SAP S/4HANA unraveled: What SAP Fiori and a designer handbag have in common

SAP Fiori designer handbag comparison

Like a designer handbag, the new user interface (UI) for SAP S/4HANA looks attractive and packs a variety of handy features. But is it really an improvement? And how can your enterprise benefit from it?

These are just two of the questions currently surrounding SAP S/4HANA. To decipher the mystery, this blog series will take a closer look at the next-generation business suite for the digital economy, with the aim of uncovering its true purpose and value. In this post, I examine SAP Fiori, the new user experience.

A whole bag of tricks – What can you expect from SAP Fiori?

SAP Fiori is not just a flash in the pan. Rather like a designer handbag, it has a high-quality look and feel, and contains many useful tools to help you perform your daily tasks on the go. Upon launch in mid-2013 it featured a collection of around 25 apps. This has since snowballed into an offering of over 500 apps, ranging from accounting and CRM, to travel and expenses.

But its main difference is its leanness. In contrast to the thousands of options in SAP GUI, SAP Fiori can be personalized, letting you select the apps that you really need. The idea is to provide a new user experience – one that is clear, consistent, streamlined, and more fun to work with. Its design concept has even won a Red Dot Award. Furthermore, SAP Fiori is responsive and adapts to the device you are using – so you can use your applications anytime, anywhere.

This is a radical departure from previous business software UIs. I’ve had plenty of experience working with various user interfaces that, while offering a huge number of features, are complex and cumbersome. In line with the SAP S/4HANA concept ‘Run Simple’, the focus has now shifted to user-friendliness, mobility and flexibility. SAP Fiori promises to boost company productivity, and put an end to the frustration of complicated, confusing UIs.

But is less really more? The downsides of the new approach

On the other hand, simplicity has its drawbacks. The current range of apps available for SAP Fiori has not yet sparked a huge amount of enthusiasm among customers. Several functions had to be sacrificed to make the solution lean. The result is that the UX currently lacks the ability to map some important business processes.

And while SAP Fiori can work with many diverse clients, some of its apps may have to be modified to suit individual needs. This makes for more work and higher costs in the initial stages. However, itelligence offers expert support that takes the needs of the business and the users into account, as well as the technology. This helps to make the implementation phase run more smoothly.

With the roll-out of SAP Fiori 2.0 on the horizon, we should soon see a platform that can map even the more complex business processes. For now though, SAP Fiori offers an attractive, customizable package of practical, lightweight tools that you can access while out and about – just like a handbag.

SAP Fiori is the UX of SAP S/4HANA across all devices. Axel Rosenthal, the itelligence UI Expert, makes a comparison with a fashion handbag. Find out the surprising similarities in our short video:

Preview

In the next article of this series, Dr. Axel Sieker, Head of Financials and Controlling at itelligence, will examine the specific uses of SAP S/4HANA Finance and how its performance in a variety of areas measures up to that of a decathlete.

About the author

Axel Rosenthal works as an Expert Developer at itelligence Cologne, and is responsible for SAPUI5 development. With 15 years of experience, he is well acquainted with a wide range of UI technologies.

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