When to Unlock The Power of Fiori
A Guide for Decision Makers
Many times, clients are faced with the question: Shall we go with ABAP reports or choose Fiori? Fiori is more expensive. More features, more bells and whistles need time to get them right, which in turn results in a higher number of mandays compared to an ABAP report. As such it is not always the go to solution and rightfully so. But there are many cases when it is well worth spending on Fiori and I have collected a handful of them.
Many IT organizations have taken steps in the direction of making IT processes available on mobile phones.
Just imagine that you are responsible for approving purchase requisitions for a certain cost center. If you were to approve that it would most likely find you via a workitem, which would be accessible in SAP Business Workplace (SBWP).
Let’s say you are at home after a hard day’s work, but someone needs the approval *right now*. You go and fetch your laptop from your car. You power it on. Wait for it to boot. Wait ten minutes for the regular windows update. Wait for the VPN to connect, entering all sorts of 2FA codes. Launch SAPGUI directly or via a link from your Outlook that again takes precious time to load. Logon to the appropriate SAP system. Navigate to SBWP. Find the workitem and navigate to other transactions to see if everything matches. Finally hit accept.
Enter another world, where Fiori is present. You take out your phone that is always with you. You open the corporate browser, which seamlessly connects via VPN without any input required from you and then you log on to Fiori Launchpad, with the My Inbox tile on top. See the newest workitem on top with all the necessary information listed in the details. Hit accept.
Which one would you choose?
Yes, the above will most likely not work out of the box. Besides the IT infrastructure you have to make sure that your workflow supports My Inbox and displays the necessary data that is needed to meet the decision and handle it as well. But you only have to do that development once and your managers will be grateful for the comfort you provide them with.
Focus on the process
Have you ever worked with a transaction just to use only a fraction of the functionality it provides but to combat all its complexity?
Sometimes it is easier from a programming perspective to group together activities that have far reaching capabilities. These activities require different fields but all of them are present to the end user on different tabs that keep appearing and hiding. Don’t hide MIGO, I’m looking at you.
If one can instead put the end user first, focus on the process, then all this unnecessary complexity can be avoided. With less complexity comes less error possibilities for the end user, more transparency and as a result higher speed and daily efficiency.
If many users rely on processes that can be simplified, this way one can gain an advantage that can be easily materialized.
Time is money
This comes hand in had with mobile access.
But it is even more. Let’s imagine that you have to pay a provider a certain fee as long as their truck is waiting for unloading in your warehouse. That immediately highlights how crucial it is that the unloading process should be as foolproof and fast as possible.
If you use paper for this purpose you are forced to double record what is happening (once on paper in the field, then into the system back in the office). This can lead to errors.
In case you were to use a phone or a tablet to support this process you would be able to record in real time what is going on. You can reorder items based on their importance. You can check details of items on the spot. You can rearrange items as you go. You can scan barcodes. You can search for products and items during the process. And you don’t have to record things twice.
This is again a use case that shows that Fiori development costs can be compensated. A leading automotive manufacturer has chosen this path and it has been using this tailormade solution 24/7:
No SAPGUI access
Not all clients have access to SAPGUI, at least not all their subsidiaries. Yet they somehow need to have access to a small set of SAP data and not just for reporting.
Fiori can help also in that case.
How? From the ground up. Such subsidiaries know nothing of SAP terminology, they have no SAPGUI experience but somehow they should be made aware of what they are getting. This is easily accomplishable with the help of Fiori wireframes. The wireframe part translates to a word file that the client may comment. It includes screen designs of the application, including the layout, including all fields annotated with remarks as to where the data comes from, including functionality that is available for the end user.
The end user doesn’t even have to know about SAP or Fiori. Because if the UI has to be explained it is wrong. The solution should be intuitive and the SAPUI5 toolkit beyond Fiori is up to the task.
After iterating with the client both the end users and the developers have a picture of the application. One knows what to expect, while the other knows what to deliver. Since this exploration phase can be easily split from the development this also allows handling the two phases separately both financially, and even with different parties if need be.
As for the no SAPGUI access part, the advantage of Fiori is trivial. There is no SAPGUI to be installed and supported at the subsidiary because all is needed is a web browser.
And the end result used by a leading company in the food industry looks like this:
Technology makes Fiori easier
In certain cases, the unbelievable might be true. Fiori might be cheaper than using an ABAP report.
This is the case when using RAP. This technology puts Fiori first and allows for a quicker Fiori path than ABAP. Since a lot of metadata is built into the low layers of the app, recreating the functionality derived from that in the case of a Fiori Elements app in ABAP would take more time.
Alignment to other apps
It is possible that a business unit uses Fiori apps. In that case offering them non-Fiori apps will be a step back. A step back in functionality, a step back in coherence, and overall, a step back in user satisfaction.
UI feature not available in SAPGUI
In case one has never taken a look at what is possible in SAP Fiori, it is definitely worth giving it a try. It may reveal areas that one has never imagined to be possible and useful. One of our clients has decided to monitor its production system 24/7 be it on a TV screen or on the phone in one’s pocket:
- 3D object visualization?
- All types of charts imaginable?
- Multiple diagrams combined on the same page?
- Graphs and charts on the same page?
- Wizard like process flows?
- Network graphs?
- T account representations?
The SAPUI5 toolkit will have you covered.
Fiori’s SAPUI5 toolkit is not SAP-only. If your data source can speak OData, you may leverage Fiori. Or go even one step further: you are not an SAP customer and have no access to SAPUI5. You can still use openUI5 at no cost for free with the exception of Fiori Elements.
So, you can create Fiori apps even for non-SAP backends. And you can integrate them into your landscape next to all the other Fiori apps. This really raises the limits as to what you may achieve with Fiori.
Checklist for decision
- Is mobile access needed?
- Can Fiori make the end users’ routine task faster?
- Can Fiori make the business process faster?
- Is SAPGUI access not present?
- Is RAP a suitable choice for the business case technically?
- Do end users use Fiori for everything?
- Do you need something special on the UI?
- Do you intend to integrate a third-party system capable of OData?
If the answer is yes, then Fiori is a logical choice.
When to Unlock The Power of Fiori
A Guide for Decision Makers
Author: Bálint Szebenyi
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