SAP Fiori is a part of SAP's move to reinvent the user-experience of core SAP scenarios. In a nutshell, it’s a set of pre-packaged applications, which are easily deployable in an existing SAP landscape and bring a vastly increased user-experience to your SAP users.
The applications cover a wide range of SAP scenarios such as approval requests, reporting and employee self-service. They are designed to work on mobile devices and desktops alike and are built using open web standards, so will stand the test of time.
What are the benefits of these pre-packaged solutions?
Deploying these pre-packaged Fiori apps is not complex and as a result you get increased time to ROI
The vastly improved user-experience brings an automatic productivity gain for users
Training time for end-users is reduced
Built on open web standards they will work on most modern browsers
They are mobile responsive (they reform to make best use of your screen size)
They are fairly easily extendable.
Getting started with a SAP Fiori implementation?
Your SAP Fiori implementation starts, of course, with understanding what you need as opposed to what is available.
Define your business objectives
Each SAP Fiori application brings a great starting point to its scenarios however all businesses have their own processes and as a result what you want from a SAP Fiori app might not be available (just yet!). An analysis of the current application feature-set versus what you require is a must.
SAP Fiori is still in development with new apps being released all the time, so if you don’t find one that covers all your scenarios right now, don’t worry, there are options.
Identify and fill in the gaps
Once you have completed your gap analysis, identify, prioritise and flesh out the bits that are missing. Any gaps to existing SAP Fiori apps can be easily filled through enhancements, which can be added to Fiori applications, will relative ease. Check out Lindsay Stanger’s post - 6 weeks, 3 apps and a sprinkle of SAPUI5 and Fiori customisation thrown into the mix. Challenge accepted!
For scenarios not covered by SAP Fiori, there are options – For example, you can add your own Fiori-like application built using the same technology as the Fiori apps themselves (SAPUI5) which look and feel like standard SAP Fiori apps. Alternatively, it may be worth finding out when that particular scenario will be covered (although still bearing in mind that even when it is delivered you still will need some gap analysis).
Involve key users
Don't forget to involve your key users at this point as well. I’ve posted on how to design for end users. If you want to check it out, you can read it here.
Implementing SAP Fiori
Now that you have identified your business objectives and understand what each scenario is missing, it’s time to get cracking.
Pick your team
Some would overlook this but in my experience the best SAP Fiori projects come from working with those who truly enjoy this type of technology and enjoy bringing these types of solutions to users. Pick a small, well-motivated team, provide them with the right tools and watch your Fiori investment grow!
Prioritise your scenarios
Don’t try to deliver everything at once. Prioritise your scenarios, give the team goals and build your Fiori suite one app at a time.
Release early and often
Using a time-boxed scenario - release what you have got at a particular time - get it into the hands of your key users and gain feedback early. If you wait too long and invest too much you may find some of it goes to waste when it gets into the user's hands - "Oh that's not what I meant at all......."
As with any project there are pitfalls that should be avoided. The main two pitfalls I would highlight are:
1) Single Sign On (SSO)
Most organisations have some version of SSO when it comes to authentication. Whatever you do, don’t make access to your new User Interface (UI) any more difficult than it has to be. If anything, work towards making it easier. SSO is always one of the most complicated areas of implementation. While all other development is proceeding, ensure that someone is tasked with looking into this.
There’s nothing worse than realising you have an amazing solution ready to go, but the authentication is hanging behind.
2) Pick your UAT team
Your key users will be vital in gaining early feedback so pick them well. Those who are averse to change and reluctant to admit when a solution is better can sometimes create unnecessary difficulties during the testing phase. Make sure you manage this well and pick the right people who will give constructive rather than destructive feedback.
Implementing and enhancing SAP Fiori applications is by no means a difficult feat and by approaching it with eyes open and armed with the right tools and processes you can bring about massive and measurable business benefit in a remarkably short time.
Other useful insights
The essentials - SAPUI5, OpenUI5 and Fiori by DJ Adams
How to build a business case for improving your approvals process by me