Biggest Change in SAP since 1992 – SAP Fiori

Fiori started with 25 apps to represent the renewal of entire SAP User Experience (UX) across all different products. Fiori is the vision where all UX will converge and will be the biggest renewal since SAP evolved into SAP R/3 in 1992. With the success of SAP S/4 HANA implementations, SAP Fiori apps have gained massive increase in numbers, in both transactional and analytics apps

The idea of Fiori came from Design Thinking. Design thinking creates a product which is an intersect of Feasibility, Viability and Desirability.

  • Tactically Feasible
  • Viable
  • Desirable

The Product definitely needs to be technically feasible and from the business perspective it has to be viable. The top two circles as you see in the diagram. This was the trend since the Consumerisation of IT.

Now, Industry is going through paradigm shift, if you need more user adoption and get the job done you need the third circle of desirability and this intersection of three circles is what the new UX of Fiori offers.

Let us understand Desirability a little more in detail – To run an effective ERP system it needs a lot of features and functionalities. Features ruled for a very long time, but an user needs to find the small feature within the overall features to execute his or her own transaction. For the users it’s not about features and functions and at the end of the day it’s the users who are using it.

The next question comes to our mind is why is it changing now?

The answer is Consumerisation of IT; consumer software (Things you do in your personal life for example the usage of consumer apps such as Expedia, Facebook or Twitter). With Consumer software’s becoming more and more common it’s driving the expectation of users and as a result it is raising the expectations from enterprises. 80% of the current SAP users go through the SAP screens designed in 92 with the release of R/3, the SAP GUI experience which is over 20 years old.

Consumerisation of IT is hitting IT companies and is driving the trend now.

 So why is it difficult to renovate?

As discussed above, it has numerous features and the massive number of transaction screens. It’s not in hundreds or few thousands, there are around 400,000 SAP GUI screens and will definitely take time to renovate.

To renovate, SAP needed a strategy. The new UX strategy consists of following three models

New – This means there is a New bar set by consumer software’s and all our new SAP software have to hit the consumer grade experience. As they evolve, enterprise UX also needs to adapt and evolve.

Renew – Since SAP cannot replace 400,000 at once, it has built most commonly used apps impactful for consumers. It started with 25 out of box apps with more than 530 apps as it stands today, most of which runs on HANA database. It is basically about small number of screens that are widely used by most number of users that touch SAP.  Renew approach focuses first on those that are most used.

Enable – Do it yourself. – SAP needed an approach for customers that weren’t in the roadmap of renew part of strategy. For the Long tail as you see in the picture above, they came with a strategy enable Framework to enable customers to help themselves and modernize to help themselves. The common skillset requires to build your own apps are JSON, JQuery, Basic ABAP, JavaScript. SAP has launched its own Web IDE where the apps can be built and deployed. There are courses available on open sap to learn the basics of building app.

This will be most commonly adopted as each customer has their own UX needs, and in my next article I will curate information on SAP UX strategy focusing on the Long Tail of Enable. References of this post are taken from sap UX Strategy in a Nutshell by Sam Yen.