUI. In SAP GUI it was often all too obvious that you had changed transactions, and since navigation was always provided explicitly it often it wasn’t there when you wanted it. You had to either know where you were going (i.e. have memorised the Transaction Code) or you had to hunt around in menus for what you wanted.
As a S/4HANA business user, you have everything you need regularly in one place – your Fiori Launchpad Home Page – including:
- All of your Fiori apps
- All of your classic apps (Web Dynpro ABAP apps and SAP GUI transactions)
- Even links out to other websites and apps, e.g. on the SAP Cloud Platform
Anything you don’t need all that often you can access in the App Finder whenever you want it, or just search for an app or GUI transaction code using the Fiori Search.
If you want to change the target app of any link, button, or tile, usually all that’s needed is a simple configuration change by your administrator. For example, if you want to replace an existing classic app with a custom Fiori app. That’s thanks to the Fiori launchpad intent-based navigation approach.
Latest Update: As of SAP S/4HANA 1809, Fiori launchpad can be configured to launch Web Dynpro ABAP apps and SAP GUI for HTML “inplace”, i.e. in the same content area as the Fiori launchpad without the need to launch a new tab. This means that Fiori apps and classic apps open in a consistent manner regardless of app type. Refer to the Launchpad Configuration Parameters NAVIGATION_GUI_INPLACE and NAVIGATION_WDA_INPLACE in the Fiori Launchpad Administration Guide.
Form Factor Adaptation
Form factor adaptation isn’t only about responsive behaviour on devices, it brings advantages to desktop users too. That’s one of the subtle and important advantages of accessing your apps using a web browser. Not everyone wants their whole screen to be filled with a single user interface. You might want to monitor or view another document at the same time on your desktop. You might even have a large screen or multi-screen arrangement specifically so that you can see several user interfaces at once.
This is the same app shown using a full desktop screen:
And the same app after adjusting the web browser to use half the screen:
Notice the same responsive features that are used on mobile devices, such as popping out columns as fields below the same row, are also used when you adjust your web browser size.
Just remember that if you are aiming for full mobile device experience there are more considerations and activities as explained in Fiori in S/4HANA – Top 10 Myths and Misconceptions to Avoid
Frequently Used / Recent Activities
When you have just been interrupted, or someone asks you a question about something you were doing just a few minutes ago, being able to figure out what you were just doing or what app you were in is a relief. Frequently used and recent activities features are turned on by default in S/4HANA and can be accessed in the Me Area.
Easy access Menu and SAP Menu
This is one of those optional features of SAP S/4HANA that’s worth turning on if you have a lot of business users coming from SAP GUI for Windows.
Just being able to find all your old favourite transactions is a kind of digital safety net. It makes you feel safe because you know you can get back all your old favourite transactions if you need to.
These show you all your transactions as mini-tiles that you can pin to your home page or just use straight away. And you can use this for both the standard multi-level SAP menu:
And for your User Menus:
IMPORTANT: Note your personal favourites list of transactions are not automatically brought across with the User Menu catalog. However you can quickly add them to your Home Page by pressing the pin icon on the mini-tile.
Tip: If you have a lot of desktop-bound users with a history in using SAP GUI for Windows, it’s worth considering deploying SAP Business Client 6.5 with connection type “Launchpad”. That gives them the Fiori Launchpad and all their Fiori and classic apps with one distinct advantage – any classic app that in a web browser is launched in SAP GUI for HTML, will instead be automatically launched in SAP GUI for Windows. And that makes for an easier transition into SAP S/4HANA with fewer differences to learn at least for the classic apps.
Extensions worth Considering
While these options involve extra subscription licences for SAP S/4HANA customers (SAP CoPilot is a standard for SAP S/4HANA Cloud users), they are an easy to add extra value to business users regardless of which apps they use.
While artificial intelligence, machine learning, and chatbots are all the rage, even simple improvements in collaboration bring real value.
At SAPPHIRENOW 2018, I caught a short session by SAP S/4HANA Cloud customer MOD Pizza. They were explaining how even just using the collaboration features of SAP CoPilot is improving communications and understanding between their business users and IT support team. CoPilot helps them collaborate seamlessly across apps, so that they can create and share notes, objects, screenshots, and messages—all in the context of the current screen. That reduces miscommunications and lost in translation errors, resulting in better faster support.
Of course the current state and vision of SAP CoPilot goes much further that with Natural Language interface, chatbot integration and the Skill Builder tooling so you can add your own use cases to CoPilot with just a custom OData Service.
You can also:
- Create quick drafts on the run
- Call up self-learning
- Create a support incident
From a future direction perspective you can almost think of SAP CoPilot as like a Siri/Alexa/Cortana for the enterprise, only more useful and with perhaps a higher purpose than checking on the weather or ordering pizza from your local takeaway.
For more info refer to:
- Configuring SAP CoPilot for the Launchpad
- Working with SAP CoPilot
- CoPilot Skill Builder Developer Guide
- CoPilot Road Map
SAP Mobile Cards (formerly Content to Go)
Latest Update: Yes Mobile Cards supports Android devices as well.
If your organization primarily uses Apple/iOS or Android devices you might also want to look at SAP Mobile Cards. It’s like an enterprise equivalent to Apple Wallet, where you can share content from SAP Fiori-based applications from your desktop computer’s SAP Fiori launchpad to your iPhone. And when you view the content you can link back to the live app to provide “any time from anywhere” access to the most up-to-date business data available.
Becoming a SAP Fiori for SAP S/4HANA guru
You’ll find much more on our SAP Fiori for SAP S/4HANA wiki
Brought to you by the S/4HANA RIG
Screenshots taken from author’s own SAP S/4HANA 1709 FPS01 and 1709 Trial instances.
User Assistance screenshots taken from SAP S/4HANA Cloud demo instance.