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Recently I wrote a post called “Creating your UX Strategy” about the why and how of creating your own UX strategy for your company. Today, I would like to continue this topic with two additional aspects: your strategic and your technical approach.

Today, many people might say “Hey, just adopt SAP Fiori to provide your users with great applications” or “If you want fast results, just adapt your applications with SAP Screen Personas”. Of course these statements are not wrong. Nevertheless, if you simply follow this guidance you will miss a lot of opportunities to improve user experience in a more precise way for your users..

In any case you need to do the following:

  1. Understand as much as possible about your users’ current user experience concerns and identify appropriate topics that can help tackling these concerns
  2. Select from three options how you are going to implement identified topics into your environment.


And please be aware: You have to do the above multiple times to be successful. Refer to point 5 of the eight rules of a good UX improvement project. You shouldn’t try to do everything at once.


Your strategic decision

Here I’m referring to the decision how far you want to go with understanding your users and looking for appropriate solutions. Usually there are multiple pre-conditions that will influence this decision such as available time or available budget. But don’t get me wrong: I’m not promoting the “quick and dirty” way. We just need to consider the fact that time and budget can be a serious boundary. There are two approaches how you can proceed:


  • The analytic approach
    Always the best choice is to analyze the environment of your users in more detail. There are multiple methods for this available. A common one is to start with the workload monitor (transaction st03n) of the SAP NetWeaver Application Server. You could generate a top 50 list of transactions/applications that are used in your company and then rate the business value of each. You could then measure the satisfaction of your users for each of the applications in your list and combine it with other ratings like your personal rating of user interface complexity. As a result you will have a nice list to work with and more importantly to prioritize the areas that require your attention the most. Now you can start identifying solutions that address the needs to a large degree based on your findings. Of course, this approach requires some technical skills for the analysis and further skills to perform surveys and execute other methods you might want to use. But the benefit is also clear: the better you know your users’ concerns, the better you can address these concerns. And by the way, do you know the SAP UX Strategy? The analytic approach is also used there by SAP to define which tasks and applications are next in the current move to SAP Fiori.


  • The use case/ pattern approach
    Another approach is to learn from others and re-use their approaches. The SAP UX Explorer team is currently collecting a set of use cases where each describes a customer and user environment and relates it to those topics that provide the highest potential to improve the given environment. Such topics might be UI technologies, strategic hints, UX innovations from an application perspective or individual SAP services. Our idea is to provide use cases that you can simply map with your users or groups of users and get some quick ideas about how to improve their user experience. The advantage of this approach is obviously speed. You still need to know your users, but you don’t need to deeply analyze them. This unveils also the disadvantage of this approach: It probably does not address all the concerns your users have.


    Note 1:
    As said, we are still in the process of collecting use cases and evaluating structures to help you to compare them. We do have three use cases online (Use Case 1, Use Case 2, Use Case 3). Please understand them to be in a kind of "beta" state. As such, if you have ideas or feedback that help us making the use cases more valuable for you, let us know.

    Note 2: While we currently name this “use case approach” this might be subject to change as the term “use case” is used in many ways and may be misleading. What is your opinion about this?


Your technical decision

Let’s imagine you have started your own UX strategy.  Your strategy vision is set, some missions drafted and maybe even some KPIs defined. You did step 1, learned about your users and generated a prioritized list of concerns and possible solutions.Now you need to select the best option(s) for you, to implement your solution(s). If you are following me on Twitter or via SCN, you are probably familiar with the adopt-adapt-develop approach.It’s basically about your technical options to improve your user experience and considers the fact that each option comes with different requirements in terms of feasibility and costs. The different options here are:


  • Adopt
    Considers the things coming from SAP almost out of the box. This can be UI technologies such as UI clients and UI tools or new or renewed applications that provide a modern user experience. This also includes additional, ready to use content like side panels for SAP NetWeaver Business Client, work lists and landing pages. To me, adopt is the most attractive option. On the one hand the solution might technically be already implemented in your environment and/or is part of your existing license. On the other hand you don’t need to support the solution as you would need to if you develop something on your own.


  • Adapt
    This is about changing screens to specific needs. It is primarily focusing on your existing screens but can also be an option to adapt new screens you have lately adopted in your environment.   Depending on the underlying UI framework of the applications you want to adapt, there are specific tools available that can help you.


  • Develop
    Obviously, this option is about custom development. You can always use a UI framework of your choice (depending on your needs) and build your own application. This is often the option with the highest investment. But in return it might close the gap in very specific areas where SAP has currently no solution you could adopt.

 

That little, additional strategic decision

I hope the above introduces some new and valuable information to help you to improve the user experience in your company. But maybe there is another helpful point. The two strategic approaches I have mentioned earlier assume that you have already started a project. But what can you do, if you don’t have a budget yet? What if you need to promote your idea of improving UX? What if you need to satisfy the decision makers before you can satisfy the users?

For these cases we are thinking of the tactical approach. You can see this as an optional pre-approach to the others above. The goal is to win supporters in your company and as such the focus is on the concerns of the decision makers, CIOs and business leads. This tactical approach might leverage ideas from the use case or even analytical approaches above, but the main point is to analyze the concerns of the people you want to convince. There are several ways to do this and I’m sure you already have some in mind. Nevertheless, we will also try to collect as many concerns as we can get from decision makers in the next months and incorporate these into the SAP UX Explorer as well. Our vision here is to connect these concerns – similar to what we started doing with the use cases – with topics that can help to eliminate these concerns. I’m sure there is more to come in this section soon.

 

Do you have something to add? Do you want to share your use case? Do you have other ideas to analyzing your environment? Just use the comment function and share and discuss your thoughts.

Alternatively, you can send us an e-mail to: uxexplorer@sap.com.

 

Talk to you soon,

JJ

Jürgen Jakowski (SAP) – Twitter: @JJComment

 

Note: This article was originally posted on the SAP User Experience Community

Many SAP customers have already reviewed the SAP UX Strategy to understand how SAP will continue to improve its user experience portfolio from a technology, application and even service perspective.

Based on SAP’s UX strategy your next question might be: “How can I start from here to improve the user experience (UX) in my company?”

The answer is: “Start with creating your own UX strategy”.

The reason is obvious. Customer environments are different and so are the requirements of their user base. As with other strategies, such as a corporate strategy or an overall IT strategy, there can’t be this one document from SAP that explains how a customer should handle user experience. Honestly: You have to ask your users, rather than SAP, what they need.

 

How do I start building my own UX strategy?

As with any strategy planning, you should start by answering the following questions:

  • What is my overall vision and when do I want to turn this vision into reality?
  • What are my main missions needed to support my vision?
  • What are (very) rough KPIs that confirm (at least to me) that my missions and vision have successfully been executed and reached?


This is the first cornerstone of your UX strategy planning and should be wisely defined, even if they reflect a high level view. For instance your existing corporate and IT strategies might already provide borderlines or requirements that need to be incorporated in your UX vision and missions.Of course, you might need to adapt the missions slightly over time, when you get more insight from various strategy drivers.


What drives my customer UX Strategy?I already mentioned the SAP UX Strategy in the beginning, and yes, this can be seen as one parameter that influences a customer UX strategy. Nevertheless, there are many more drivers to consider, where most of them are customer specific and obviously should be rated as most important.To get an idea of these drivers, here are some examples:


  • Existing customer strategies (e.g. company strategy, IT strategy, SAP strategy)
  • Business requirements
  • Current user environment and user pain points
  • Existing IT landscape (including SAP landscape)
  • Existing technical know-how


In addition to these customer-specific drivers, there are additional parameters that can also influence the customer strategy such as:


  • SAP UX Strategy as mentioned before
  • Availability of technical options provided by SAP
  • Availability of business solutions provided by SAP
  • Availability of technical options and business solutions from SAP Partners



What are my benefits by creating my own UX strategy?

I think the customer-specific drivers that are mentioned above are already a good reason. At least to ensure your user experience activity is aligned with important elements such as your company and IT strategy and supports them well.But there are more reasons for a customer UX strategy. If you want to take the satisfaction of your users serious, make them a central part of your project. Take the customer UX strategy to not only satisfy your existing strategies but even more importantly to satisfy your users. With a well-planned UX strategy that incorporates your users and all necessary steps to make them satisfied with their software environment surely will result in additional values like:


  • Increased data quality
  • Higher user adoption rates
  • Increased efficiency for each user which results in a higher productivity.


Is it possible to measure these values in money? Yes, it is. Just think of the necessary invests to fix data errors and maintain environments with low adoption. Or imagine how users can make their company successful by focusing on their business processes rather than a user experience that makes them slow or inefficient.


How you can continue from here and how SAP can help?

SAP already provides help for customers interested in improving their user experience.

 

Self-Service

With the SAP UX Explorer, customers have the chance to easily investigate their technical options. Even more, the Explorer unveils the relations between these options. If you always wanted to know how SAP NetWeaver Business Client relates to the SAP Application Server or what the difference between SAP Fiori and SAPUI5 is, the SAP UX Explorer provides the answers.

We are also currently expanding the content of SAP UX Explorer towards UX project supporting material and knowledge that is aligned with other services from SAP.

 

Consulting and Support Services

Obviously, a comprehensive UX strategy sooner or later requires more than just using a SAP self-service tool. Project planning, user research, UI adaptations and more require involving people. In the case that you don’t have the required skills available or simply don’t want to invest with your own people, SAP can help you with a rich set of services in all phases of such a project.

 

UX Community   

Last but not least, there is the SAP UX community that provides a place for an open dialog about user experience, providing insights far beyond the technologies and projects towards user experience, design, methods and much more.

 

-----> If you like, continue with Part 2: Creating your UX strategy <-----


Do you have something to feedback? Just use the comment function and share and discuss your thoughts.

Alternatively, you can send us an e-mail to: uxexplorer@sap.com.

 

Talk to you soon,
JJ

Jürgen Jakowski (SAP) – Twitter: @JJComment

 

Note: This article was originally posted on the SAP User Experience Community

SAP’s user interfaces have been steadily improving since 2012.  The great news for SAP customers is that the tools are available to deliver engaging user experiences for regular and occasional users, overcome resistance to using SAP systems, and increase effectiveness.   With SAP Fiori and SAP Screen Personas being made available as part of the standard user licence, a new wave of interest in these UX options has been created.  However, there are a plethora of other SAP UX options, and most SAP customers do not have a path for defining a UX strategy.    In this blog update I will share my thoughts on how to approach the selection of SAP user interface technologies for optimal fit to the business requirement.

 

Step 1: Discover the options

The ground has been shifting and this may continue, and so you need to start your analysis with an understanding of the available options.  You should consider:

  • SAP Fiori.  Use out-of-the-box SAP Fiori applications or extend/build your own using SAP River RDE.
  • SAP Screen Personas.  Shift users to web-based GUI and then tailor transaction screens.
  • SAP Interactive Forms by Adobe and Arch FLM.
  • SAPUI5 custom portal.  This might be deployed to an ABAP stack, or to SAP Enterprise Portal or HANA Cloud Portal.
  • SAPUI5 web application.  Using SAP River RDE, you can build a web application and deploy it on-premise or to HANA Cloud Platform.
  • Enhancement Pack functionality such as HR Renewal.
  • Custom Mobile app.


Of course, customers chained to SAPGUI and web Dynpro won’t replace this approach entirely overnight, but for new/improved business processes organisations should consider the range of technologies designed for better user experience on more devices.


Also, there may be a temptation to simply consider SAP Fiori and/or SAP Screen Personas since they are free, but that is no basis for building a UX strategy!


Step 2: Capture the business process requirements

There is normally some business pain driving UI change: pain from disillusioned users, pain from ineffective processes, or a need for process mobilisation.   So the purpose of the new UI is not a like-for-like replacement, but to enable business process change.


Your analysis should consider next year’s requirements, not last month’s requirements.  So the project shouldn’t be IT-led, and the requirements shouldn’t be defined by someone without the vision to radically improve the business process.


You need to consider mobile working and off-line working.


You need to consider embracing disconnected user communities and process automation.


You need to consider usability and accessibility.


In order to analyse the best tool for the job you need to be really clear in how you define the job!


Step 3: Understand your [technical] constraints

Do your users bring their own device and so you need to support many browsers and versions?  Or do you run Internet Explorer 8 throughout the entire enterprise?


Some simple questions like these can unveil complex technical constraints or requirements that need to be factored in to your analysis.  Consider:

  • Are all your employees already licensed SAP users?  Do you have cost constraints for IT investment, or need to produce a financial analysis of investment proposals?
  • Does your SAP system perform well and is there capacity for extra load?  Do you have fast network speeds in all supported geographies and locations?
  • Do you have a strategy to move to cloud-based IT provisioning?
  • Do you have existing functional infrastructure that must be used for workflow inboxes, document management?


Consider what technical and functional infrastructure is already in place and whether it must be used or replaced.


Step 4: Consider maintenance requirements

Some processes or interfaces are likely to change due to the nature of the process, the organisation or the environment.  For example, legislation may drive additional data collection and some processes are more susceptible to this type of enforced change.


Some organisations are in periods of change such as rapid growth, or have organisational change as part of their cultural DNA.  Employees in those organisations understand that whatever solution is deployed will require changing within 18 months.  Other organisations resist change, particularly in IT, and tend to run solutions for a long time even if the business fit is less than perfect.


The degree to which you expect your organisational processes to change can impact the approach you take: investing in custom-built applications may not be a great investment decision.


You may require the solution to be flexible to support multiple UI approaches and to be easily maintainable.  This might help you future-proof the solution against changing future requirements.


Also, your organisation might have a requirement to be self-sufficient for future maintenance rather than rely on external consultants.  This type of requirement can also feed into the technology choice.


Step 5: Create your requirements checklist

Combining the results from steps 2-4 into a single requirements checklist can deliver great benefits: Simply seeing business process requirements and technical constraints together can uncover conflicting requirements.  Such conflicts must be resolved before moving ahead with your analysis.  This might result in IT constraints being overcome, or business requirements being scaled back to something achievable.  At this stage various UI technologies may be discarded as a poor fit.


Next, the requirements should be given a rank in terms of importance (‘must have’, ‘nice to have’ etc.) This is essential for determining the optimal solution where compromises need to be made.


Step 6: Model the process

First of all, understand that one-size-does-not-fit-all: A single technology solution is unlikely to satisfy the requirements for different business processes.  So consider each business process separately.


The challenge is to visualise the new business process in terms of each process step:  How will users interact best with the process?


By modelling each process step in the context of the overall requirements list, a short-list of UI options can quickly be built.


Consider the roles of the process participants. Should they participate with the process from an analytics chart or from a work inbox?   Consider how work arrives.


Consider whether the participants of each process step are expert users who require powerful and complex functionality, or occasional / non-technical users who require a simplified user experience.  Prioritise the provision of a new UI for the occasional users.


Optimise or Simplify?

SAP says ‘Simplify Everything’ and that’s a great aspiration but in real life I see complex organisations with complex processes and complex requirements.  Simplifying the user experience for the occasional user is clearly a fine idea, but the benefit will only be realised if you consider the entire business process and select the optimal approaches. 


Step 7: Get help!

You need to start from the right place.  If your approach is for an IT manager to download, install and ‘play with’ SAP Fiori, then you’re in the wrong place, as that’s no basis for an enterprise UX strategy.


If UX was easy the problem would have been cracked years ago.  It is complex and costly, and not something you can do ‘on the cheap’.


For many organisations it is frankly ludicrous to imagine that they have the capacity and skill-set available internally to conduct the type of analysis I advocate.  So get help.  And don’t just get help to ‘get started with Fiori’, but get help on understanding the available technologies and how you can best deploy them  You might argue that that’s your IT manager’s job, but trust me, he/she’s too busy to gain the knowledge required for an informed opinion.


 

 

Chris Scott is the founder of Arch Consulting, making SAP easier since 1996.

In the second installment in ASUG’s user experience webcast series, Andreas Hauser, SAP’s Global Head of Design and Co-Innovation Center, spoke about “User Experience: Creating Greater Business Value by Engaging with your End Users.” This continued the theme of the first webinar where we introduced SAP’s UX strategy.

 

Andreas started with an overview about the importance of design and how to avoid some pitfalls if you do not consider the right combination of human values (desirability), business (viability), and technology (feasibility).

 

He explained that user experience is not just pretty screens, it is really about how to save money through improved usability. Often simplifying screens plays a huge role in making people more productive.

ux1.png

 

He then showed an online calculator to help you quantify how much you can save through improved usability. By entering a few simple items about your business processes and IT environment, you can quickly determine how much value you can generate through a better user experience.

http://www.sapcampaigns.de/us/UX_Calculator/

Of course, financial savings are only a part of the benefit of a better user experience. User satisfaction is also very important in terms of employee retention and how people feel about their work.

 

Andreas then reviewed the SAP UX strategy, summarizing the three pillars: new / renew / enable.

 

He reminded the audience that the Fiori design concept will be applied across all SAP’s solutions so everything has a familiar look and feel. This includes both on-premise and cloud-based solutions.

 

Based on 200 customer projects completed by the SAP Design and Co-Innovation Center, Andreas discussed that SAP has learned many things about how customers consume software.

  1. Usability is not necessarily a product problem. It could also be cumbersome business processes.
  2. You must put the end user first. Watch them work and understand their goals.
  3. Consistency matters. You must have guidelines so everyone on the team is moving in the same direction.

 

Design skills are critical for understanding user needs and creating standards.

ux2.png

 

Design is a process. Whether you call it “design thinking” or “user-centered design,” you need to work closely with end users and focus on solving their day-to-day usability issues.

ux3.png

 

The lessons learned from all these customer projects come from four main areas.

Organization

  • Executive sponsorship needed, both on IT and LOB side
  • Focus on value of UX

User Needs

  • Focus on real end users, the people using the solutions
  • Talk to at least 6-8 people to have a variety of opinions

Process

  • Start small and build - use a proof of concept
  • Visualize first before you implement - minimize cost of change

Tools and Technology

  • Use the right tool for the job

 

twitter.png When creating a user experience center of excellence (UX CoE), you must include the right mix of people, process, and tools.

 

 

In summary, here are the key takeaways from the webcast:

  • Work with end users
  • Think big, but start small
  • Iterate

 

Watch the recording.

View the slides.

 

Register for the remaining sessions in the series.

User experience encompasses a variety of aspects of which UI is just one. Newer SAP Fiori apps are merely the beginning. Learn how you can build your own Fiori-like apps and employ a more intuitive approach to developing business process applications. Learn of advances in how you can achieve a greater degree of interoperability between your SAP and Microsoft applications providing your end-users with an enhanced user experience.

 

Attend this webinar to learn:

 

• How to leverage SAP offerings for a comprehensive UX strategy 

• How to build your own Fiori-like apps

• How to leverage third-party tools and partner offerings to complement SAP tools

 

Date: Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Time: 11:00 am ET/16:00 pm UK/17:00 pm Central Europe

Duration: 60 minutes

 

Featured Presenter:

Ira Berk, Vice President of Solutions Go-to-Market at SAP

 

Ira Berk has global responsibility for the middleware portfolio, promoting business agility in the areas of people, processes, and systems. Ira is a frequent speaker on the topic of SAP’s middleware strategy at customer events and workshops around the world.

 

 

Register here for the live event and to get the recording.

SAP is reinventing the user experience by offering new solutions, renewing existing solutions and enabling customers with tools to improve user experience. In this first webcast of the five part ASUG UX Webcast Series, two of SAP’s top UX/UI experts Nis Boy Naeve - Vice President for User Interfaces , Andreas Hauser Global Head of the Design and Innovation Center) discussed SAP’s User Experience Strategy of “New / Renew /  Enable” and the UI technologies which can be used to have an amazing user experience on all devices.

SAP_UX_Strategy_IMG1.jpg

This webcast provided an overview of SAP’s overall UX strategy, which takes into account that the gap between personal use and the business use of software is closing and that the simplicity is desired for both. SAP is reacting to this changing and applies new methods to enable design innovation and to bring it into SAP applications – and this not only into the new ones but existing applications as well. The webcast went more into details about this.

 

Nis Boy and Andreas provided detailed information about what’s behind “New – Renew – Enable” for the different types of applications and which tools are available in order to realize this approach.

 

The SAP Fiori applications are in the focus of the ‘Renew’ part. The basic SAP Fiori principles are explained and you get to hear about examples for SAP Fiori apps which can run on all devices with high usability. In addition the topic ‘Single point of entry’ for a business user via the Netweaver Business Client, SAP Portal and, in future, the SAP Fiori Launchpad is shown, as well as the sidepanel concept for SAPGUI applications.

 

We heard about how SAP not only delivers new and renewed applications, it also provides several tools to enable the adaption of any SAP application to the end users’ needs. Some of them are UI technology-specific, such as SAP Screen Personas (SAPGUI) or SAP River RDE (SAPUI5), others - such as the UI Theme Designer - can be used for different UI technologies.

 

Finally the Webcast deals with the highly important question, how to bring together the users’ needs and the UI technologies in an optimal way. SAP has at least one answer that was discussed “UX Design Service “.

SAP_UX_Strategy_IMG2.jpg

It’s definitely worth checking out both the presentation and the recording of this webcast.

To watch the Webcast have a look at the recording from June 26, 2014.

 

For more details about the UX Design Services watch the new webcast recording “ Creating Greater Business Value by Engaging with your End Users” presented by Andreas Hauser on July 22, 2014.


The ASUG User Experience Webcast Series offers a number of upcoming webcast sessions to follow. Register here.

Hi all,

Some of you might know that we are currently working on expanding the existing topic “customer UX strategy” within the SAP UX Explorer. During this process we have already collected several general statements and hints that ended up for now in what we call “the eight rules for a successful UX improvement project”.


As I’m always curious about your feedback for further improvements, I wanted to share this piece of content early enough. So, here it is.


Feel free to leave comments and let us know your thoughts.


All the best,
JJ


The eight rules for a good UX improvement project


1.     Put your users in the center

You might think you know your users. But you can only understand their working environment once you have watched them working and listened to their concerns. As a result: Keep your users at the center of all your activities (for example with user research and design thinking methods).

 

Learn more about User Research and Design Thinking

2.     Enjoy feedback
You might be scared by complaints and issues that you cannot tackle. But if you don’t ask, you will miss a lot of complains and issues that you CAN solve. AND: Your user will honor the improvements you are going to provide, even if they does not address all issues in the first place.

 

Related SAP UX Explorer Short Video: How user satisfaction can be measured.

Learn more about usability measurement via SUMI & SUS and learn more about Design Thinking

 

3.     Know your general options
Know your general options in order to improve user experience and prioritize them correctly:

  • Adopt what SAP provides (always first)
  • Adapt what you have implemented from SAP (if needed)
  • Develop on your own what you can’t get from SAP (if necessary)


Related SAP UX Explorer Short Video: Your general UX improvement options

Learn more about UI Adoption, UI Adaptation and Development

4.     Know your current environment

Surveys have shown that 38% of customers* focus directly on developing their own applications and thus follow the path with probably the highest investment. It turns out that many customers are not aware of the UX improvement assets in their existing SAP environment and SAP license, which could potentially improve their user experience with lower effort.

* based on a survey in December 2013


Related SAP UX Explorer Short Video: Your general UX improvement options

Learn more about SAP UX Explorer and SAP Innovation Discovery

 

5.     Focus on a few users first
You will need some time to understand your user’s environment and how your planned improvements will impact them. Identify small groups of users who share the same usage pattern, issues and complaints. Start improving these small groups first, and extend the reach of positive results to other users in a sub-sequent step.


Learn more about Customer UX Strategy (will be detailed later in the Discover & Plan section)

 

6.     Prove solutions, not technologies
Do not limit your proof-of-concepts to just certain technologies. Positive UX improvements are often driven by a combination of multiple technologies together with business-related content or configuration. As a result: Make sure that you have understood the relationship between technologies and other complementary topics that you need in order to build valuable solutions to test.


Learn more about Customer UX Strategy (will be detailed later in the Discover & Plan section)

 

7.     Focus on a coherent user experience
Always try to avoid a mix of UI technologies for one user. In scenarios where this is not possible, try to optimize the mix by harmonizing the visual appearance (with same SAP standard themes or with UI theme designer for example). While new applications look great and are intuitive, running them in a mix with classic applications can result in a bad overall user experience. You always need to consider the pros and cons of new functions and features vs. a coherent user experience. With this in mind, you might keep a user with an “older” version of an application in order to ensure better coherence. Or you might prefer a less coherent user experience over a new function.


Learn more about UI Clients and UI Theme Designer

 

8.     Build your own customer UX strategy

The best results improving your user experience can be reached by using a well-structured approach and a good UX strategy that considers your existing strategies (for example IT strategy, business strategy) and boundaries (security rules for instance). This UX strategy defines your overall UX improvement vision, mission and key performance indicators (KPIs) and builds the starting point for any UX improvement project.

 

Related SAP UX Explorer Short Videos: Process setup of an UX improvement project, Why should I create my own UX strategy

Learn more about Customer UX Strategy

You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way around.

Steve Jobs

 

When it comes to user experience, becoming simple takes focus and effort 

Becoming simple involves gaining a deep knowledge of your people and their UX needs; and making some complicated UX technology choices. That’s why SAP’s UX strategy includes New, Renew, and Enable options; and also why SAP is now providing UX advisory services as part of  a suite of UX Design Services to help customers focus their resources where they will derive maximum business value.


UX Design services.jpg

 

Conversely, staying complex is easy – at least from a technology viewpoint – and that’s where most SAP customers are right now. Think of it this way: Once upon a time, SAP provided a one-size-fits-all user interface – aimed at the expert user. Sure it was a complex UI, but from a software viewpoint it was also a comparatively easy strategy – just make everything available and let the expert decide what’s relevant to him or her.  After all, the user is the expert so they know best; and certainly if you are the expert having everything at your fingertips is great.

 

But as we now realize, the growth in personal technology devices, changes in technology expectations, and the sheer volume of information bombarding us all mean one-size-fits-all UIs no longer ensure productive and motivated employees.  For most of us there’s just no time to be the expert in any but a very small number of the user interfaces we deal with each day.  Maximizing user satisfaction and business productivity over all the other UIs we deal with daily means providing something simple: the right-sized UI on the right device for the right role.

 

Introducing right-sized UIs, while minimizing disruption and avoiding large change management costs, is not a trivial challenge.  We know this because SAP has been on the UX journey with over 150 of our top customers over the last few years.  We have seen the challenges, we have shared the pain with them, and now we want to share the learnings with all our customers.

 

What we know now is this: effective UX improvement involves more than just implementing a Fiori app or a few Personas screens. Successful UX improvement only happens when UX is targeted strategically.  Choosing the right scenarios to improve with the right UI helps not just to improve user productivity; you also improve employee retention, delight your customers, decrease training and support costs, and revitalize the business/IT relationship.  Choose the wrong UI, and you risk your UX efforts being written off as “just another Proof of Concept”.

 

UX strategy means being very deliberate about where, when and how UX improvement efforts are focused.  Done right, amazing business impacts can be achieved in remarkably short time-frames.  For example at Shell, they were able to evaluate a major improvement in their search capability within a few days. This is quite an important area as some users may spend up to 20% of their total time in SAP on searching.

 

Based on our early customer experiences with customers on the UX improvement path, SAP has released 14 UX Design Services to pass on those learnings and help shortcut the UX journey for all our customers.

 

Last week I was privileged to be on the first SAP UX Advisor training, run in Sydney, and to spend some time with two very special SAP colleagues:

  • UK colleague Gerrit Kotze, one of the co-authors of SAP’s new UX strategy, and global lead for the UX Advisory Service for business value based on his experience of leading UX at Shell, and;
  • German colleague Gerhard Gellner of the Design and Co-Innovation Center where UX strategy and principles are daily workshopped with SAP customers at SAP’s Heidelberg Apphaus to create delightful user experiences.

It was a great chance to chat with them about the thinking behind these new UX Design services and SAP’s UX strategy.

 

How did you get involved in UX strategy?

Gerrit: For me it all started in May 2012, when I took the role to lead the UX work stream as part of the VPS engagement at Shell.  Shell has about 90,000 SAP users globally and improving UX became increasingly important across the whole company.

 

When we looked hard at SAP’s UX Strategy at that time, our perception was it was not much more than a compilation of UX related topics, not something you would really recognise as a strategy. We were not alone in that view.  SAP set up the the Executive Advisory Board for UX mid-2012 and Shell was one of the small group of key customers to join alongside Nestle, Unilever, Bosch and others.

 

At the very first face to face meeting, hosted by Nestle in their Head Office in Vevey, the top feedback point back to SAP was the need for a coherent and easy to understand UX strategy. Customers need clarity about where SAP is fundamentally heading to better inform their own investments and priorities.

 

Fortunately SAP was willing to listen and under the supervision of the then newly appointed Head of Design and UX, Sam Yen, (now SAP Chief Design Officer) we formed a small working group to rewrite the SAP UX strategy. I was very fortunate to be a member of this small group together with Andreas Hauser, Nis Boy Naeve and Volker Zimmermann and supported by several other experts. 

 

That change in SAP’s UX strategy also led to establishing the Design and Co-Innovation Center (DCC) in 2013 – bringing in a lot of designers and design thinking skills. These skills are considered key capabilities at SAP for delivering on our ambitions in terms of UX and design.

 

In parallel to working on the SAP UX Strategy, I worked with Shell to shape a UX exploration phase where we started with Search and then looked at SAP Screen Personas.  I utilized the newly formed DCC and we designed and built 2 Proofs of Concept for Shell.  The outcomes are still reflected in our services as this was the very first major PoCs after SAP Screen Personas became publicly available in December 2012.

 

What are the UX Design Services?

Gerhard: There are 14 services in the UX Design Services portfolio. They cover the New, Renew, and Enable offerings, such as implementing Fiori and Personas, designing your own custom Fiori or SAPUI5 app but they add something more than just technology – they add UX advisory services.


We have 2 advisory services – UX advisory for business value, and UX advisory for technology.  These were born out of our experiences in dealing with key customers of SAP. 

 

There’s an enormous momentum in evolving UX strategy and a high demand for SAP to provide UX advisory services. Over the last couple of years, SAP has recruited a lot of new blood in the UX design space, and is actively training others. Because of the current state of UX, and the urgent need for UX direction expressed by our customers, we believe SAP needs to lead on UX strategy to give direction to customers and partners who are grappling with UX right now.

 

As a customer, why would I want to leverage SAP’s UX Design Services?

Gerhard: A real UX strategy is something that few companies have, but those that have are realizing massive benefits.  We find lots of customers have developer skills but not necessarily design skills, or at least not dedicated and experienced UX design skills. If you don’t have those you might not get the benefits you want. So we bring those design skills to our customers as part of these services.


[BTW one of the SAP Community Network's SAP Mentors Jon Reed was talking about this need in his recent blog How do we solve the Enterprise UX skills gap? ]

 

Gerrit: SAP built up a very credible portfolio of UX solutions and we continue to improve and drive this portfolio forward.  It is actually quite fast moving and that makes it hard to scale the ability to give advice to customers and partners.  This is always a lot easier to achieve in times of relative slow change, but much more challenging when the driving technologies and available solutions are changing faster.

 

So at this stage, direct advice from SAP is paramount due to this high degree of change.  We see a lot of opportunity for partners to get involved in helping customers on their UX journey.  But when it comes to developing a UX strategy that is aligned with SAP’s strategy, and with SAP’s product roadmaps, you really want to get advice direct from the source – and that means customers working directly with SAP.

 

Once you move past the sales and marketing pitch, it is key to help our customers with the details of these solutions.  It may sound easy, but more often than not it requires a bit more effort.  For example you need to validate functional completeness and technical pre-requisites.  Good advice up front can save a lot of effort trying to make something work only to discover it won’t work in your system landscape or won’t suit your business process or end user requirements.

 

Gerhard: Oh, and did you know that thanks to our success with our customers, SAP’s Design and Co-Innovation Center is now being approached by

completely non-SAP businesses to help with their UX design?  That’s a huge endorsement of the design skills and the design thinking skills we have built over the last couple of years.

 

From your experience, what are the essentials for a successful UX strategy?

Gerhard:  For me the non-negotiables are:

  1. End user involvement:  If you don’t get in touch with real users at their real workplace you just don’t see what the real problems are, and what’s a part of that user experience.  It’s often not just about the UI, it’s about the whole user experience: like how do I work on a mobile device if my job involves wearing heavy safety gloves; or if my desk is covered in post-it notes reminding me of entry codes, maybe that’s a sign of insufficient search helps or poor navigation between UIs
  2. Business involvement: To understand the process, so you can challenge things that end users take for granted; like asking why this field is mandatory and what’s the business impact of not filling this field correctly
  3. IT involvement: Because IT will ultimately deliver and support the UX, so they need to understand where the real business needs are and be able to discuss pros and cons of different UX options with stakeholders.  Often IT brings technology options to the table that business never knew existed.

 

Gerrit:  And of course SAP involvement – because SAP customers need to align their UX strategy with SAP‘s if they are to deliver user experiences that work well with SAP solutions.  This is more than just general UX strategy – it’s thinking about what solutions, technology, values, and architectural principles are parts of your UX strategy, and how that affects your choices.  This includes deciding if a BYOD policy is part of your base requirements, because if you need to support multiple devices and releases your technology choices can make a huge difference to your development costs, support costs and testing volume.

 

What are the traps to avoid when setting up a UX strategy?

Gerhard: You really don’t want to approach it as just a technical exercise – you might have fun doing a proof of concept, but it takes more than that to build commitment or momentum to push it through to Production.Just starting with a Fiori or Personas POC might be a waste of time if:

  • The app is not valuable to the business
  • There’s a lack of business commitment
  • It doesn't fit the needs of the end user in their work environment

 

Gerrit: To me the big traps are:

  • Jumping into solution mode before understanding what is required.
  • Not considering the business value you want to get from UX.
  • Not involving the right audience in the discussion – It has to involve both IT and business; and it needs to involve the people at the coal face – real end users, not interpreters.

 

It’s not enough to just go on the promises of a presentation; or to do a proof of concept in a SAP sandpit environment.  If you are serious, you really need to try it out in your own landscape and get your own experience of UX technology and challenges – like the impact of bandwidth or proxies or single sign-on certificates, performance, firewalls, maintenance etc. That’s the best way to avoid unwanted surprises, and avoid letting down the business and your project sponsor.

 

And you really need a clear strategy.  Because without being clear on your driving principles you will not be in a position to make proper choices when you need to decide what you want to target with which solution.


And don’t limit your thinking to just the cool “in Vogue” answers or to a single technical tool.  After all, users don't particularly care what technology you use - they just care that it works for them! Often you can derive a lot of additional value out of your existing landscape – and that makes executive management happy to sponsor your UX improvement project.


So that’s why the starting point is the UX Advisory service?

Gerrit: Yes that’s right… the UX Advisory service helps the customer refine their UX strategy. The service comes in two main types – a UX technology advisory and a UX business value advisory. The UX Advisory for Business Value comes in three formats, based on the primary purpose. These are:

  1. UX Advisory for Fiori and Personas (7 days) – Purpose is adoption of either SAP Fiori App or SAP Screen Personas solution for a single scenario.  This is the service we announced at Sapphire to support the adoption of Fiori and Personas.
  2. UX Advisory Focused Assessment (14 days) – Purpose is to shape a holistic UX strategy and UX roadmap that considers all SAP UX solutions.
  3. UX Advisory Extended Assessment (Circa 90 days) – Purpose is to help typically a larger customer who has UX as a priority over a period of time to adopt a SAP UX Strategy, learn through PoC’s and UX Pathfinder projects and develop a detailed UX Roadmap.

 

The shorter services include a set number of days effort, but these are spread over a few weeks to allow for data gathering before we analyse and advise. We also gather information about the landscape, use of SAP and feedback about pain points. We spend off-site time during assessment and validation to ensure we can check back with SAP solution owners and designers to confirm which apps will work in your environment.

 

The UX advisory for Fiori and Personas is a 7 day service designed to get you live with one version of a solution – your first experience with either Personas or Fiori.  It also helps clarify what the first target should be for Fiori or Personas.  That gives your IT folk a chance to understand something of the technology and business to get a taste of how it looks and feels. This 7 day service is currently included with SAP UX Adoption Service Kits for Fiori and Personas, such as:

  • Fiori Launch Service Kit for Transactional Apps
  • Fiori Launch Service Kit for HANA
  • Screen Personas Launch Service Kit

 

The UX advisory focused assessment service for business value is a broader 14 day service where SAP works directly with your stakeholders to build agreement and motivation to move forward; and give guidance on strategy and roadmap.  The outcome is an outline UX strategy and roadmap that works for you; and includes feasibility assessment of your preferred first targets to confirm they will suit your business needs and system landscape.  We don’t just limit this service to Fiori or Personas – we consider the full range of SAP’s UX tools and technologies that might meet your specific needs – often these are under-utilized solutions – “hidden gems” - that are already in your landscape.

 

What’s the one thing you wish every customer new about UX Design?

Gerhard:

  1. It only works if you engage with the REAL end users! No proxies! No go-betweens!  
  2. Everyone talks about UX but few people are clear about what it actually is. User Experience is far more than just the user interface itself.
  3. It’s a change process – a change in methodology but (more importantly) mindset. 

 

Why do you use Design Thinking in UX Design?

Design innovation.jpg

Gerhard: We find it’s the best way to achieve a delightful user-centric solution – using a multi-disciplinary team to get the best balance between business, technology and the human values that make the UX usable and desirable.


If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.

Henry Ford

 

You can’t just ask people what they want directly – especially if they are not used to being creative. Plus we find people just don’t read functional specifications – they find that really hard.  But low fidelity prototyping such as sketching makes it real to people in a way that encourages them to give good feedback and that reduces risk!


Designing thinking is a really effective way to get people to think first before they implement.

 

Gerrit: I’d say it is also a great way to get good ideas from a range of stakeholders quickly and come out with an agreement.  It really works for getting people to collaborate rather than each pushing their own agenda.  I like the way it allows for creativity to be a part of the process – and for a broad engagement of different stakeholders who might find it difficult to raise ideas in a traditional meeting. 

 

In our experience, design thinking is successful in getting everyone engaged and motivated to actually follow up.  So you don’t end up with a workshop and nothing happening afterwards – with design thinking people are more fired up to follow through.

 

What’s the best way to get some quick wins in UX?

Gerhard: The best quick wins we have seen come from starting small, but as close as possible to where you will get the most business value.   The UX advisory for business value is aimed at uncovering the top choices by looking at usage statistics from your real system data, adding qualitative data from the business, and then running Design Thinking workshops with key stakeholders to bring all of that together into a roadmap. 

 

Sometimes technology or functional pre-requisites get in the way of your very top choice – and that’s another reason why we have the UX advisory services – as part of the service we do feasibility checks on how top choices will work in the customer’s own landscape.  That really minimizes the risks of choosing a particular app or transaction to focus on, only to find it won’t work with your industry solution or your custom enhancements.  We won’t recommend a UX option that we know won’t work, and we help work through alternatives.

 

Gerrit: I’d also say to remember that major improvements can come from unexpected places – and we have built that into the advisory service.  We don’t limit the service to only considering the latest UX offerings like Personas and Fiori. One of our big lessons learned was that there are certain topics not often considered up front that offer tremendous business value; and there’s a range of technology solutions for those topics that like Personas and Fiori are often licence-free – just under-utilized.   Topics such as:

  • Search capabilities
  • Restructuring role-based navigation, e.g. using NWBC or Portal
  • Improving user effectiveness and system automation through using side panels
  • Visualization of data
  • Business suite renovation available through enhancement packs
  • Commonly known pain points e.g. approvals that customers bring up over and over again, that have simple but not always well-known solutions

 

Where can customers get more information about SAP's UX Design Services?

Gerrit: We’d really like customers to look at SAP’s UX Explorer website.  We are actively and regularly adding UX content for customers to help them build their UX design skills here - Skill Up on Design and User Experience – plus some more detail on our UX Design Services and when and how to take best advantage of those services.

 

To engage with local UX experts and arrange support in your UX journey, contact your local SAP office or email design.services@sap.com who will put you in touch with the right support team.

Hi all,

 

From time to time I'm receiving questions in regards to linking to specific SAP UX Explorer content.

So here comes some assistance in case you want to link from your documents or pages to SAP UX Explorer.

 

Of course, where ever you are within the UX Explorer you could copy and paste the current URL. Nevertheless, you might be interested in how the URLs are generated or in specific ID tables.

 

Links to topics

You can directly link to a topic in SAP UX Explorer like this:

https://uxexplorer.hana.ondemand.com/_item.html?id=38

(This example links to SAP NetWeaver Business Client for Desktop)

 

The format of these links is:

https://uxexplorer.hana.ondemand.com/_item.html?id=<ID>

 

You can review our published topics document (snapshot) that lists all topics currently in our database including their ID. All these IDs remain stable and will typically not be removed. As such, this list could even be used for any purposes where you need a mapping to content on your site.

 

Deep links to content inside topics

As you know, the different content types like features, values, screenshots, documents are visualized within tiles (actually we call them technically “facets”).

 

You can directly link to a specific facet in SAP UX Explorer like this:

https://uxexplorer.hana.ondemand.com/_item.html?id=38#!/facet/2

(This example links to the features facet of SAP NetWeaver Business Client for Desktop)

 

The format of these links is:

https://uxexplorer.hana.ondemand.com/_item.html?id=38#!/facet/<FacedID>

 

The following list provides all (currently) relevant facets and their IDs:

 

FacetID

Facet Name

2

Features

9

Getting started

13

Values

15

Quick Reference

16

Links

18

Documents

19

Screenshots

20

Videos

22

Learning Assets

24

Roadmap

112

Related Questions

 

SAP UX Explorer displays a facet only, if there is content maintained. As a result, there might be situations where you accidentally link to an empty facet. In this case the UX Explorer automatically displays the first available facet with maintained content. This means you won’t generate any dead links by accident.

 

Example:

If you look at https://uxexplorer.hana.ondemand.com/_item.html?id=104 you will see that the topic landing pages has not features facet. If you now link to the features FacetID 2 as

https://uxexplorer.hana.ondemand.com/_item.html?id=104#!/facet/2 the UX Explorer will display the screenshots facet, as this is the first available facet.

 

I hope this helps.

 

All the best,

JJ

Tamas Szirtes

User Experience in HR

Posted by Tamas Szirtes Jun 3, 2014

The User Experience focus group of the Dutch SAP user organization (VNSG) had a meeting today about UX in HR. When Marcel Rabe and I decided to set up this meeting around HR, our goal was to tackle questions like:

  • What does SAP offer to provide great user experience for HR?
  • Knowing that there are many options (Fiori, Mobile, Portal, Cloud, NWBC, etc etc), what do companies do?
  • What is the roadmap and vision of SAP?

 

We invited the members of the HR focus group too, so we had a mixed audience with Dutch customers and consultants focused on UX and HR. Unfortunately we couldn’t get a bigger room, so we had to limit the registrations.

 

IMG_20140603_141925.jpg

 

We started with some updated about our UEX focus group:

  • The number of members keeps raising, now we are at 346
  • We are busy to engage with SAP about UEX vision and prepare a feedback workshop in Walldorf
  • We are influencing SAP in various ways: Customer Connection regarding NWBC, Customer Engagement Initiaties in SSO and Project “Magnet”
  • We are organizing a special theme day about UEX on Dec 11
  • Our next meeting will be about Fiori on Oct 23 and will be organized together with the new Custom Development focus group.
  • We recommend experience.sap.com for everyone interested in UEX

 

The first presentation was about the Dutch post company PostNL from René Kolpa (PostNL) and Susan van Someren (Xbow-IT).  Rene talked about their HR strategy as part of their complete landscape strategy. PostNL has almost 60000 employees, 2550 post offices in the NL, operates in more European countries with € 4+ billion revenue. They have an “All cloud strategy” meaning that all systems should be in the cloud by 2016. The goals of this strategy are cost flexibilization, decrease absolute costs, move to future technology, speed and focus on governance. Susan gave concrete examples and a live demo of SAP technical solutions which PostNL has implemented as part of this strategy. They are replacing the SAP Portal with NetWeaver Busines Client to simplify the landscape. They think that moving to the cloud will mean less control over branding, so already as preparation they are consolidating on one design, which is almost SAP out-of-box. They replace UWL with POWL inbox and Interactive Adobe Forms with Web Dynpro ABAP Forms. They are planning to implement ESS scenarios in SAPUI5 to provide better OS/browser support than AIF.

 

IMG_20140603_132708.jpg

 

Universiy of Utrecht/UMC, in contrast to PostNL, achieved the improved user experience in the SAP Portal. Gonen Frenk (Nextmoves) explained how user friendliness was enhanced by using logical icons, consistency in design, understandable error messages, etc. UU/UMC have decided to bring their corporate branding to the portal. Their success was founded in user centric design and the involvement of a professional interaction designer. Technically speaking, it resulted in a custom portal framework based on the AJAX framework in Enterprise Portal 7.3

 

IMG_20140603_142632.jpg

 

The Amsterdam transportation company GVB talked about how they integrate Microsoft and SAP technologies for eHRM. Alexandra Hustinxk (GVB) and Jan-Willem Goes (The Next View) introduced the challenge at GVB: they have 3750 employees, among them many older men with lower education, so the design had to consider this user population. An important requirement was to support any device, so they decided for responsive web design. The solution architecture consists of SAP backend, Gateway, Duet Enterprise, the Cordis myHR suite and SharePoint. GVB is very satisfied with the result, they get 200 unique visitors per day, out of which 75% from remote access (e.g. employees on the road).

 

IMG_20140603_150029.jpg

 

The customer story of ProRail was presented by Pieter Van Reisen (HuRis). He explained that SucccessFactors is a best of breed HCM Suite including talent management, Core HR, HR Analytics, Social collaboration, etc. SuccessFactors is clear market leader talent management, but Pieter explained that it offers great UX too. He demoed a whole list of little, but very useful UX solutions: clickable tiles, easy navigation, little extra functionalities which make it just better e.g. record the sounding of your name, quick lookups, quick links, graphical overviews e.g. org chart, “print and go” feature to take offline all necessary docs for a meeting, context sensitive video helps, personalization of home page, etc.

 

IMG_20140603_164417.jpg

 

There was an unexpected twist to our meeting. During this meeting the SAPPHIRE keynote took place in Orlando and just before Martine Fase’s (SAP) presentation we got the news that Fiori became “free”. This good news energized the meeting and indeed Martine explained that among the many UI options, SAPUI5 and Fiori are raising fast and are future proof options. On the other hand, at the moment the current set of Fiori apps don’t cover all ESS/MSS functionality, so HR Renewal, especially version 2.0 offer very attractive functionalities. Martina placed these HR related options into the overall SAP UX strategy covering New, Renew and Enable.

 

IMG_20140603_160605.jpg

 

Thanks again for all the presenters, it was a great VNSG UEX afternoon!

Hi all,

 

Some of you might have already noticed our launch of a video series as part of the SAP UX Explorer environment. However, I wanted to make sure that those of you who missed it, yet, will find the videos as well.

 

We are going to produce and upload new videos on a more or less regular basis (depending on our available time ) .

 

If you want to get updated on new videos, you can subscribe this blog post as I'm going to extend it as soon as new videos are available. Alternatively, you could also follow me on Twitter, where I'm also posting the availability of new stuff around the SAP UX Explorer and its content.

 

And of course: I'm always curious about your feedback. So, let me know what you think. 

 

All the best,

JJ

 

 

The current videos we have uploaded to YouTube so far are:

 

General options to improve user experience

 

Involved SAP UX Explorer Topics: UI Adoption, UI Adaptation, UI Development

 

 

 

How can I influence the satisfaction of my users

 

Involved SAP UX Explorer Topics: UI Adoption, UI Adaptation, UI Development

 

 

 

Why should I create my own UX strategy

 

Involved SAP UX Explorer Topics: SAP UX Strategy, Customer UX Strategy

 

 

 

Process setup of an UX improvement project

 

Involved SAP UX Explorer Topics: SAP UX Explorer, SAP Innovation Discovery

 

 

How user satisfaction can be measured

 

Involved SAP UX Explorer Topics: System Usability Scale (SUS), Software Usability Measurement Inventory (SUMI)

 

 

 

How user experience can positively impact costs

 

Involved SAP UX Explorer Topics: SAP UX Design Services

 

The new key features of Google Chrome version 34 are:


SAP NetWeaver Test Center has been testing Chrome 34 on desktop in combination with NetWeaver versions 7.02, 7.30, 7.31 and 7.40.

For restrictions see the general Chrome general note: 1655306.

     I heard a great quote at the recent HR2014 conference in Orlando. The discussion was around ESS/MSS and how for many employees, that is their only real experience and/or interaction with HR. Therefore, an employee will come to believe ESS/MSS is a reflection of the HR department itself. Although it might offer all the great functionality in the world if ESS/MSS is slow, clunky, difficult to use or feels dated, then guess what? That becomes the employee's general idea of the whole HR department. Now, let's scale that up a bit. If some new hire is sat in front of a SAP "grey screen" and told, "welcome to the company....here's where you will be doing your work...we use SAP", what will be their impression of SAP? What will be their impression of the company they just joined?!?!?!

 

     It doesn't even have to be some young "kid out of college" out in the working world for the first time. I have heard as many complaints from people that have been working within companies for years..."oh yeh, we are on SAP...I only get on it when I have too...its so ugly". For as many years as I can remember (it gets harder and harder to do so in my "old" age haha), SAP has always seemed more focused on pushing out the latest and greatest, best-of-breed, (insert your buzzword here) functionality and features versus any really innovative or sweeping UI/UX changes...and that makes sense if you were to push the envelope in one but fairly soon after catch the other up too (ie. come back to balance). However, it seems as years passed the gap got wider and wider to the point where the UI/UX side seemed almost forgotten. Well, that is...until now.

 

     As you may have heard/seen/read, SAP has been trying to make it known by any means necessary that they have not forgotten the UI/UX and in fact, without us "common folk" even knowing it, they have been working behind the scenes to roll out their overall, sweeping vision of "New-Renew-Enable". This will be THE way that SAP totally revamps the old "grey screen" (using "personas"...enable) as well as anything new (new) coming out and anything "in between" (ie. what can be "ported" without disruption...renew). SAP figured out how to finally do it across all of their product landscape. Any and every screen, page, form, etc. will be "updated and future proofed". Sounds absolutely great, right?!?!? ....well, break out those checkbooks, because it comes with a price....and therein, lies the rub...."fly in the ointment"-much? haha

 

     "What did Chris just say?!!? They are charging for a UI?!?!"....well, in some people's perspective, yes, that is exactly what is going on...and battle lines have been drawn. On one side of course is SAP....justifying charging existing customers for a new UX (often shifting the discussion to the new apps/functionality that is enabled). On the other side, an army of individual voices is leading the charge for a "make it FREE" argument. You might have read the great blog "Should SAP Fiori by Freeori?" ( http://diginomica.com/2014/02/05/sap-fiori-freeori/ ) by John Appleby which might have been one of the earliest (first?) shots fired in this battle. And today, I just read "Time for a UX Revolution, Not Evolution" ( http://www.asugnews.com/article/time-for-a-ux-revolution-not-evolution ) by Geoff Scott (*thanks to Dennis Howlett for leading me to it!). There is definitely a rally cry out there in the world of customers/clients/users and a push back organizing.

 

     I can really see valid points on BOTH sides of the battle, but these kinds of discussions really make me laugh....more so for the fact that I am now finally old enough to actually have lived through these repeating cycles of technology/IT (rather than the days of hearing some old "greybeard" programmer sharing these stories of the "old days" with me over lunch or in some server room waiting on a SAP install haha). Does SAP really have such a short memory? Do we?!?! Does no one remember the wild west days in the ERP market around the mid/late 1990's? During that time, there had to be....geez, what was it?....about a baker's dozen or so ERP companies ("Baan" anyone? haha) all scratching and clawing to be "king of the hill". But there was one that was trouncing SAP left and right in sales (at least here in the US) simply because it had a very attractive interface that the sales guys could "ooo-and-ahhh" prospective customers with...often using a side-by-side comparison to SAP screens. It had far less functionality and flexibility than SAP, but the spiffy, pretty UI often won the day for JD Edwards. So what did SAP do? How did they react? Well, they stepped up their game too...remember the whole "enjoySAP" initiative to revamp the UI and UX? (*many people might remember this as the SAP Volkswagen contest give-away! haha) Here is a small blurb about it....

 

The enterprise-wide EnjoySAP initiative, launched by the management board of SAP AG in the beginning of 1998, redirected the focus of our software development from the customer's requirements and placed the spotlight on the requirements of the actual users. The aim of the Enjoy initiative was to improve the user-friendliness of the R/3 software in order to boost productivity and satisfaction ratings of our users and to reduce the total cost of ownership of the R/3 System for our customers. Essential to the success of the initiative were the cross-departmental approach, the development of distributed usability expertise and the specification of a user-oriented procedure model. Another key to EnjoySAP's success was the board's support for the project, reflected in the development resources made available (80% of development capacity in the period from July1998 to April 1999 was dedicated to the initiative).

(*from http://www.sapdesignguild.org/editions/philosophy_articles/hmd_enjoy_usab/) (*my HR/HCM friends will get a kick out of the title of that page too...far ahead of it's time eh? haha)

 

Sound familiar? haha Are companies like "Workday" the new JD Edwards of the world? You could just as easily replace the word "Enjoy" or "EnjoySAP" in the above paragraph with "Fiori" and it would sound just about like what we are hearing today. Everything old is new again!....except this time, SAP is trying to charge much more for it and the stakes are much higher for adoption/non-adoption in a market controlled by a far smaller number of big players (not to mention the fact that SAP is trying to push into the non-business suite world as well and become a platform player for developers, new web start-ups, existing companies, etc). I think a misstep here could be brutal for SAP if they really wish to be come known as an innovative and technology-leading/advancing company especially in the fickle, trend-sensitive UI/UX world. I am hoping that SAP changes this QUICKLY and rewards it's customers with this new UI/UX for free...personally, I would enjoy SAP much more that way (*see what I did there? haha)....and they can even keep the Volkswagens this time. haha

NAVIGATION FOR LABEL PRINTING IN SMART FORMS


STEP 01:  Open the smartForms application with Transaction Code ‘SmartFroms’.


STEP 02: Go to the Form Interface and click on the Table Tab and enter the internal table name from the Driver Program (Suppose: ITAB).


IMG1.jpg


STEP 03: Go to the Global Definition and provide the global data. (You need to construct a Structure Type (suppose: ZJOYJIT_LABEL) and a table type (Suppose: ZJOYJIT_STR_MARA) with its line type as the structure type with the fields to be printed in the label.



IMG2.jpg



STEP 04: Go to the initialization tab page in the Global Definition. Enter Input and Output Parameters.

 

Suppose,

 

   Input Parameters                                                                      Output Parameters

                

              I                                                                                                IT_MAIN

           ITAB                                                                                               ITAB

            WA

       IT_MAIN

      WA_MAIN

 

Enter the piece of Code in the Initialization part.

 

* PUSH EVERY SIXTH ROW OF IT_FINAL INTO IT_MAIN .
I = 6.

DO.
READ TABLE ITAB INTO WA INDEX I.

IF SY-SUBRC = 0.
APPEND WA TO IT_MAIN.
I = I + 6.
ELSE.
EXIT.
ENDIF.
ENDDO.

* DELETE THE ROW FROM IT_FINAL WHICH ARE PRESENT IN IT_MAIN .
LOOP AT IT_MAIN INTO WA.
DELETE TABLE ITAB FROM WA.
ENDLOOP.



IMG3.jpg



STEP 05: Now create 5 New Windows except the Main Window and set the positions of the in the page and resize them in Form Painter.


IMG4.jpg



STEP 06: Set the windows in the Form painter of the page and resize them.


IMG5.jpg


 

STEP 07: Now, Create a Program line in First Window (Suppose, WINDOW_01).



IMG6.jpg


STEP 08: Write the piece of Code in the Program Lines General Attributes Tab.


IMG7.jpg


STEP 09: Create five texts in the respective five Windows one by one.


IMG8.jpg


STEP 10: In General Attribute tabs of each texts, mention the heading and the fieldnames (Suppose: WA1-MATNR,……., wa1-MTART And for the other windows WA2-MATNR,……., WA5-MTART).


IMG9.jpg

 

 

IMG10.jpg

 

 

IMG11.jpg

 

 

IMG12.jpg

 

 

IMG13.jpg

 

 

STEP 11: Go to the Condition Tab Page of the five texts and set the conditions as follows.


IMG14.jpg


IMG15.jpg


IMG16.jpg


IMG17.jpg



IMG18.jpg


STEP 12: Now, in the main Window Create a table.


IMG19.jpg



STEP 13: In the table, go to the Data tab page and set the internal table (Suppose, IT_MAIN INTO WA_MAIN).


IMG20.jpg



STEP 14: Go to the Main Area of the Table and create a Table Line with Line Type: %LTYPE1.


IMG21.jpg



STEP 15: The Output Option tab of the Table line.


IMG22.jpg



STEP 15: Create a text inside the cell of the table and set the headings as well as fields.


IMG23.jpg

 

 

STEP 16: Now, create a Command in the main area of the table.


IMG24.jpg


STEP 17: In the general Attribute Tab page, click on the Checkbox “Go to New Page” and Set the Page name (Suppose: %PAGE1) and in the Condition tab page set the ITAB NOT EQUAL TO INITIAL.


IMG25.jpg


IMG26.jpg


Save, Activate and Test the program in the display mode.



STEP 18: Now, go to the SE38 Transaction and write the Driver program to pass the data to the smart form from Mara Table (Suppose: ZJOYJIT_LABEL_DRIVER).


IMG27.jpg


STEP 19: Write the Code in the report program to pass data to the Smart Form.

 

report  zjoyjit_label_driver.

tables : mara .

data : itab      type     zjoyjit_str_mara ,
wa       
type     zjoyjit_label ,
fname    
type     rs38l_fnam .

selection-screen : begin of block b1 with frame title t1 .
select-options   : s_matnr for mara-matnr .
selection-screen : end of block b1 .


start-of-selection .


select matnr
ersda
laeda
mtart
matkl
from mara
into table itab
where matnr in s_matnr .


call function 'SSF_FUNCTION_MODULE_NAME'
exporting
formname                 =
'ZJOYJIT_LABEL_PRINTING'
*   VARIANT                  = ' '
*   DIRECT_CALL              = ' '
importing
fm_name                  = fname
* EXCEPTIONS
*   NO_FORM                  = 1
*   NO_FUNCTION_MODULE       = 2
*   OTHERS                   = 3
.


call function fname
* EXPORTING
*   ARCHIVE_INDEX              =
*   ARCHIVE_INDEX_TAB          =
*   ARCHIVE_PARAMETERS         =
*   CONTROL_PARAMETERS         =
*   MAIL_APPL_OBJ              =
*   MAIL_RECIPIENT             =
*   MAIL_SENDER                =
*   OUTPUT_OPTIONS             =
*   USER_SETTINGS              = 'X'
* IMPORTING
*   DOCUMENT_OUTPUT_INFO       =
*   JOB_OUTPUT_INFO            =
*   JOB_OUTPUT_OPTIONS         =
tables
itab                       = itab
exceptions
formatting_error           =
1
internal_error             =
2
send_error                 =
3
user_canceled              =
4
others                     = 5
.



STEP 20: Save, Compile, Activate and Run the Program with the printer.


OUTPUT:

 

  THE SELECTION SCREEN:


IMG28.jpg


THE PRINTER SELECTION SCREEN:


IMG29.jpg


CLICK ON PRINT PREVIEW:


IMG30.jpg



Thanks & Regards,

Joyjit Biswas

First off I'd just like to say that I am delighted that the interview I conducted for SAP TechEd Live 2013 in Las Vegas with Sam Yen (SAP's Global Head of Design and User Experience) has been selected as the interview of the week! It was my first SAP TechEd since 2006 in Amsterdam and my first as a freshly minted SAP Mentor. It was an honour to be asked to facilitate this session with Sam, it was fun and a little daunting to be on the big stage in the centre of the show floor. We had a small technical hitch (that thankfully was only ever to be seen by the live audience) when Sam's microphone didn't work... Take 2! Otherwise it all went great.

 

In this interview Sam and I cover the following main topics:

 

  • Sam explains the SAP User Experience strategy (New, Renew and Enable) that covers both new and existing SAP products and applications
  • We talk about Fiori - "What is Fiori?" Sam explains that Fiori is more than just a new colour scheme and some fancy tiles for mobile apps. Fiori as a paradigm is how SAP intends to harmonize the entire user experience across the whole SAP product portfolio both on premise and in the cloud. Fiori can be a bridge to deploying your organizations mobile, cloud  and HANA strategy.
  • Sam describes how SAP has had a steep learning curve and has needed to bring a whole new set of skills into the organization to build these new user experiences for their products. An outcome of this has been that SAP has been asked by customers to come in as consultants and help them build up their own internal capability to deliver "Fiori-like" user experiences.
  • Finally Sam gives some insight into what the future holds (some of which was subsequently announced at SAP TechEd in Amsterdam and Bangalore later in the year).

 

Here is the full interview, "Creating User Experiences that Drive Innovation for Businesses and Consumers".

 

 

I hope you enjoyed the interview. If you have any comments or questions please post them below. If you are interested in keeping up to date with user experience and user interface topics here on SCN I recommend you follow the User Interface Technology space.

 

In 2014, the SAP TechEd name will be retired and the conference will evolve into an exciting new program called SAP d-code, which will address education, collaboration, and networking for the entire SAP ecosystem of developers and technology professionals, incorporating the best elements of SAP TechEd. I am looking forward to seeing what d-code has to offer, I hope to see you there.

 

Simon.

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