SAP Screen Personas roadmap update 2022 July – SAP S/4HANA-ready
Recently, I had some exchanges with customers related to the future of SAP Screen Personas. One was a long-time customer who wanted to set up an SAP Screen Personas roadmap for their enterprise. They want to expand SAP Screen Personas usage as they plan their move to SAP S/4HANA. Another was a new customer looking at add-ons such as SAP Screen Personas as part of their SAP S/4HANA conversion project. They were concerned that SAP Screen Personas support might expire before they went live with their project. By now, I would expect that announcing that SAP Screen Personas is part of our flagship cloud-ERP product, SAP S/4HANA Cloud, would demonstrate that SAP Screen Personas is very strategic to SAP and part of SAP’s long-term UX strategy. In this post, I will summarize those discussions so you can benefit from this information and gain confidence about the SAP Screen Personas roadmap.
Existing customers should build SAP Screen Personas into their UX roadmap
For the existing customer, they are active users of SAP Screen Personas with many flavors in production. They also participate regularly in our monthly SAP Screen Personas practitioner forum. In spite of their success in making their users more productive with SAP applications and reducing training time, some of their IT management does not like SAP Screen Personas as they believe it is not strategic and not part of SAP’s long-term UX strategy. We have been hearing and debunking this rumor for years.
In addition to the management pressure to steer away from SAP Screen Personas, the main UX champion also heard rumors outside his organization. One of his children has a friend whose parent works for another SAP customer. They too had the perception that SAP Screen Personas is not a long-term solution, and they should focus on building SAPUI5 Fiori apps instead.
The SAP Screen Personas team is part of SAP UX Engineering, the same group that creates the tools that SAP, customers, and partners use to build SAP Fiori apps. So, we are happy when people use any of our tools, whether it’s SAP Fiori elements, SAP Fiori tools, or SAP Screen Personas.
One of their architects on the call brought up that SAP S/4HANA is all SAP Fiori apps, so SAP Screen Personas is not necessary. If you check the SAP Fiori app reference library and go through some of the filters, you will see that you will probably still need SAP Screen Personas.
You can use SAP Screen Personas to make classic applications in SAP S/4HANA more usable by hiding unused fields, pre-filling common values, rearranging controls on the screen to fit your workflows, and automating repetitive actions. Thousands of customers already do this today in both SAP S/4HANA and ECC.
One key take-away from the meeting was that the customer will now check the SAP Fiori app reference library to see if there is an SAP Fiori app before moving forward to build flavors for various business stakeholders. This is a good idea. They mentioned that, in some cases, they might still build a flavor since the effort is relatively low and the payoff in terms of productivity could be high. In other cases, they might wait until they have access to the SAP Fiori app in SAP S/4HANA. As with so many situations around which technology to use with SAP, the answer is “it depends.”
New customers planning for SAP S/4HANA should allocate resources to build some SAP Screen Personas flavors
The other conversation also had to do with strategy. The customer reached out because they were concerned about starting a new SAP Screen Personas project. They looked at the product availability matrix (PAM) and saw the end of mainstream maintenance date was Dec. 31, 2023. This was before their planned go-live date on SAP S/4HANA! They wanted to reconcile the stated 2040 support date that we quote in our release strategy note (aligned with SAP S/4HANA support commitment) with the date they saw in the PAM.
The dates listed in PAM are for individual versions of SAP Screen Personas, specifically the latest released version. The overall release strategy means that, until 2040, we will support at least one release with the feature scope of SAP Screen Personas.
This is standard industry practice in the software industry. Microsoft currently supports Windows 10 and 11, but not Windows 7, XP, 95, etc. Apple supports the latest three versions of iOS for their phones. So, companies often drop support for outdated versions of their software since innovations may make parts of it obsolete. In the case of SAP Screen Personas, we are strongly committed to supporting the product for the long term, even if we no longer support a version we released several years ago.
We are looking at ways to make this clearer in our documentation and SAP Notes to ensure that customers can create a multi-year plan for rolling out SAP S/4HANA. Predictability is critical for any large enterprise software project.
SAP S/4HANA Cloud customers already have access to SAP Screen Personas through the Adapt UI menu
SAP Screen Personas is built into SAP S/4HANA Cloud, so you always have access to the latest version, which, of course, is supported. We will continue to Innovate in new functionality, which will appear in both the on-prem and cloud versions, since they share the same code line. We are planning to release a new openSAP course that focuses on the Adapt UI functionality in SAP S/4HANA Cloud. Mark your calendar for September 2022, which is when we expect to launch the course.
- Are you planning an upgrade to SAP S/4HANA or new implementation? Your current flavors will still work, assuming the ECC transaction still exists as an SAP S/4HANA application. You can migrate or export/import your flavors to your new SAP S4HANA system.
- Is someone in your organization blocking your SAP Screen Personas project because they think that the product is not strategic? Point them to this post. If you want to schedule a call with me or one of the other members of the product team, just email me to set it up.
- Are you on the fence about whether to build a flavor, write a new SAP Fiori app, or use what SAP provides? Check the reference library to see what’s available. If the classic application does what you want but it’s too complex, we recommend you simplify it with SAP Screen Personas. If you need net new functionality, go ahead and build a new app with SAPUI5 and SAP Fiori elements.
On behalf of the SAP Screen Personas product team, Peter Spielvogel.