Ever since the introduction of Fiori, at ConvergentIS we have been working with several customers on improving their user experience while optimizing the ROI (Return on Investment). In this blog, we aim to consolidate our learnings to guide SAP customers on the options they have while approaching the goal of improving their users’ experience.
Whenever you do not find a Fiori app that meets your requirements, it can be tempting to jump into custom developing a Fiori app. However, this can be a very expensive approach. Before jumping to the conclusion that meeting your business requirements needs custom development, we considered some of the questions you can ask to find the other cost-effective alternatives. These questions are based on frugal innovation, which is a concept we strongly believe in and aims to optimize the return on investments.
Instead of comparing all your options side-by-side, answering yes or no to a couple of common questions will give some more guidance to a seemingly complex task. To do so, we encourage you to review the simple guidance framework for improving user experience (pictured above) and use this blog post as a guide.
So, let’s get started on this journey!
Available Out of the Box Fiori Offerings
Implementing out-of-the-box SAP Fiori apps might seem like common practice to get started. You can look at SAP Fiori Apps Reference Library to find all the current SAP delivered Fiori apps. But finding the right app is just the beginning. Determining whether your systems have all the prerequisites expected by the identified application is a complex process. Here, you can even get Fiori app recommendations specific to your system versions by connecting the SAP Fiori App Reference library to your systems.
Note that SAP provides automation tools for activating the out-of-the-box SAP Fiori Apps within S/4HANA. Please refer to SAP Note 2947824 for more details on how to use these tools.
If you are upgrading from SAP Business Suite into S/4HANA, ‘SAP Fiori Lighthouse Scenarios’ provides a list of business processes and the corresponding SAP Fiori apps that provide immediate business benefit to the users.
There can also be a scenario where you find a Fiori app that meets most of your requirements but needs minor enhancements. In this case, you can choose to extend the SAP provided Fiori apps using the supported extension points as specified in the SAP Fiori App Reference library.
So, what if you did not find the right SAP Fiori App that meets your requirements? Time to look at the App Center.
App Center – Partner developed, SAP validated, applications
Where SAP Fiori apps built by SAP aren’t an option, your business can move to the second question in the diagram, “Is there an app on the App Center that fits these requirements?” SAP App Center is a digital market place of partner-built solutions (like ours!) that have been validated by SAP and can be easily extended onto existing SAP technology and solutions. It is likely that if there is nothing in the SAP Fiori App Reference Library, you can look for a partner app. Partner apps can be found on the App Center or through a quick search on Google. Note that App Center is not an exclusive collection of SAP Fiori apps, rather it contains a wide variety of partner–built solutions including hardware, platforms, applications, APIs, and others.
If you can find a match for your business needs in any of these SAP validated apps, it can be a real-time, cost, and resource saver and provide your business with a good return on investment. Just like out-of-the-box SAP delivered Fiori apps, you may find an opportunity to modify and enhance an existing App Center applications if small changes can meet your requirements. You can use the SAP Fiori App Reference Library for finding all the supported enhancement options for the app. Moreover, you can explore in-app extensions and app personalization to see if those can meet your requirements.
So, what if you did not find a partner–developed application to meet your requirements? Should you go for custom development? Not yet! Let’s go to the next step. Co-innovation!
Opportunities to Co-innovate
If your searches on App Center and Google are unsuccessful, your team can ask the third question, “will the solution be widely used?” If the problem is facing two or three people in your company, it might not make sense to make large investments to create something custom. In this case, creating a cheat sheet or supporting these users with additional training will likely be sufficient. This way, your team has the proper guidance to use the solution and doesn’t require big upfront investments that may never result in a positive return on investment.
Alternatively, you might have hundreds or thousands of people plagued with a difficult process. In this case, it is also important you answer, “Is this problem common to other SAP customers, or is it just a problem my business faces?” It is important to ask this because common problems are opportunities to co-innovate with an SAP AppHaus partner.
In a co-innovation scenario, you get an SAP partner to develop a custom SAP Fiori app for you while absorbing a part of the expenses involved. The SAP Partner gets to keep the intellectual property rights of the app as a return for its investment. This is a win-win situation both for the SAP customer and the SAP partner so solutions to a business problem can be leveraged and reused wherever possible.
In summary, by helping to develop a solution that fits your business, savings can be realized if the solution can be packaged and shared with other SAP customers. Additional benefits include automatic product updates and receiving a more custom solution at a fraction of the cost.
Taking one step back, you might have answered “no” when asked if the problem your business faces is common to other SAP customers. In this case, co-innovating may be less plausible. Rather than fear the big price tag that comes with starting from scratch, you can answer the next question suggested, “is the problem simple?” Are there little fixes that will make the solution more user-friendly, such as hiding a field or suggesting the next step in the process? If so, you can then ask, “is your current solution based on SAP GUI or Web Dynpro ABAP?”
If your requirements are very limited, small, and almost achieved by simplifying an existing SAP Transaction Code or a WebDynpro application, SAP Screen Personas might come to your rescue.
SAP Screen Personas provides you a tool to simplify, personalize, and transform the traditional SAP GUI and WebDynpro into SAP Fiori screens. These are mobile compatible, have a Fiori theme, and are integrated into Fiori Launchpad, offering a complete Fiori experience at a fraction of the cost of a full Fiori solution.
Using SAP Screen Personas, you create a flavor, which is a layer above the SAP GUI and WebDynpro screens providing the required simplification and transformations. SAP Screen Personas Gallery is a collection of both SAP and Partner built screen persona flavors which you can use to jump–start your flavor building exercise.
Custom Building Fiori applications
Now that we have explored all the alternatives, if you think that none of those options meet your requirements, you may consider building a Fiori app from scratch. This can seem like an expensive endeavor, but we have found that getting the right design can go in a long way in realizing the return on investment.
SAP strongly recommends using the Design Thinking Methodology, a user-centered approach to design your Fiori applications. You may make use of SAP AppHaus spaces to design your applications and ensure that the investment in custom building the Fiori app will deliver results.
We have been using this guided approach to solve our customers’ user experience problems for years and have found it extremely helpful in making those projects successful. We hope that after reviewing this simple guidance process, you are confident in making the right decisions to improve the user experience for your department.
Thanks to my colleagues Sarah Kordyban and Jodie Masikewich for your help in writing this blog.