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Se son rose, fioriranno… (SAP Fiori)

“Se son rose, fioriranno…”: A real rose will bloom. An old Italian saying expressing: a really good idea, will be successful. The new rose at SAP is SAP Fiori – the new user experience. It’s significance is clear being one of the three pillars of the new SAP Hana suite.

 

Will SAP Fiori be successful?

 

According to several Gartner studies utilization of SAP Fiori is inevitable in the near future. As a result this will require change to developing and managing processes of the application it’s based on.

 

I implemented an application based on SAP Fiori recently and with this blog I’d like to share some valuable insights. SAP Fiori is far more than merely a new user interface (UI), but rather a user experience (UX). It is based on the idea of a persona: embodying the role played by an actor, and adapted by guidelines to design thinking.

 

Personas are role based on real information to represent various types of users. A standard design process defines the final user. But what does final mean: users are typically considered part of the architecture and addressed only at the end of the design process. This often results in massive applications, full of functions and alternatives, requiring users full concentration to navigate – far from user friendly.

 

Users are the central design element in this persona approach. Design process guidelines consider the role of each person with specific requirements.

 

A practical example: in a conventional ERP, a transaction for sales order management is created for all users involved in the sales process. Although sales staff and controlling (in charge of monitoring profit development) have different aims defined by their roles, both interact in the same process.

 

In a design thinking process you start by identifying roles (e.g. controlling and sales) and establish specific processes for each of them.

 

My first lesson learned: using SAP Fiori is more than creating a new web interface fit to an already existing application (other technologies, such as ABAP Web Dynpro cover this). SAP Fiori designs role based business processes with the persona concept as the central focus.

 

This approach ensures user involvement from the start rather than waiting until the user acceptance test.

 

Prototype definition is fundamental in project preparation. Allocating more time to this phase avoids problems later. (see design stencils based on Axure

https://experience.sap.com/fiori- design/resources/downloads/ – very useful!)

 

Project team preparation is the second vital lesson: identifying staff with both business and client skills is really difficult. (ABAP and Hana require business skills, and client skills for Javascript, HTML5 and CSS3). Finding experienced staff results in better data quality, but also requires more coordination and communication between teams.

 

A clear model and well-structured set of test data from the start, significantly reduces a multitude of issues.

 

The third lesson learned while planning concerns safety: SAP applications are generally well protected (DMZ – demilitarized zone). However applications based on web interface may encounter several safety and compliance issues. Both of which were only partially considered at the start.

 

Involving safety teams from the beginning of the project is vital, allowing their instructions and suggestions. Best practices utilization

(https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Category:OWASP_Top_Ten_Project)

 

Extremely important is the utilization of a solution monitoring both security and compliance during the application practices.

 

To the original question: Will SAP Fiori be successful? More than likely. What I do know for sure is we’re witnessing an innovation that will completely change the way we think about business application.

 

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