SAP Fiori 3: Multi-page spaces now available, and much more…
With these next steps on our SAP Fiori 3 journey now available, you can leverage multi-page spaces to give your users stable, well-structured and personalizable access to their important apps, as well as benefitting from our continuous improvements in SAP Fiori 3 situation handling. Developers also benefit from the new SAP Fiori controls for SAP Fiori native apps for iOS and Android, as well as from our next generation IDE in the cloud, SAP Business Application Studio, and SAP Fiori tools.
I outlined our target design for SAP Fiori 3 in last year’s blog First parts of SAP Fiori 3 available with SAP S/4HANA Cloud 1908. This remains absolutely valid, so I won’t repeat it here, but rather focus on what has now become available.
A consistent and delightful home page experience is a key element of SAP Fiori 3: today, with SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2008 and SAPUI5 1.78 we deliver a significant improvement for end users accessing the system via the SAP Fiori launchpad as the single entry point for their work.
Supporting intelligence is also an area SAP Fiori 3 focusses on: since last year we have continued investing in SAP Fiori 3 situation handling, with improved situation pages and message-based situations.
Finally, a key part of SAP Fiori 3 is bringing a great user experience to mobile devices via native apps, and here we have also developed further SAP Fiori controls supporting SAP Fiori developers using our mobile SDKs. And while I’m on the subject of making SAP Fiori development easier: we also now have SAP Business Application Studio available as the next generation IDE in the web for building SAP Fiori apps, and SAP Fiori tools to make it even easier to create SAP Fiori elements based applications.
The next sections give you a brief overview of these innovations; to learn more, have a look at the “Further information” section at the end of this blog.
If you haven’t already started, now is definitely the time for SAP S/4HANA Cloud customers to start putting together the SAP Fiori spaces and pages for their end users. SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2008 comes with space and page templates per business role, making it easy for customers to structure the layout of the SAP Fiori launchpad for their end users. This layout remains stable, even if a user is assigned to more roles later.
An SAP Fiori space represents an area of work, typically corresponding to one or more business roles. You can structure each space using pages for various work contexts, and optionally use sections to further group the work within a page.
Users can easily personalize their pages, by adding or removing tiles, or adding or removing sections.
Have a look at this short video to get a brief overview of the benefits of SAP Fiori 3 spaces with SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2008:
The spaces concept with multiple pages per space
In case you are not already familiar with the SAP Fiori 3 spaces concept, and how it differs from the previous home page concept, have a look at my previous blog Further step of SAP Fiori 3 available: Spaces and Pages. Here, I will only outline the new aspect, that spaces now support multiple pages, and discuss the benefits this brings.
The main benefits are the additional flexibility in structuring the content for your users, as you can see in this example, and the fact that this structure remains stable:
In the above example, the user has been assigned to four roles: billing clerk, internal sales representative, sales manager and shipping specialist. The user gets a space for each role. Each space is structured into pages, which are defined to contain the frequently used apps for a certain area of work – the example shows the typical apps used by a sales manager for sales planning and analytics, grouped into the sections “Quick Access”, “Insights”, “Flexible Analysis” and “Planning”.
The previous home page design only provided one degree of flexibility, the groups, with the structure seen by end users pre-defined by SAP. Now, customers have three degrees of flexibility, as you can see here:
|Approach||Degrees of flexibility|
|Single home page||Multiple groups on one page|
|Spaces||Multiple sections on one page||Multiple pages in one space||Multiple spaces|
We continue to advise customers to only put frequently used or particularly important tiles directly on SAP Fiori launchpad pages. As before, users can find all their apps using search, the SAP Fiori 3 home navigation menu or the app finder.
As shown briefly in the video, customers can now define which pages they want to put in a space and their order, as well as which sections they want to put in a page along with their order. This remains stable for end users, even if a customer assigns new roles to a user.
To make it easier for administrators to define spaces and pages for business roles, SAP delivers spaces which can be used as templates. Each of these spaces contain one or more pages, each with one or more sections, containing the applications a user would typically use frequently in that role. When creating your own custom spaces, you can simply select the relevant SAP-delivered space and you already have a working space for your users. Of course, you may want to define the pages and sections differently, something you can do with the new WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor provided by the Manage Launchpad Pages app.
Alternatively, administrators can create spaces and pages from scratch, without starting with a template from SAP.
In both cases, the respective apps for administrators are Manage Launchpad Spaces and Manage Launchpad Pages.
For the moment only administrators can create new spaces; end users can personalize a page’s sections and the tiles therein.
The transition from home page to spaces
As outlined in my previous blog on SAP Fiori 3 spaces: since users are used to their current home pages, and have quite likely personalized them to their needs, we will continue to support the current home pages in parallel to introducing the spaces and pages approach as an additional option. The goal over time is to make spaces the only option in a future SAP S/4HANA Cloud release. Before doing this, we plan to collect feedback from customers about their experience with the spaces approach. The end of the transition period will be communicated at least six months in advance.
During the transition period, both approaches are available: administrators can switch the whole system to the spaces approach, or give users the ability to select for themselves via Settings in the User Actions Menu whether they want to continue working with their home page, or whether they want to use spaces.
In a future release, we currently plan to give end-users more options for personalization, for example allowing links to be used instead of tiles, allowing favorite pages to be accessed with one click by placing them next to spaces, and changing the order of spaces. Further in the future we plan to implement another significant step on the SAP Fiori 3 journey by providing cards on pages in addition to tiles and links.
The spaces approach as presented above is also planned to become available for the next SAP S/4HANA on-premise / any-premise release later this year.
If you are not familiar with the Situation Handling approach, let me summarize it briefly: it is a powerful approach for helping users deal with not-so frequent but important business situations – such as unexpected material shortages, pending deadlines or even situations where the system has identified, using artificial intelligence, opportunities for optimizing processes. The system
- recognizes when a business situation occurs;
- notifies the responsible user, using Responsibility Management to determine who to notify;
- provides the user with an explanation of the situation, and
- provides guidance and recommendations on how to deal with it.
Identifying a business situation and determining appropriate recommended actions can be done using machine learning or rule-based. The power of the approach comes from the way it helps users: the notification means they are informed in a timely manner, and the explanation and recommended actions mean that users can save a lot of time by having all the relevant information presented to them in one place, rather than having to search for it themselves throughout the system.
With SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2008, we now provide Situation Handling for 52 different use cases; in addition, we are constantly evolving the design and the underlying Situation Handling framework – let’s have a look at some examples.
Situation variants for object pages
On our journey towards a full-blown, dedicated situation page, we have made some enhancements to allow object pages to show dedicated variants to describe an associated situation, with a situation indicator in the object page header.
Have a look at this video to see an example for this from procurement:
- Quantity deficit in supplier’s delivery. Situation handling helps when suppliers cannot deliver the full amount, by notifying you and proposing alternative suppliers.
Situation Handling now also provides support for dealing with situations arising from mass data processing, where large numbers of business objects need to be processed automatically – e.g. for invoicing or dunning. For these processes, batch jobs are typically planned to run over night. As a mandatory task, users need to monitor these to check whether any errors or other exceptions occurred. Message-based situation handling makes this much easier: instead of users having to regularly monitor whether anything went wrong, the system will do this for them, and pro-actively notify them about it – and even suggest which actions they can use to deal with it.
We also now provide support for message-based situations, with a dedicated, simple situation page to deal with these kind of situations. What is a message-based situation? Often in business, tasks need to be routinely and automatically performed on large numbers of objects, i.e. automated mass data processing, for which batch jobs are planned to run over night. Users need to monitor these to check whether any errors occurred. Message-based situation handling makes this much easier: instead of users having to regularly monitor whether any errors occurred, the system will do this for them, and pro-actively notify them if there was an error – and even suggest which actions they can use to deal with the error.
The Situations Handling framework allows customers to define exactly which kind of actions should be proposed to the user to deal with the error, depending on the error message. Below you see an example for a new, open situation: the Situation Details facet gives details about the error messages, and the Related Actions facet in this case gives the user six actions to choose from to deal with the error.
Mobile application development
Users who are on the move all day, and who need to use their apps even while standing, need to apps running on tablets or smart phones. If these apps are there main „tool“ for getting their work done, then you will want to give them the best user experience you can – which inevitably means providing native mobile apps rather than browser-based apps. This is the reason we started the partnership with Apple five years ago, resulting in the SAP Fiori for iOS design language (see the design guidelines) and the corresponding SDK; in the meantime we also have SAP Fiori for Android design language (see the design guidelines) and the corresponding SDK. Already in the early days our own IT found that they could save 30% – 40% of their time spent designing mobile apps using these, and save 25% – 30% development time using the SDKs.
We continue to extend the design languages and the controls available for developers in the SDKs, here are some recent innovations for iOS:
And the newest innovations for iOS: the signature capture form allows users to authorize workflows by signing within the signature form capture cell; the What’s New component is for displaying highlights of feature updates or news about your application:
Here you see some of the newest innovations for Android:
Going forward, the team which developed Germany’s Covid-19 warn app, which has been downloaded over 15 million times now, have been tasked with providing a number of native SAP Fiori mobile apps for SAP S/4HANA Cloud – so stay posted for more on this in the future.
SAP Fiori development tools
SAP Business Application Studio is the evolution of SAP Web IDE. It is a modular development environment, built on “Eclipse Theia”, an open-source IDE that embraces the Microsoft VS Code experience. It aims to improve time to value of the developers, provide a modern development experience and allow simple integration with SAP’s services and systems.
SAP Fiori tools provides a faster and easier way to develop SAP Fiori apps with SAP Fiori elements – which itself is much faster than freestyle SAPUI5 development, if the standard page types fit your use case. After several months of beta testing with dozens of customers and partners, SAP Fiori tools is now generally available.
SAP Fiori tools is a set of extensions for SAP Business Application Studio and Visual Studio Code that provide many capabilities to further increase the efficiency of developing SAP Fiori elements applications.
“SAP Fiori tools makes it much easier for us to build SAP Fiori elements apps. It eliminates much of the hand coding and poring through documentation to find the right annotation to make the app work the way we want,” said Lukas Böhm, Senior Developer and UX Designer of All for One Group, an SAP partner based in Germany. “This will result in us building many more SAP Fiori elements apps than we did prior to SAP Fiori tools.”
Quartz light or dark – depending on operating system settings
The default setting for the SAP Fiori theme in the SAP S/4HANA Cloud reacts to the operating system settings for apps: i.e. if the operating system says they should be dark, then the SAP Fiori launchpad will set the visualization to Quartz dark, and if it says light, to Quartz light. This means that users who want to change from light to dark or vice-versa don’t do this in the SAP Fiori launchpad settings, but rather in the operating system settings window.
Here, you see what the SAP Fiori launchpad settings show users in this case, with SAP Quartz selected and indicating that both light and dark variants are supported:
Here is an example showing the Windows 10 setting for default app mode set to „light“, selected in the window on the right:
And here with „dark“ selected:
Administrators can switch this feature off if they want; doing this means that users can choose between the light and dark themes in the SAP Fiori launchpad settings screen.
Find out more about SAP Fiori spaces, Situation Handling, SAP Fiori mobile app development, SAP Fiori development tools and SAP Fiori 3 and SAP Fiori overall.
This blog gives you more details on how to administer spaces:
Here is the relevant documentation:
Learn more with these two openSAP microlearnings, which you will find in the list if you filter by Line of Business “User Experience” and Playlist “Expert’s Choice”:
- Introduction to Structuring SAP Fiori Launchpad with Spaces
- Tools for Structuring SAP Fiori Launchpad with Spaces
The section on spaces in the SAP Fiori design guidelines is a good place to get an overview of the concept.
- Situation Handling documentation (with demo videos). This also contains a number of videos showcasing Situation Handling use cases, as well as a list of all situation templates available with SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2008.
- Responsibility Management documentation.
- Blog post: Situation Handling – Don’t just tell me there is a problem, help me solve the problem… more examples”
- Here is a demo video showing an example where the system has identified, using artificial intelligence, opportunities for optimizing processes: Free text items for Catalog
Mobile application development for SAP Fiori
SAP Fiori development tools
SAP Business Application Studio:
- SAP Business Application Studio – Info Blog (This blog consolidates all the various sources of information in one place)
- Migrating SAP Fiori Applications from SAP Web IDE to SAP Business Application Studio
- SAP Fiori Development with SAP Business Application Studio
SAP Fiori tools:
- SAP Fiori tools is generally available. Increase the efficiency of developing SAP Fiori elements apps (this blog contains links to new tutorials too).
SAP Fiori 3 and SAP Fiori overall
If you want more information on SAP Fiori 3, a great way to get an overview is via the SAP Fiori Road Map webinar from March 2020. If you haven’t already read my previous blogs on SAP Fiori 3, then do have a look:
- First parts of SAP Fiori 3 available with SAP S/4HANA Cloud 1908
- First parts of SAP Fiori 3 available for on-premise customers – SAP S/4HANA and SAP Business Suite
- Next step of SAP Fiori 3 available: Quartz Dark theme
- Further step of SAP Fiori 3 available: Spaces and Pages
If you are interested in a new and comprehensive overview of Fiori, then have a look at the openSAP course SAP Fiori Overview: design, develop and deploy. If you want to see some examples of how SAP Fiori helps users get their work done more easily, have a look at the demo videos in the playlist SAP Fiori 3 User Experience for SAP S/4HANA.
Finally, if you are planning to implement SAP Fiori for SAP S/4HANA: learn about how to do this best in the openSAP course How to Deliver a Great User Experience with SAP S/4HANA.