Delivering Better Business Outcomes using SAP Companion
Is your organization experiencing adoption issues with SAP systems, such as S/4HANA, Ariba or SuccessFactors? Is it grappling with the best way to develop a knowledgeable, efficient workforce as it transforms to stay competitive? Are you looking for options to proactively push communications to system users to ensure that they are aware of changes to their systems and ways of operating? Is the concept of continuous, on-the-job learning something that your organization aspires to deliver but struggles to understand how?
If any of these questions resonates with you, SAP Companion may be the solution you need to reduce the impact of change and deliver better business outcomes, faster. The rest of this post will help you to understand whether SAP Companion can help your organization to be the best version of itself.
What is SAP Companion?
SAP Companion is a solution that provides real-time access to information for application end users, such as S/4HANA, Ariba, SuccessFactors, or SAP GUI users. It allows users to access the most relevant information for the active application screen, without leaving that screen.
As a concept, solutions like SAP Companion are commonly referred to by names such as Enterprise Performance Support Solutions (EPSS) or Digital Adoption Platforms (DAP). Ultimately, these solutions provide context-sensitive access to information for system end users, to allow those users to learn as they use the corresponding functionality. That is, they support real-time, continuous learning.
SAP Companion can be used with browser-based applications, such as SAP S/4HANA, and desktop applications, such as SAP GUI. Prior to the Enable Now 2206 (June 2022) release, SAP Companion was referred to as Web Assistant – for browser-based applications – and Desktop Assistant – for desktop applications. In recent times, the look and feel and functionality of Web Assistant and Desktop Assistant were aligned to the point that it is now difficult for end users to know that these are two different technologies. Given the level of alignment of the two technologies, the name SAP Companion was introduced to collectively represent this capability.
How does SAP Companion support application adoption?
SAP Companion provides different options to allow users to learn, at the place and time of need, without leaving the current application. Forget about the frustrations associated with spending hours searching through SharePoint or similar portals for information, SAP Companion users just open it, launch the relevant content, and learn.
SAP Companion supports real-time, continuous learning by:
- Allowing end users to access content – such as Simulations, eLearning content, PDF documents, or videos – created and managed in SAP Enable Now Producer. Users can access this content with as few as two clicks of their mouse
- Allowing end users to display critical information about screen objects, such as application fields or buttons. Messages can be attached to and displayed for almost any screen object, e.g., to clarify what value should be selected in an attribute for a specific scenario
- Guiding end users through system transactions, in the live system. These Guided Tours lead end users through each transaction, step-by-step, until the transaction is processed in the corresponding application
- Pushing critical information to end users to ensure that they remain up to date with current requirements. This provides the ability to proactively notify end users of changes to the functionality that they are using so that they can adjust their behaviors to meet current expectations.
To see a short example of SAP Companion in action, watch SAP Companion Overview (10 mins).
Will SAP Companion work with my application?
As mentioned earlier in this post, SAP Companion consists of two technologies – formally known as Desktop Assistant and Web Assistant – that can be used with SAP and non-SAP applications. The decision about which technology to use with your specific application is influenced by a range of factors, including whether the application is a desktop or browser-based application.
When deploying content within desktop applications, such as SAP GUI, there is only one option with Enable Now, SAP Companion for Desktop. This is the only SAP Companion technology that works with desktop applications, i.e., applications that have client files installed on each PC or laptop. The SAP Enable Now Product Availability Matrix (PAM) provides details of a limited number of applications that have been tested by the Enable Now team and found to be compatible with SAP Companion for Desktop. If your application is not listed in the PAM, it is not an indication that SAP Companion for Desktop will not work with that application; it simply means that the Enable Now team has not tested SAP Companion for Desktop with that application. SAP Companion for Desktop may work very well with your SAP or non-SAP desktop application, but you must test SAP Companion for Desktop with your specific application to determine the level of compatibility.
SAP browser-based applications
SAP Companion (the component formally known as Web Assistant), has been integrated into a significant number of SAP browser-based applications, including S/4HANA, Ariba, and SuccessFactors. Unlike SAP Companion for Desktop, SAP Companion does require integration, a technical activity, before it will function in any given browser-based application. That technical integration activity has been completed for many of SAP’s browser-based applications, which allows individual customers to turn on and use SAP Companion, using the steps outlined in SAP Companion Integration Guide.
The level of integration between SAP Companion and each SAP browser-based application varies by application. In some instances, it is possible to deploy SAP standard content only, in other cases only customer-specific content can be deployed, and in a third scenario both standard and customer-specific content can be distributed. The level of integration between SAP Companion and the SAP browser-based applications that support it can be viewed in SAP Companion – Supported Applications and Content Scenarios. This document outlines the level of support for each application, whether standard content is available for that application – including standard Simulations, Guided Tours, or Context Help bubbles – and whether SAP Companion can be used to display customer-specific content for the application. The document also contains links to the standard Simulation libraries that have been developed.
Non-SAP browser-based applications
Many customers who use SAP Companion with SAP browser-based applications asked to use the same functionality in other non-SAP portals in their applications landscape. From the 2206 (June 2022) release of Enable Now, this is now a possibility. Whilst it is not guaranteed that SAP Companion will function well with all browser-based applications, it is possible that the same great functionality available in many SAP browser-based applications, can now be extended to other non-SAP browser-based applications.
As discussed previously in this section, SAP Companion requires a level of technical integration to function in any application. This integration work may not have been completed for your specific non-SAP application. If this is the case, it is necessary to engage a trained SAP or partner consultant to assist with an initial analysis of your application to determine the level of compatibility with SAP Companion. If the analysis determines that your application is compatible with SAP Companion, it will then be necessary for the consultant to finalize the integration work, required to get SAP Companion functioning in all screens of your application.
If you are interested in deploying SAP Companion in a browser-based application, not listed in the SAP Companion – Supported Applications and Content Scenarios document, please contact your SAP representative to discuss now to proceed with the initial compatibility analysis.
Who can use SAP Companion?
As previously mentioned, SAP Companion is used by SAP customers to provide real-time, continuous learning opportunities for their application users. Using SAP Companion, end users can access a range of different content types that enable them to learn as they use the corresponding application. SAP Companion can be used to deploy content created by SAP and content created and managed by individual organisations.
Accessing standard SAP content – created and maintained by SAP
SAP has developed various types of standard content to support the use of many of its browser-based application, including S/4HANA, Ariba and SuccessFactors. This standard content is in different forms but includes Simulations, Guided Tours and Context Help bubbles.
If standard content has been created by SAP for a browser-based application that supports SAP Companion, e.g., S/4HANA, it is possible to turn on SAP Companion within that application and access the standard content. The standard content is available to all end users of the corresponding application without the need for any additional license. That is, all end users of that application can access and use the standard content, in its standard form, using their existing application licenses.
Accessing customer-specific content or modified standard SAP content
If customers choose to modify, in any way, or extend the standard content to include their own customer-specific content, Enable Now licenses are required to create the new content, modified the standard SAP content, and access the new or modified content. All modified standard SAP content and all new customer-specific content is stored in Enable Now Manager. Therefore, customers must be licensed for the use of Enable Now to deploy any non-standard SAP content through SAP Companion.
Internal vs external employees
In many organisations, the internal workforce is supplemented by external contractors and contingent workers, to deliver specific activities or to provide additional resources during peak periods of demand. It is common for these temporary employees to have limited access to the organization’s systems, e.g., to enter their timesheets. In many instances, no user account is created in the organization’s identity provider system (IDP) for temporary employees, which means that these users cannot use Single Sign On (SSO) to access applications such as SAP Companion.
In general, users of SAP Companion must be authenticated by Enable Now, using SSO, before being provided with access to content. This is typically a simple task for internal employees because almost every internal employee can be authenticated via SSO so can access content through SAP Companion.
Prior to the 2206 release of Enable Now, it was not possible to provide access to content through SAP Companion to users who could not be authenticated, i.e., those that do not have a user account in an organization’s IDP. From the 2206 release, it is now possible for organizations to support the use of SAP Companion by external employees, using a separate Enable Now concurrent user license type. This new license type allows access to content through SAP Companion by users who cannot be authenticated via SSO. Ultimately, the introduction of the new license means that all employees, of organizations with Enable Now, can now access content through SAP Companion. For more information about supporting external employees using SAP Companion, refer to SAP Enable Now (cloud edition) consumption option for external workers.
SAP Companion (the component formally known as Web Assistant) supports the distribution of content in multiple languages. SAP Companion can be configured to display content in the same language as the application user interface and can also be setup to display content in other fallback languages, if content is not available in a user’s primary language.
How can I learn more about SAP Companion?
If you’d like to know more about SAP Companion, watch SAP Companion for User Adoption Success or contact your SAP representative to discuss SAP Enable Now and SAP Companion. You can also learn more about SAP Enable Now and SAP Companion at sap.com.
In summary, SAP Companion is a solution that drives SAP system adoption, by providing real-time, continuous learning opportunities for the users of those systems. It allows system end users to access SAP standard and customer-specific content, from within the application, so that they can learn as they work. SAP Companion enables users to achieve greater proficiency with their applications and provides a means to push information to end users as their applications, or methods of working, change.
SAP Companion provides end users with different learning opportunities, including in-application guidance and access to content developed in Enable Now. Content can be distributed in different languages and is available to end users with as few as two mouse clicks.
SAP Companion can be used on browser-based and desktop applications. It can also be used with SAP and non-SAP applications, so can provide real-time support across an organisation’s entire applications landscape.
If your organisation has issues with application adoption or simply wants to drive greater productivity and proficiency from its workforce, let’s talk SAP Companion. You won’t be disappointed; your end users will love it.
For further insight on SAP Companion in SAP Ariba solutions, please see this blog post.