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SAP Fiori for SAP S/4HANA – Recommendations for transitioning users from SAP GUI to SAP Fiori

A common question from customers transitioning from SAP Business Suite (or Suite on HANA) to SAP S/4HANA, is:

How can we best transition users to the new UX?

Especially those SAP GUI-invested users who are reluctant to change to SAP Fiori?  These are often business users who do not yet understand the value in moving to SAP Fiori.

IMPORTANT: This is a concern that impacts customers coming from a considerable history of using SAP ERP. Customers starting on SAP S/4HANA (that is, with no history of SAP ERP) do not face these challenges, and typically take a “Fiori first’ approach.

This blog post is about how to effect mindset change in these users, and it is based on many discussions, different approaches tried, and direct feedback from several of our customers real-life experiences with their SAP S/4HANA projects.  These recommendations have been gathered by UX and SAP Fiori experts working within the SAP S/4HANA Customer Care program.

Tip: The SAP S/4HANA Customer Care program is an initiative where SAP S/4HANA RIG team of experts shepherd a wide variety of customers moving to SAP S/4HANA and capture these learnings to share them with other customers and projects. 

Like most mindset changes, you will need to change the mindset itself and the behaviors associated with the mindset.  Since most people find it easier to understand change when they can touch it and feel it, it helps to tackle both mindset and behaviors together.

To help you set your UX Strategy, in this blog post you will find a range of suggestions that customers, partners, and we ourselves have found useful. They can be summarized as follows:

  • Start with Why
  • Manage the pace of change
  • Think complementary – SAP Fiori versus GUI is not either/or, it is and/also
  • Involve users in the change
  • Top 10 tips to convince GUI-invested users there is value for them personally
  • Generate interest, excitement, and FOMO (fear of missing out)
  • Learn from other customers

Start with why

For anyone going into SAP S/4HANA – especially business users – it’s vital to understand how important SAP Fiori is to taking advantage of the new business value of SAP S/4HANA.  In a nutshell:

  • SAP Fiori is how the new business value of SAP S/4HANA is delivered to business users
  • You need SAP Fiori to configure, adapt, and extend SAP S/4HANA.

If you are already looking beyond SAP S/4HANA and/or are looking to include apps from SAP Cloud Solutions, you should find this SAP Teched 2020 replay helpful: Create a Future-Proof User Experience for Your Intelligent Enterprise [ST110]

SAP Fiori is how the new business value of SAP S/4HANA is delivered to business users

The new business value delivered by SAP Fiori includes:

  • Modern user experience that works on a range of devices (desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone)
  • Embedded analytics – real-time operational analytics with an insight-to-action approach that makes it easy to act immediately on insights
  • New business processes made available as part of SAP S/4HANA – e.g. Group Reporting, Central Procurement, Predictive MRP
  • Intelligent Automation – e.g. Situation Handling, Machine Learning, and many Robotic Process Automation scenarios.

The%20main%20value%20drivers%20for%20using%20SAP%20Fiori%20in%20SAP%20S/4HANA

The main value drivers for using SAP Fiori in SAP S/4HANA

This means that if you do not use SAP Fiori with SAP S/4HANA, you are missing out on most of the new business value of your SAP S/4HANA solution.  Certainly, you will still get technical benefits from being on HANA database, and from simplifications that remove some complexity from your underlying system, but those are often of little interest to business users.

You need SAP Fiori to configure, adapt and extend SAP S/4HANA 

You might initially think this point is aimed more at the project team than business users, until you consider all those cloud-first in-app extension capabilities aimed at key users.

Who are Key Users? Key users are simply business users who are authorized to make changes to your user experience on behalf of other users.

It’s up to you to decide who that will be on your site.  They could be your power users, your champion users, your business process experts, a central process governance group, or they could even be designated members of your support team.

Key users are authorized to use in-app extensibility features and apps adapt your solution during your initial conversion to SAP S/4HANA, and they can also use these same features and apps after go-live to respond to changing business needs and market conditions.

You can find out more about these features and apps in the blog post  Yes you need SAP Fiori to configure, adapt, and extend SAP S/4HANA.

In-app extensions are the easiest, quickest and safest way to adapt your SAP S/4HANA solution.

High%20level%20view%20of%20options%20to%20extend%20SAP%20S/4HANA%20-%20Adapt%2C%20Extend%2C%20or%20Build

High level view of options to extend SAP S/4HANA – Adapt, Extend, or Build

In-app extensions used to adapt SAP S/4HANA support the most commonly needed changes.  In-app extensions typically take no more than a few minutes to effect the desired changes. Typical changes supported by in-app extensions include:

  • Saving filter, chart and table variants to default your preferred filter fields, table columns, chart measures for shared apps
  • Creating additional custom entities, such as custom analytics, custom CDS Views, custom business objects and/or custom KPIs
  • Adding, hiding, and reorganizing fields on a page
  • Hiding or reordering buttons and sections of an app
  • Adding analytic cards and list of links on an Overview Page
  • Adding custom fields and business logic to apps

It’s worth knowing that even if you decide to only use SAP GUI initially for some users, you may still need SAP Fiori app F1481 Custom Fields and Logic in the development environment to create custom fields for some GUI transactions.  Older techniques such as Append Structure in transaction SE11 must be avoided wherever the new no/low-code approaches have been implemented to avoid technical conflicts.

Tip:  There are currently more than 388 business context scenarios in SAP S/4HANA 2020.  Each business context scenario covers adding custom fields centrally to a group of related tables, CDS Views, OData Services, SAP Fiori apps, and even classic UIs, such as GUI transactions.  You can find the full list of business context scenarios with their technical details in GUI transaction SCFD_REGISTRY.

Maximizing use of in-app extensions minimizes the overall extension effort.   

You may find you also need your developers and technical support team to make more complex changes, such as adding a new section to an existing app or building custom apps. These types of changes typically take days to weeks.

You can even future-proof your own custom-built apps by including in-app extension capabilities in your own custom apps.  Refer to the section SAPUI5 Flexibility: Adapting UIs made easy in the SAPUI5 SDK to find out what’s involved.

Manage the pace of change

You should manage the pace of change to achieve your desired business outcomes and respect your users’ capacity for change.

You need to consider which business users you will move to SAP Fiori, when, and why.

Typical%20mix%20and%20match%20strategies%20for%20managing%20the%20pace%20of%20change%20-%20from%20SAP%20GUI%20only%20to%20showcase%20roles%20to%20Fiori%20first%20approaches

Typical mix and match strategies for managing the pace of change with indicative gains in business value balanced against organizational change impacts – from SAP GUI only to Single Entry point to Showcase first to Fiori first approaches

It’s important to know that you do NOT need to move everyone to SAP Fiori immediately.  Arguably the most important part of your UX strategy is setting out a roadmap of who will move to SAP Fiori, when, and why.

That said, it is definitely helpful to start with at least one or two groups of users (aka your own business roles) in your initial conversion – aka the Showcase Roles approach.

The faster you move users to SAP Fiori, the faster you benefit from the new business value of SAP S/4HANA. 

Doing at least some SAP Fiori in your initial rollout:

  • provides a clear proof point of the new business value of SAP S/4HANA to encourage buy-in from sponsors, stakeholders, and business users
  • encourages your roadmap and next steps discussions within the business
  • builds future-ready skills within your IT and organizational change management teams
  • ensures your base SAP Fiori architecture is in place so you can grow your SAP Fiori coverage over time

It’s entirely natural and expected that business users who are familiar with SAP GUI may be reluctant to change. 

Where you know you have change-reluctant users, it is advisable to focus on your most innovation-ready users first.  For example, start with a group of users who only need to use SAP GUI occasionally and find it painful to use GUI.  Alternatively, you could choose a group of users where you want to bring explicit new value aligned to strategic/tactical business outcomes. Decide how many groups of users (aka your business roles) you can transition in each phase of your roadmap.

Take the learnings from these early user groups to help grow your SAP Fiori coverage over time.

It is easier to convince users when they see how changing how they work contributes to business outcomes, so emphasize the importance of what they do (and how they do it) to the success of your organization.

For hardcore SAP GUI users, there is still room to improve the user experience without forcing too much change on them at once. SAP Screen Personas allows organizations to hide fields and controls you are not using and rearrange controls on the screen to simplify how you interact with the screen. This can include reducing or eliminating the number of tabs on highly complex screens.

Do not forget your developers and your support teams.

Developers who extend and/or build apps and classic UIs will need to be enabled early, as a minimum to ensure they are testing with the end-state solution in mind. For example, custom classic UIs that will be launched from the SAP Fiori launchpad, will need to be tested under the relevant SAP Fiori visual theme, such as Quartz light.

Most developers also need access to some SAP Fiori apps to extend and build apps and classic UIs, such as:

Similarly support teams will need access and enablement in using the SAP Fiori launchpad and support tools, such as About and the F4914 App Support tool.

Think complementary – SAP Fiori versus SAP GUI is not “either/or”, it is “and also”

There is no need to treat SAP Fiori as replacing SAP GUI – moving to SAP Fiori is not an “either/or” decision, in practice it is an “and also” decision. It is normal and expected that most business roles will contain a mix of SAP Fiori apps and classic UIs.

One of the many strengths of the SAP Fiori launchpad is that it supports launching of, and app-to-app navigation between, multiple User Interface technologies. The SAP Fiori launchpad can natively launch:

  • SAP Fiori apps,
  • Classic User Interfaces – such as SAP GUI transactions, Web Dynpro ABAP applications, and Web Client UIs,
    • Classic UIs can be launched with or without SAP Screen Personas flavors
  • and URLs, such as links to 3rd party apps and apps in SAP Cloud solutions.

IMPORTANT: SAP Fiori launchpad launches a variety of UI technologies, and in fact, SAP Business Roles are delivered for SAP S/4HANA in this way. For more on this read Understanding SAP Business Roles.

From SAP’s usability research with SAP S/4HANA customers it is clear that, when users launch all their apps/UIs from the SAP Fiori launchpad, business users see SAP Fiori and classic UIs as part of the same solution, while SAP GUI for Windows is seen as separate.  This is different to a technical view of the different technologies.

Business%20users%20see%20SAP%20Fiori%20and%20SAP%20GUI%20for%20HTML%20as%20closely%20related%20UIs

Business users tend to view SAP Fiori and SAP GUI for HTML as closely related UIs, separate from SAP GUI for Windows. Technical users think of SAP GUI for Windows and SAP GUI for HTML as separate to SAP Fiori

In practice the majority of the more than 500 SAP Business Roles delivered with SAP S/4HANA bring a mix of SAP Fiori apps and classic UIs as each role.

Why this mix? As a general guideline, each new SAP S/4HANA major release has brought around 350-400 new SAP Fiori apps, bringing new value. The focus of SAP S/4HANA has been on bringing new business value first, rather than simply replacing well-known working classic UIs.

When it comes to managing the pace of change, you can use this to your advantage by taking a complementary approach – introducing additional new value, without removing old value. As trust builds in the new UX, you can increase the amount of SAP Fiori and decrease usage of the older classic UIs, aligning these changes to your changing business outcome needs.

To minimize differences between UI technologies early, you may want to consider using SAP Screen Personas as part of your SAP S/4HANA solution to make some classic UI screens look more like SAP Fiori apps. SAP Screen Personas delivers themes, templates, and styles that can transform SAP GUI screens into screens that look very similar to SAP Fiori apps. You can even create adaptive flavors that run on desktops, tablets, and phones.

For more information watch the SAP Teched 2020 replay: Accelerate Adoption of SAP Fiori for SAP S/4HANA with SAP Screen Personas [IIS130]

You can find more on SAP Screen Personas in the SAP Community.

Involve users in the change

Most people are far less reluctant to change when they feel they have a voice in the changes.

Even the most rigorous user research is no substitute for having your own business users give their direct feedback into your plans. Good places to involve at least some business users in the relevant business roles are:

  • Refining your UX roadmap to understand competing pressures or desires that influence who moves to SAP Fiori when and why
  • During fit-to-standard (or fit-gap) analysis to understand what mobile devices would make sense for which types of tasks, and to mitigate any challenges early, for example meeting safety regulations when using devices
  • Designing the launchpad layout for your business roles – what makes sense to them, which tasks are most important/most frequent

Your aim here is to select a few users who can give good inputs and that you can grow to change evangelists to their compatriots.  Your organizational change management team may already know who is most vocal, who is most proactive, and who may be good advocates from your user community.

Top 10 tips to convince GUI-invested business users of the value to them personally

For GUI-invested business users, there are a few approaches that are particularly helpful:

  1. Launch all their apps and UIs from the launchpad (their single entry point)
  2. Give them easy access to their existing GUI transactions via the App Finder options SAP Easy Access Menu and/or SAP Menu
  3. Emphasize the top benefits for all users just by using the launchpad
  4. Introduce apps that add significant new business value first
  5. Take a complementary approach
  6. Make getting started easy with a good default launchpad layout
  7. Make sure important identifiers are visible, e.g. transaction codes on tiles
  8. Make sure you have optimized your SAP Fiori launchpad experience for performance
  9. Consider using SAP Business Client launchpad connection on desktop to retain the best of both worlds (SAP Fiori and SAP GUI for Windows)
  10. Enable your business users, especially your key users

1.    Launch all their apps and UIs from the launchpad (their single entry point)

Once they move to SAP Fiori launchpad let them access all their SAP Fiori apps and classic Uis from the SAP Fiori launchpad. Avoid making users swap between SAP GUI and SAP Fiori.  Let them know the launchpad will bring them everything they need in one place.

2.    Give them easy access to their existing GUI transactions via the App Finder options SAP Easy Access menus

You can optionally grant users access to the User Menu and SAP Menu tabs in the App Finder. These menus are collectively known as the SAP Easy Access menus.  This enables users to search for and launch any transaction they are authorized to use.

Giving users access to the SAP Easy Access menus reduces effort for the project team *and* gives users a feeling of comfort that they can still get to all their apps. Users can even use personalization to add their favorite transactions to their launchpad home page for quick access.

Find out more in Adding Transactions to SAP Fiori launchpad

3.    Emphasize the top benefits for all users granted via the launchpad 

Emphasize generic benefits they will get regardless of which apps/UIs are assigned to them such as:

  • Search – all you have is a reference number or part of an id and not sure what it is? Search helps you find it *and* any apps/UIs you can use to action it,
  • Notifications – workflows, exceeding KPI thresholds, situations, etc.
  • Personalization – default both single and multiple values into reports, e.g. all the cost centers I look after,
  • Ease of navigation between apps and UIs
  • Mobile device usage

Summary%20of%20top%20benefits%20for%20business%20users%20granted%20via%20the%20launchpad%20-%20Search%2C%20Notification%2C%20Settings%2C%20and%20others

Summary of top benefits for business users granted via the launchpad – Search, Notification, Settings, and others

If your users have multiple devices, the option to run SAP Fiori apps and classic UIs on devices can be a major benefit of its own.

  • SAP Fiori apps can be used on desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphone. Some SAP Fiori apps are optimized for certain device types.
  • Most classic UIs can be used on desktop, laptop and tablet.

Important: Classic UIs can optionally be made available on smartphones by applying a SAP Screen Personas flavor overlay with the Slipstream engine.

4.    Introduce apps that add significant new business value to them first

For example: SAP Fiori lighthouse scenarios has a short list of the most interesting new business value apps for those users coming from SAP Business Suite.

There are many apps with Manage and Monitor in their name or description. These typically provide useful dashboards that helping users prioritize their current workload for specific business object. These often even provide app-to-classic UI navigation to familiar GUI transactions.

A few examples are:

5.    Take a complementary approach

Start by using SAP Fiori to bring new business value in addition to familiar and well-loved SAP GUI transactions.

For example, look to add apps that help users better prioritize their existing work, or make them more responsive to situations they already need to handle.

Great ways to add new value without losing the old value are adding analytical apps and easy-to-grasp intelligent automation such as:

Once users start to trust the SAP Fiori experience you can gradually add more use cases and transactional apps.

6.    Make getting started easy with a good default layout

Some consultants at a customer recently told me of a previous project where no layouts had been set up.  Users were directed to do all the set-up of their own launchpad layout from scratch via personalization when they first logged in. For most users this took hours of time away from the urgent work they needed to do.  Even worse, after some weeks and several trainings later, they were still unsure where to access information.

Involve users in creating a good default launchpad layout for their most important and most frequent apps.

A good launchpad layout encourages user adoption as the launchpad makes sense to them immediately they login.  SAP Fiori apps F4834 Manage Launchpad Spaces and F4512 Manage Launchpad Pages are WYSIWYG tools – great for sitting with users and adjusting the layout together.

Do not overload the layout by putting every single app and UI on the page.

Remember infrequent apps and UIs can still be accessed via Search, via the App Finder, via the Home navigation button.

Your default layout does not need to be perfect.

Aim for a “good enough” layout for go-live day 1 so that your users can carry on working with minimal transition time. Show them the personalization so they can fine-tune it later. Expect that many users will not bother to fine-tune, and many others will only start to fine-tune some days or weeks later, after they feel comfortable with the new solution.

Make every effort to include at least some users who actually do these roles in the process of creating the layout.

For example, you could use some of the following techniques:

  • Run a simple workshop to prototype a layout on a physical or digital whiteboard with physical or digital post-it notes representing each app
  • Sit down together with the Manage Launchpad Pages app and a user who knows that role to prototype your launchpad layout togethers
  • Do simple usability tests with a few intended users to check the layout makes sense. Make them practical to make sure the layout is working. For example, you could ask a few simple questions as:
    1. What would you select at the start of a typical day?
    2. You are given this problem to solve – what do you select first?
    3. Someone has given you a reference number but isn’t clear what business entity/object this represents – how do you find the business object so you can start working on it?
    4. You need to prioritize your work – where would you get an overview of what needs to be done?

You can find more advice in how to structure the launchpad layout in Recommendation for Structuring Roles, Spaces and Pages in the SAP Fiori Launchpad Based on Common User Behaviors

7.    Make sure important identifiers are visible on the launchpad, such as Transaction Codes on tiles

Consider using the “Add Transaction code to tile” option when replicating business catalogs for classic UIs (GUI, WDA, and Web Client UI). You can do this with programs such as /UI2/GET_APP_DESCR_REMOTE.

Screenshot%20of%20program%20/UI2/GET_APP_DESCR_REMOTE%20parameter%20Add%20Transaction%20code%20to%20tile

Screenshot of program /UI2/GET_APP_DESCR_REMOTE parameter Add Transaction code to tile

This option makes the transaction code visible in the information area on the related tiles of the launchpad, such as this example for SAP GUI transaction MIR4 on tile Display Supplier Invoice – Advanced.

Example%20result%20of%20the%20program%3A%20Tiles%20show%20the%20transaction%20code%20in%20the%20information%20text%20of%20the%20tile

Example result of the program: Tiles show the transaction code – in this example MIR4 – in the information text in the bottom left corner of the tile

IMPORTANT: This option is currently only available for replicated catalogs.  There is no equivalent option yet for the new standard catalogs available from SAP S/4HANA 2020. For standard catalogs you can manually maintain the transaction code on the tile using the new tool Launchpad App Manager.

8.    Make sure you have optimized your SAP Fiori launchpad experience for performance 

Running through a web browser is technically more complex and involves more moving parts than a native client, such as SAP GUI for Windows. That said, there is a lot that has been done already by SAP, and a lot that you can do to optimize performance at your site.

Pay attention to the latest best practice advice – particularly performance-relevant launchpad configuration parameters which are some of the easiest changes to make. For example: Improve Performance via SAP Fiori launchpad configuration in SAP Fiori for SAP S/4HANA

Most importantly, do NOT overload the launchpad home page.  Lean and clean is better for usability and the user’s mental health, as well as better for system performance.

Review and optimize performance by running some HTTP traces to identify any bottlenecks, then reviewing the related mitigation options in SAP Note 2916959 – Fiori Performance Troubleshooting 

Consider getting advice from an experienced SAP consultant via a Business Process Optimization (BPPO) service for SAP Fiori.

9.    Consider using SAP Business Client Launchpad Connection on desktop to retain best of both worlds (SAP Fiori and SAP GUI for Windows)

This lets users use the SAP Fiori launchpad for new apps while retaining SAP GUI for Windows for familiar GUI transactions. Using this approach, selecting any GUI transaction on the SAP Fiori launchpad launches the transaction in GUI for Windows using SAP Business Client.

SAP%20Fiori%20launchpad%20shown%20in%20the%20SAP%20Business%20Client%207.0.%20with%20theme%20Quartz%20Light

SAP Fiori launchpad shown in the SAP Business Client 7.0. with theme Quartz Light

Find out more about this option in:

10.    Enable your business users, especially your key users

Even the most proactive user likes a quick introduction to a system rather than left to figure it out for themselves – just consider how many consumer apps come with a “Quick Tour” option for newbies.  Taking the time to give an introduction shows that you value their experience and want them to feel comfortable.

Put together some good communications and resources to make sure all users are clear on:

  • where to get help,
  • where to find personalizations, and
  • the difference between the launchpad (your most important/most frequent content) and the app finder (everything you have access to).

You may want to take a train the trainer approach by training your key users first, then using them to spread the word. Key users will also know need to know how to:

  • Create shared filter, table, and chart variants
  • Create custom analytical queries
  • Adjust Smart Business KPIs and reports
  • Adjust apps using Adapt UI

Some of the most useful enablement resources are:

There’s also a nice series of blog posts from Monica Reyes:

Generating interest, excitement, and FOMO (fear of missing out)

For the users you want to bring on first and next, the easiest way to generate interest, excitement and fear of missing out is to show what is possible.  A quick way to do this is to use some of the many videos SAP provides to help.

This is a list of some of the most popular videos that demonstrate SAP Fiori in action in SAP S/4HANA:

Learn from other customers

You can learn from other customers by participating in any of the many virtual webinars/forums, conferences, and SAP User Groups.

Consider the SAP Fiori Practitioners Forum (which runs in the Europe/Americas timezone) and the Asia-Pacific Japan UX Practitioners Forum.  Sessions are typically recorded and made available for replay for those who missed the session or registered after the session.  You can register for both of these webinars at:  SAP Fiori and APJ UX Practitioners Forum

Just to give a few examples, in the APJ UX Practitioner’s forum over the last few months:

You can find your local SAP User Group on the SAP website.

Becoming a SAP Fiori for SAP S/4HANA guru

You’ll find much more on our SAP Fiori for SAP S/4HANA wiki

You can also find out more about SAP User Experience and Design in 3 Tips to Stay Informed About User Experience & Design Topics at SAP

Other helpful links in the SAP Community:

Brought to you by the SAP S/4HANA RIG.

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