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Major next steps of SAP Fiori 3 available for SAP S/4HANA on-premise – spaces, central entry point, and more

You can now leverage multi-page spaces to give your users stable, well-structured and personalizable access to their important apps for SAP S/4HANA on-premise releases 1809, 1909 and 2020. Furthermore, you can give your users a central entry point for well-structured access to multiple systems, provided by the SAP Cloud Platform Launchpad service.

With SAP S/4HANA 2020 users also now benefit from our continuous improvements in SAP Fiori 3 situation handling, while all developers 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 post First parts of SAP Fiori 3 available for on-premise customers – SAP S/4HANA and SAP Business Suite. This remains absolutely valid, so I won’t repeat it here, but rather focus on what has now become available, as well as giving a brief outlook on next planned steps on our SAP Fiori 3 journey – including an update on Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) browser support next year and our digital assistant activities. Note that such forward-looking information reflects the current state of planning and may be changed by SAP at any time without notice.

The next sections give you a brief overview of:

  • Spaces: replacing your home page
  • Central entry point via SAP Cloud Platform Launchpad
  • Situation Handling
  • SAP Fiori development: tools and mobile SDK enhancements
  • Quartz themes
  • Support for Internet Explorer 11 (IE11)
  • Digital Assistant

To learn even more, have a look at the “Further information” section at the end of this post.

Spaces: replacing your home page

With the availability of SAP Fiori 3 spaces for SAP S/4HANA, you can start putting together SAP Fiori spaces and pages for your on-premise end users, to give them a better SAP Fiori launchpad user experience than available so far with the single home page.

An SAP Fiori space represents an area of work, typically corresponding to one or more business roles. A space can contain one or more pages for various work contexts. Each page uses 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.

SAP delivers spaces and pages for many business roles for SAP S/4HANA 2020, which you can use to get examples of how to structure spaces for these roles, as well as for trying it out in test systems. When you work with your own business roles and catalogs, we recommend that you create your own spaces and pages from scratch.

Have a look at this short video to get a brief overview of the benefits of SAP Fiori 3 spaces with SAP S/4HANA 2020 – which are the same as already provided by SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2008:

To find out more about the benefits of SAP Fiori spaces, which give you three levels of structuring page content rather than the one provided by the previous home page approach, have a look at my blog post SAP Fiori 3: Multi-page spaces now available, and much more…; the benefits summarized there for SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2008 apply also to SAP S/4HANA 2020.

For on-premise customers, we have also extended the role maintenance via the transaction PFCG. Administrators can maintain spaces and pages using the SAP Fiori apps Manage Launchpad Spaces and Manage Launchpad Pages, as outlined in my above blog post. You can read more about how to set up spaces in the blog post Set up SAP Fiori launchpad spaces with SAP Fiori front-end server 2020 for S/4HANA and in the documentation.

Transition from home page to spaces

We will continue to support the current home pages in parallel to introducing the spaces and pages approach as an additional option. 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.

Pre-requisite: SAP Fiori front-end server 2020 for S/4HANA

Spaces for on-premise systems are enabled by the SAP Fiori front-end server 2020 for S/4HANA. This comes with SAP S/4HANA 2020, but you can also use it together with SAP S/4HANA 1809 or 1909. Templates for spaces and pages are provided for SAP S/4HANA 2020; for the older releases, customers can easily define spaces and pages from scratch

Outlook

In a future on-premise release, we plan to give customers more options for the layout structure of pages, for example allowing links to be used instead of tiles, and offer these also for personalization – including being able to personalize the order in which spaces appear at the top of the screen. We also plan to provide more ways of visualizing apps and information on pages, introducing different size tiles and as well as step by step (i.e. release by release) introducing various types of cards for selected use cases.

Central entry point via SAP Cloud Platform Launchpad

SAP Fiori 3 envisages an integrated user experience across SAP products, and now the next step on this journey towards a seamless cross-product user experience is available: customers can implement a central SAP Fiori launchpad in the cloud based on the new SAP Cloud Platform Launchpad service, allowing you to give your users a central entry point to multiple SAP S/4HANA systems as well as other content providers.

Automated content federation is provided by the SAP Fiori front-end server 2020 for S/4HANA 2020, making it very easy to get it up and running. This front-end server release also provides content federation for SAP S/4HANA 1809 and 1909. Older SAP S/4HANA releases and also SAP Business Suite systems can be manually integrated.

Automated content federation is also provided for the SAP Enterprise Portal, as well as for SAP Fiori apps built on SAP Cloud Platform (Cloud Foundry). The following diagram shows how the central SAP Cloud Platform Launchpad integrates with business systems and central services.

In SAP S/4HANA 2020, you can define spaces and pages for your end users, by assigning spaces to business roles, which in turn are assigned to your end users. These space and page definitions and their assignment to business roles can now be shared with the SAP Cloud Platform Launchpad by exposing the content structure based on a common data model, which is used by both the on-premise SAP Fiori front-end server as well as the SAP Cloud Platform Launchpad (hence the name “common data model”). This is what we mean by “content federation”, and is depicted in the following diagram:

Once you have done this, your users can access all their apps via the central entry point, i.e. via the SAP Cloud Platform Launchpad, using the same spaces and pages as defined in SAP S/4HANA; they no longer need direct access to the on-premise SAP Fiori launchpad. The more back-end systems they need to access, the more they benefit from now having one central point of access, rather than having to deal with an entry page for each system.

You can also share existing home pages with the SAP Cloud Platform Launchpad, where they will be converted into a single page contained in one space, and each home page group will be converted into a section on this page.

We recommend that you invest in defining spaces and pages for your users rather than continuing with the home page approach, since this provides them with a better structured and more flexible way of accessing the system. Also, all future innovations in the SAP Fiori launchpad will only be available for spaces, and not for the previous home pages.

Pre-requisite for content federation with SAP S/4HANA on-premise systems: SAP Fiori front-end server 2020 for S/4HANA

Integration of SAP S/4HANA on-premise systems requires that you use the SAP Fiori front-end server 2020 for S/4HANA, which comes with SAP S/4HANA 2020. It can also be used to integrate an SAP S/4HANA 1809 or 1909 release with the SAP Cloud Platform Launchpad. Using this version of the front-end server allows you to define spaces and pages for these older releases, so both the new spaces and pages as well as the previous home page can be exposed to the SAP Cloud Platform Launchpad.

Outlook

We plan to provide the planned SAP Fiori 3 innovations to spaces and pages, which I outlined above, with the SAP Cloud Platform Launchpad in a similar timeframe. In addition, we plan to give administrators more flexibility in defining spaces and pages in the SAP Cloud Platform Launchpad themselves, as well as providing content federation integration to further SAP products.

To find out more, have a look at the SAP Cloud Platform Launchpad road map.

Situation Handling

In case you are not familiar with the Situation Handling approach: 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.

With SAP S/4HANA 2020, we now provide Situation Handling for 51 different use cases; in addition, we are constantly evolving the design and the underlying Situation Handling framework – in particular providing situation variants for object pages, as well as now supporting message-based situations:

  • Situation variants for object pages show dedicated variants to describe an associated situation, with a situation indicator in the object page header. This video shows you an example: Quantity deficit in supplier’s delivery.
  • Message-based situation handling 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, typically run over night.

These are described in more detail in my previous blog post SAP Fiori 3: Multi-page spaces now available, and much more….

Additionally, have a look at the new Intelligent Situation Automation, which is currently in Beta: “Intelligent Situation Automation – an extension of SAP S/4HANA Situation Handling”.

SAP Fiori development: tools and mobile SDK enhancements

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.”

Users who are on the move all day, and who need to use their apps even while standing, need apps running on tablets or smart phones. If these apps are their 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. We continue to extend the design languages and the controls available for developers in the SDKs; my previous blog post SAP Fiori 3: Multi-page spaces now available, and much more… includes details and examples of the newest innovations available for iOS and Android.

Quartz themes

Light or dark – depending on operating system settings

The default setting for the SAP Fiori theme in SAP S/4HANA 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 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.

Availability of Quartz theme for SAP GUI for Windows

We plan to provide the SAP Fiori 3 themes Quartz light, Quartz dark as well as the high contrast black and high contrast white versions for SAP GUI for Windows by the end of this year. This will then allow users of the SAP Business Client to use the SAP Fiori launchpad to launch both SAP Fiori apps and SAP GUI for Windows apps using the Quartz theme.

Availability of Quartz dark theme for WebClient

The classic UI technology WebClient used for SAP S/4HANA Service now supports the Quartz dark theme with SAP S/4HANA 2020. The WebClient first came to SAP S/4HANA from our SAP Customer Relationship Management solution with the add-on “SAP S/4HANA customer management” for the SAP S/4HANA 1709 release. This became part of the standard scope of SAP S/4HANA, i.e. no longer an add-on, with the 1909 release under the name of “SAP S/4HANA Service”.

Customers can create their own configurations of SAP standard views via configuration tool. They can add and remove fields, re-group them and also create the kind of SAP Fiori header depicted in the next screenshot, with facets of different type, value, group value, progress bar and image.

Support for Internet Explorer 11 (IE11)

Although we continue to support Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) with SAP S/4HANA 2020, we plan to no longer support it with next year’s on-premise 2021 release. Microsoft Edge on Chromium today provides an IE mode to support older applications, you can find out more here: Use Microsoft Edge in IE mode.

Digital assistant

Do you also believe that a conversational user experience will provide great advances over the coming years in helping users get their work done more easily?

Are you wondering about whether SAP S/4HANA 2020 includes a digital assistant, with natural language interaction?

Well, although it is not included in the release, we have made progress in re-engineering our digital assistant, and have just recently started a Beta program as part of a Customer Engagement Initiative (CEI) for our first new use cases in procurement and finance. Although registration for the beta program ended on October 1st, I would love to hear from anyone interested in giving us feedback – just write a comment to this blog, or send me an e-mail directly.

Conversational user experience with a digital assistant plays is an important part in the SAP Fiori 3 target design, which I outlined in last year’s blog post; once the beta program is completed, we plan to release these first use cases during the course of next year.

Further information

My blog post SAP Fiori 3: Multi-page spaces now available, and much more… contains more details as well as a comprehensive collection of links on SAP Fiori spaces, Situation Handling, SAP Fiori mobile app development, SAP Fiori development tools, so I will only list newer information here, plus some general information.

Spaces

SAP Fiori front-end server 2020 for S/4HANA

SAP Cloud Platform Launchpad

Situation Handling

Learn more from this new series of blog posts:

Documentation: Situation Handling for SAP S/4HANA 2020.

User experience overview: “UX for Intelligent Situation Handling”.

Beta started: “Intelligent Situation Automation – an extension of SAP S/4HANA Situation Handling”.

General information on SAP Fiori

I am repeating these essential links here for your convenience:

2 Comments
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  • Thanks for this detailed overview.

    One question regarding Situation Handling:

    Is there a plan to support custom (Z) business situations?

    • Hi Shai,

      We would like to be able to support custom business situations in the future, and we are investigating how we could best provide this. Once we have a clearer picture of what needs to be done to enable this as well as when we expect to be able to achieve this, we would make this visible in our road map.

      Regards,

      Tom