The TL;DR; VERSION
If you don’t have the energy to read all of this – why don’t you take a look at the video I’ve recorded in SAP TechEd Las Vegas a few weeks ago.
Raising Kids in the Netflix age
My kids are spoiled. They belong to a generation growing up with mobile devices, high speed internet connectivity and services like Netflix. They no longer consume broadcast TV and their culture heroes are video bloggers “Youtubers” (a recommendation of one at the end of the post). On the occasional visit to their grandparents house they are shocked and dismayed when they sit in front of the big screen TV and are unable to pause a show they’re watching. “Why can’t I continue watching this on my mobile device?”.
Why am I sharing this with you (beyond the age-induced grumpiness “When I Was a kid…”)? What my kids are experiencing is a true omni-channel experience. They are able to start a task in one digital touchpoint and continue it on another without losing any of their “Work”. Imagine – what if your work environment behaved like that?
We’ve been hearing a lot over the past years about the “consumerization” of enterprise applications and one of the key points to start in is by enabling a true consumer grade UX. This UX has to be digital and enable you to get your work done on all the different “channels” or digital touch points you may have. We all know the IT departments where you have the “apps” team – which is doing desktop development, the “web” team which is doing the same of browser based apps and the “mobile” team. The root for that is of course that these used to be different skill-sets and different considerations in building the apps and that’s of course understandable. However – its not understandable that each of these channels is an island on its own. Soon – my kids will join the workforce and they will expect a seamless experience. So do your users today.
We got the why, but how?
Building a digital experience means that you need to “mix and match” the services you would like to use for each specific solution. If you are building a B2C mobile app or a B2B supplier portal or a mobile card for employees letting them know what’s on the cafeteria menu for lunch (avoid “Mystery meat” day!) – each one of these require a different subset of services. This is where the SAP Cloud Platform comes into play – the wide variety of service we have on the cloud platform enables you exactly to “mix and match” approach. However – the underlying unified identity management, security, backend connectivity – enable you to build a coherent experience across all touch points. Lets take a look at an example:
These are all the services which we consider part of “Experience Maker” – SAP’s bundle digital experience on the cloud platform.
For the B2C app – I would use Mobile Services, Mobile Dev Kit and some of the integration services (API Hub is a good candidate). However – for the B2B supplier portal I’d use Portal, UI Theme designer and most likely Jam. Now lets assume I’m using Mobile cards for the supplier portal – suddenly my project needs the Mobile Services capability. So is it a Mobile project? A web project? Can you tell the difference?
Looking at the SAP Cloud Platform as a flat list of services misses the point, in my opinion. Think about the use cases you want to solve and ask yourself – is the user experience I’m trying to solve competitive? Or will my users just be baffled as to why doesn’t it stop?
So what’s new?
Here are some of the highlights in experience maker going into SAP TechEd Barcelona:
- Announcement of the new SAP Cloud Platform SDK for Android,included in SAP Cloud Platform Mobile Service and built collaboratively with Google. The strength of SAP Cloud Platform merges with the Android operating system in this new native mobile app development feature. With this SDK – You can really think about building mobile apps cross platform (but that’s a topic for a different post).
- SAP Fiori Cloud now offers more than 6,000 apps, featuring content that covers business roles across 13 lines of business and 30+ industries.
- It’s now easier than ever to transition from SAP Enterprise Portal to SAP Cloud Platform Portal. New tools including a contentmigration tool and KM migration tool are now available.
- We have a new partnership with LivePerson, already in the SAP AppCenter – https://www.sapappcenter.com/apps/31135/liveperson#!overview
Integration? Isn’t that a data thing?
One last thought for now. You’ve all heard by now about the “intelligent enterprise” and SAP’s vision to help you build a new generation of intelligent business applications. One of the key components to such an application is integration. Most people think of integration as integration of Data Services (Read the excellent blog by Harsh on it here – https://blogs.sap.com/2018/09/30/simplify-integration-with-sap-cloud-platform-integration-suite/). However – Consider this. Integration should also happen on the user experience level. Being able to bring all the different apps you have from many different vendors as well as bepoke applications is a key requirement for you to get the experience “right” for your users. Imagine that you would have to log in to a different streaming service everything you want to show to a different show.. Not fun and even worse – not productive. The lost of productivity you suffer because your users can’t have a single access point is not only quantifiable – its also significant.
So one of the tracks we have as part of the “intelligent enterprise” project is that of UX integration. This is still work in progress, but you can see below how we are envisioning it to look like
A Lannister always pays his debts
I’ve promised you a recommendation to one of our favorite “Youtubers” – Check out Everyday Astronaut – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6uKrU_WqJ1R2HMTY3LIx5Q