Implementing out-of-the-box SAP might seem like common practice to get started. However, as an out-of-the-box solution goes live your business might soon realize that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t necessarily work with your unique business processes. Gaps become more noticeable and your team gets frustrated. Having a 360-degree view of your team, you might quickly realize that, like the kid trying on his dad’s suit with sleeves that are too long, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and improve user experience in SAP. Before jumping to the conclusion that this requires custom development, we considered some of the questions that you can ask to find more cost-effective alternatives to fill some of the gaps.
Instead of comparing all your options side-by-side, answering yes or no to a couple of common questions will give some more guidance to a seemingly complex task. To do so, we encourage you to review the ConvergentIS simple guidance framework for improving user experience (pictured below) and use this blog post as a guide.
Available Out-of-the-Box Fiori Offerings
Before making any customizations, it is important that your team properly identifies the need requirement. The requirement includes who is trying to accomplish what and how this relates back to the long-term goal of your business. Your business analysis should include both functional and non-functional requirements. To help determine what this looks like, many businesses choose to use a variety of Design Thinking services to uncover business problems and potential solutions. Once your requirement has been defined by your IT and business transformation teams, your business can begin evaluating options.
SAP is investing in user experience by creating SAP Fiori apps for commonly used functions in S/4HANA and had previously made several for ECC systems. If there is a Fiori app that fits the identified requirements, finding a solution is simple. The SAP Fiori design language provides a set of applications that are used in regular business functions including financial apps or certain work approvals. If these functions are areas that are lacking in user-focus, then deploying one of these apps is a great solution. A complete list of available apps can be found in the SAP Fiori App Reference Library.
Where SAP Fiori apps built by SAP aren’t an option, your business can move to the second question in the diagram, “Is there an app on the App Center that fits these requirements?” The SAP Store is a collection of partner applications (like ours!) that have been validated by SAP and can be easily extended onto existing SAP technology and solutions. It is likely that if there is nothing in the SAP Fiori App Reference Library, you can look for a partner app. Partner apps can be found on the SAP Store or through a quick search on Google.
Opportunities to Co-innovate
If after an unsuccessful browse through the SAP Store and an empty search on Google your team can ask the third question, “will the solution be widely used?” If the problem is facing two or three people in your company, it might not make sense to make large investments to create something custom. In which case, creating a cheat sheet, training materials, or supporting these users with additional training will likely be sufficient. This way your team has the proper guidance to use the solution and doesn’t require big upfront investments that may never result in a positive return on investment (ROI).
Alternatively, you might have hundreds, or thousands of people plagued with a difficult process. In this case, it is also important that you answer, “is this problem common to other SAP customers, or is it just a problem my business faces?” It is important to ask this because common problems are opportunities to co-innovate with a partner like ConvergentIS. In helping to develop a solution that fits your business, savings can be realized if the solution can be packaged and shared with other SAP customers. Through the Additional benefits include automatic product updates and receiving a more custom solution at a fraction of the cost.
Creating More Tailored Add-Ons
Taking one step back, you might have answered, “no” when asked if the problem your business faces is common to other SAP customers. In this case, co-innovating may be less plausible. Rather than fear the big price tag that comes with starting from scratch, you can answer the next question suggested, “is the problem simple?” That is, are there little fixes that will make the solution more user-friendly such as hiding a field or suggesting the next step in the process? If so, you can then ask, “is your current solution based on SAP GUI or Web Dynpro ABAP?”
If the answer to this question is yes, SAP recommends using the SAP Screen Personas tool. This tool allows our team to personalize SAP screens, automate business processes, and run them on an end user’s phone, tablet or desktop. By dragging and dropping different SAP GUI screens, users are believed to improve usability and visual appeal.
Alternatively, the solution might not be based on SAP GUI or Dynpro ABAP. In which case, the resulting question will be the same if you answered “no” to the question of, “if your problem was simple?” In both scenarios, we can then ask if it is possible to modify an existing SAP or partner app, either from the SAP App Reference Library, the SAP Store or the partner? There might be minor adjustments that can be made to take an existing out-of-the-box application and make it one that fits the needs of your users. This is where UI adaptation of existing SAP apps can be done. To do so, a tool known as WebIDE can be used to model and test SAPUI5 and SAP Fiori apps. With this tool, we will often use our user experience research to determine which fields we can add or remove, and which field names can be changed or hidden to make the interface simpler in a UI5 or Fiori app extension.
If the answer to the prior question was, “no an existing app can’t be modified” this is where we would consider SAP UI5 custom development. While this might seem like a costlier endeavor, it can also be a worthwhile investment if none of the current packaged offerings will meet the need identified. A qualified SAP AppHaus partner like ConvergentIS can help to ensure that this investment will result in a positive ROI.
Bringing the Concept to Life
After reviewing this simple guidance process, your business will be in a better position to improve user experience SAP by making small adjustments when necessary. Whenever possible, the ConvergentIS team strives to make use of the licenses and infrastructure that clients are already using to get the most out of frugal innovations. This means if a customer has a specific SAP license, we look for ways that we can better leverage it. If this can’t be done, SAP Screen Personas or UI5 custom development can be used to create a customized user experience that meets any business requirements.
We continue to believe strongly in UX as a foundation. After all, that is what made us the first SAP AppHaus in North America. Between these tailored additions, UI5 app extensions and co-innovate apps, we continue to test new solutions in our own business and help businesses find the solutions that work best for them. Browse our full set of offerings to find a solution to meet your needs.
To learn more about how design thinking can be applied to improve your team's SAP user experience, we encourage you to download the free guide below.