Chapter 4 SAP Fiori: An Overview
A question that many of my customers ask is, “What is SAP Fiori all about?” It’s a question that has a significantly long answer because SAP Fiori is not just one thing but rather a convergence of many things. Quite simply, it is SAP’s truly new user experience, or for those of you with a technical mindset, it is SAP’s new user interface. SAP Fiori marks the end of the era of the traditional gray screens of the flagship SAP GUI, which has existed for over two decades. SAP GUI has been a constant scourge for SAP users worldwide because of the over-abundance of fields and tabs that users have to either enter data in or click through and because of its distinct lack of visual appeal. For those of you interested in statistics, there are over 300,000 individual SAP screens that form the conduit for transactional processing. This is not a trivial number and what bewilders SAP users even today, is that a lot of these screens contain fields that are rarely used and every basic transaction has multiple screens that a user may have to scroll through.
SAP Fiori provides users with a standardized (tile-based) look and feel that is intuitive, visual, and offers fields that are displayed based on the user’s roles and authorizations.
At the heart of SAP Fiori is the increasing number of out-of- the-box apps (applications) that SAP provides which correspond to the whole gamut of standard business processes such as order entry (purchase or sales), leave request approval, etc. Currently, there are almost 500 apps available free of charge and if the investment into SAP Fiori is any indication, this number will continue to increase. If the SAP infrastructure prerequisites are met (I will discuss these later), you should be able to be up and running with any such app in a matter of a few hours. When I started my own SAP Fiori odyssey a couple of years ago, it took me approximately six hours to get a standard cost center app up and running. Disclaimer: All configuration on the infrastructure side had already been performed by the Basis/NetWeaver administrator and I was able to draw heavily on my years of SAP experience.
SAP Fiori represents a shift from transaction code-based interaction to interaction that is driven by business processes and the users’ roles and responsibilities in an organization and as maintained in the SAP security framework. The interaction is heavily influenced by the seismic shift that has taken place in the consumer marketplace, where business is increasingly transacted on mobile devices via simple apps. SAP Fiori leverages this concept to provide the same end user experience that eschews exposing the complexity of the solution and provides users with an engaging experience. It is based on the theory of “build once, run everywhere”. Therefore, with SAP Fiori, your app will run on your desktop as well as your mobile device and will look and feel exactly the same on both: you do not have to create a separate desktop version of your app and a separate one for your mobile device.
As the years have gone by, SAP’s advertising campaigns bear testimony to how the focus has shifted from highlighting its all-encompassing and integrated nature to a simplified, user-driven software suite. The journey from The Best Run Businesses Run SAP to Run Simple has seen SAP go through many ups and downs and
detours, has seen SAP go through many ups and downs and detours, including multiple acquisitions and strategy changes, as it has evolved from an introverted German software maker to a global innovation factory that provides speedy solutions with a high business ROI. And one of the primary lessons that SAP has learned well is that no matter how wonderfully efficient the software engineering is, it is ultimately the user experience that counts.
SAP Fiori and NetWeaver security: A question that is often asked is whether SAP Fiori leverages the SAP NetWeaver security framework or whether you have to design security separately for SAP Fiori. The good news is that SAP Fiori allows you to leverage your existing NetWeaver security model. In fact, when you configure any app, the visibility and access are determined by the roles and authorizations that particular user is assigned to.