What is SAP Fiori?
SAP Fiori is designed to transform the SAP user experience and adapt to the fast pace of digital change. But what is and can Fiori really do? What makes it better and what is behind it?
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What is SAP Fiori?
SAP's goal was clear: working with SAP software should become more user-friendly. Users should be able to work in the ERP system as intuitively as with a smartphone or tablet, without having to spend a long time learning the ropes and without having to click through endless masks for each process.
With SAP Fiori, SAP presented a UI solution in 2013 that the company has developed several times since then. UI stands for user interface or operator interface.
Today, SAP Fiori is a unified and role-specific user experience (UX) of the next generation, because Fiori significantly simplifies the use of SAP.
The basis of the browser-based design concept are the Fiori Apps, individual applications that were and are developed according to the Fiori design principle. However, the software solution is not just one of many UI products from the software company, but rather the one UI solution that is to be used gradually for all products.
While SAP Fiori is already the standard for the S/4HANA cloud, companies can activate Fiori apps for the on-premise variant of SAP S/4HANA using the SAP Activate method, for example.
The advantages of SAP Fiori at a glance
- User-friendly, intuitive user interface
- Access on all end devices possible - even mobile
- Reduced number of steps per operation to be performed
- Faster training of users, training costs are reduced
- Easier implementation possible, lower risk
- Easier and faster maintenance, lower costs
What are Fiori Apps?
Fiori Apps are applications created with the SAPUI5 framework.
The apps hide the complex process steps in the backend behind a simple, modern and mobile user interface. Typical tasks in the SAP environment can be completed via Fiori Apps, device-independent and on the road.
With this solution, SAP is continuing in the mobile environment what it started with the modification of the user interfaces of desktop applications with screen personas.
User interfaces in the SAP GUI (Graphical User Interfaces) that are complicated to use and visually antiquated have always been a weak point of SAP software: For each action, each process, a separate transaction had to be executed. However, this is no longer up to date.
Instead, tidy interfaces and intuitive touchscreen operation are the benchmarks from the consumer sector, by which business software must now also be increasingly measured.
SAP's answer is Fiori with the Fiori Apps - a user interface with contemporary applications that can be used in classic desktop environments as well as mobile on smartphones and tablets.
But the apps are not one-to-one with SAP transactions. They are used to perform specific tasks and roles and can therefore contain sub-functions of transactions.
There are three types of apps: some map existing transactions in a simplified form (Transactional Apps), others are used for analysis (Analytical Apps), and others provide user-friendly information and reports (Info Sheets).
- Transactional apps simplify business processes (or the interaction with these processes). With their help, certain transactional tasks can be executed.
- Analytical apps provide the display of key figures and bring key figures together - and this is role-based, depending on user and task and in real time.
- Info sheets provide an overview of the most important aspects of central objects. Transactions can be started from the info sheets by navigating to transactional apps.
The Fiori Apps have been part of the scope of licensed SAP software since mid-2014 and can therefore be used free of charge. Visually, the applications are based on well-known online stores and relevant social media.
Almost without training, users can work with the applications and have those that they use most frequently in their everyday work displayed on their personalizable start page.
Not all functions known or possible from the SAP system can be mapped with the Fiori technology. This is due to its slim structure and the goal of not making the dialogs in a Fiori app too complex.
What is the relationship between SAP S/4HANA and SAP Fiori?
SAP Fiori is already a part of SAP S/4HANA. The new software suite is designed to ensure faster and simpler business processes in companies and is therefore also directly linked to the Fiori user experience.
At the same time, Fiori-UX is currently also already included in SAP Integrated Business Planning or from the solutions around SuccessFactors. Gradually, all SAP products will be converted to Fiori.
Technical background: OData, SAPUI5, Web IDE, SAP Gateway
SAP Fiori was technically based on various technologies.
- The framework for Fiori is called SAPUI5 (SAP User Interface for HTML5) - an interface technology that is already integrated in SAP HANA and the Business Technology Platform, among others.
- OData (Open Data Protocol) is an interface technology (API) used by SAP for SAP S/4HANA on the backend side, an open web standard. The developer of this HTTP protocol is Microsoft. OData enables data access between matching software systems - including between the Fiori Apps and the backend.
- The SAP Web IDE is used for end-to-end development of Fiori Apps based on SAPUI5. It is an integrated, web-based development environment, a service within the Business Technology Platform. The SAP Web IDE is currently undergoing further development. However, the Business Application Studio, which is to succeed the SAP Web IDE, has recently been released.
- The SAP Gateway (also SAP Netweaver Gateway) is a framework to connect non-SAP applications with SAP applications or to enable access to an SAP system from a mobile device. For this purpose, the SAP Gateway uses the OData protocol, among others.
SAP Fiori - The design concept
SAP Fiori is not only a product, but also an outlook on how SAP applications will be designed and implemented in the future. SAP has established the following five principles as basic design guidelines. Their implementation of the design concept follows the Fiori Design Guidelines.
- Role-based - the user should be provided in the application with exactly the functions that he needs for his task and that correspond to his role in the company.
- Responsive - Each application can be displayed browser-based, as a mobile app or on the local desktop.
- Simple - All functions that are not absolutely necessary are omitted.
- Coherent - a standardized user interface design guarantees quick orientation.
- Appealing - The applications are designed in the style of an intuitive consumer app and have an appealing, self-explanatory look.
The central access: SAP Fiori Launchpad
As a separate Fiori homepage, the SAP Launchpad is the central entry point for SAP S/4HANA and all Fiori Apps, but also for classic UIs such as SAP GUI or Web Dynpro. The Launchpad is comparable to the start screen on a smartphone or tablet.
The Launchpad is executed exclusively on the client side and thus joins the NetWeaver Portal and the NetWeaver Business Client as the third fully-fledged alternative for entering the SAP world.
In addition to apps created with SAPUI5, the Launchpad can also list applications based on Web Dynpro ABAP or non-SAP applications.
The user can customize his personal Launchpad to his own needs by grouping, changing the order or even removing tiles or cards. With the Fiori Cloud Demo, SAP offers a freely accessible, exemplary Fiori Launchpad environment with selected apps.
In isolated cases, Fiori Apps can also be run as a stand-alone solution outside the Launchpad. The app is integrated into the content area of an SAP NetWeaver Portal or accessed via a URL.
Target group of the SAP Fiori Apps
Fiori Apps are not primarily designed for "power users" who work permanently with SAP and have gotten used to the somewhat bulky user interface. The target group is rather sporadic users, for example from production, where feedback or malfunctions have to be recorded.
Similar cases are conceivable in inventory, for example when entering offers. Traditionally, in such cases, the malfunction is reported by telephone, the colleague enters it manually in SAP and processes it further. Using a mobile Fiori App, the employee can immediately enter the incident in the system.
For typical work processes, SAP itself delivers a large number of ready-made Fiori Apps. The most frequently used Fiori Apps include the following applications:
- The management of business contacts ("My Accounts", "My Contacts")
- The presentation of potential new business ("My Opportunities")
- The task management ("My Tasks")
- The time management ("My Timesheet")
- The shopping overview ("My Shopping Cart")
- The tracking of orders ("Track Purchase Order")
- The checking of stock levels and prices ("Check Price and Availability")
- The order overview ("Create/Change Sales Order")
- The breakdown of invoice amounts by item, shipment and tax ("Customer Invoices")
Mobile working: SAP Fiori for iOS and Android
SAP Fiori is also designed for mobile working. The apps are therefore also developed according to the "mobile first approach".
Each new Fiori app should be designed for use on the computer in the office, but above all for mobile use from a smartphone, tablet or MDE (mobile data entry) device.
The use of mobile solutions has enormous advantages: Many tasks can be completed faster and more efficiently. Data and information are available at all times - for example, for employees in the field. And above all, customer service can be improved.
SAP Fiori is therefore available both in the web browser on the desktop and for native mobile apps on iOS or Android. The SAP Software Developer Kit (SDK) for iOS and Android is used to develop the mobile apps. In addition, the apps can be called on a mobile web browser without having to develop a native app.
- For the iOS operating system, the Fiori apps are not based on SAPUI5, but on Swift, the Apple programming language. It is even possible to develop Fiori Apps for the Apple Watch.
- SAP Fiori for Android consists of a variety of design basics, components (UI Components) and patterns.
SAP Fiori App Library
In the SAP Fiori App Library SAP provides all Fiori Apps for review. There are now more than 12,500 Fiori Apps available - suitable solutions for every business area.
If you are interested in a specific app, you can search the SAP Fiori App Library using various criteria and find the app that suits your needs. SAP provides a wealth of information and screenshots for each app.
Development of own SAP Fiori Apps
Standard Fiori apps can be enhanced in detail to meet individual company requirements. With SAPUI5, for example, additional cockpit functionalities can be developed for power users to automate processes.
GAMBIT also supports companies in creating their own HTML5-based applications for further individual tasks. This makes sense and is necessary because SAP itself will not reprogram all the approximately 400,000 existing user interfaces (SAP screens) in Fiori.
The SAP Fiori Elements framework (based on SAPUI5, formerly known as Smart Templates) will be used for development. It offers preconfigured user interfaces for the most common use cases.
Thanks to this tool, the development effort is considerably lower than with a "freestyle" approach, because the UI does not have to be programmed specifically for the Elements use.
In addition, Fiori Elements ensures that the SAP guidelines for the design concept are adhered to and that the Fiori Apps are easy to use.
The Fiori design kit that SAP provides for the development of the apps is the HTML5-based SAPUI5.
SAPUI5 is based on open web standards and offers various pre-defined graphical user interface elements that can be used to create graphical interfaces for various process steps.
The process-optimized interface is created in SAPUI5, the function modules in the backend with ABAP. Interface and backend communicate via web services with the Open Data Protocol (OData) and via the SAP NetWeaver Gateway.
This means that the apps can be called either mobile or on the desktop without middleware. Fiori apps do not run offline, but directly in any browser, independent of the operating system.
SAP offers a web-based development environment (WebIDE) for creating SAPUI5 applications. Like Web Dynpro, this is done according to the Model View Controller architecture pattern.
The data models JSON, XML, Resource and OData Model are available. The appearance is defined via ready-made themes, which are integrated in the head of the application.
The following themes are available
- Mobile Visual Identity (sap_mvi) (usually for mobile applications)
- Platinum (sap_platinum)
- Belize (successor to Blue Crystal (sap_bluecrystal))
- High Contrast Black (sap_hcb)
- Gold Reflection (sap_goldreflection)
- Quartz Light and Quartz Dark (successor of Belize)
Operation in the cloud or on-premise
A Fiori app can be operated in two ways: from the cloud (via the SAP Fiori Cloud or BTP) or on-premise, i.e. installed within the S/4HANA system.
In the second variant, the front-end server should run "embedded" on the system. It renders the apps and communicates with the connected SAP ERP system via OData services.
If a company wants to make the applications usable beyond the company borders, the SAP gateway in the on-premise variant must be located in the demilitarized zone in order to be accessible from the Web.
For the operation of typical task-related Fiori Apps, no HANA database is required, because they can also run on relational database platforms.
The so-called fact sheets, on the other hand, can only be used in conjunction with a HANA-based business suite, allowing the user to search the system for any keywords within seconds. This also applies to SAP smart business applications and analytical apps that provide real-time key figures from SAP Business Suite applications.
Innovations and features: Fiori 2.0 vs. Fiori 3
The difference between the two versions is not only the missing "0" in SAP Fiori 3 compared to Fiori 2.0.
SAP Fiori 2.0
Already with Fiori 2.0 SAP improved the design of the UX solution and optimized the launchpad. The Belize theme for Fiori 2.0 (including light and dark variants) followed the Blue Crystal theme.
The SAP Launchpad was split into three parts in the desktop view with the 2.0 update. The concept is called Viewport:
- to a personal area (Me Area) on the left side,
- the workspace in the middle of the view (Workspace) and
- a notification area on the right.
Overall, version 2.0 of SAP Fiori has become even more user-friendly with improved clarity and faster access to relevant information.
SAP Fiori 3
With Fiori 3, the company is continuing on this path: the user interface has again been made simpler, clearer and more transparent. The goal of the development of Fiori 3 was to create an interface that is uniform for all SAP products and supports intelligent and integrated processes.
Some of the new features of Fiori 3 at a glance:
- For the cloud, a new header bar (shell bar) is available for Fiori 3.
- Part of the shell bar is a search function. This search function allows the company-wide search for documents - for example, using customer numbers or names. Extensive search lists are also available.
- With Fiori 3, SAP has released the new Quarz Light theme (standard theme). The design of Quarz Light, which is predominantly in shades of gray, appears minimalist and contemporary.
The predominantly "blue" Belize can also still be used (setting under Settings). In addition, the Quarz Dark theme is available since the beginning of 2020.
- The well-known tiles have been replaced by cards with the Fiori-3 update - still tile-like building blocks, but now they contain much more information than before. All information is now displayed in colored diagrams and graphics.
- Users can now personalize the Fiori user interface even more, for example with specific group settings or with a view to the layout.
- The three-part interface in Fiori 2.0 was abolished in Fiori 3. The options for the personal area (Me Area) have been moved to the user actions menu. Notifications now appear in a popup dialog on the right side in the header.
What are the benefits of SAP Fiori?
Fiori apps facilitate daily work with SAP processes because they are intuitive and offer the user a user experience that is based on private usage experiences. No training or in-depth SAP knowledge is required.
Another major advantage is the mobile access. Users can perform tasks at any time and from any device. This increases productivity, because smaller tasks can be easily completed in between. This also shortens and avoids waiting and transfer times.
By using SAP Fiori, a company can use its own resources much better. Anyone who knows the user behavior of their employees exactly can design dialogs in such a way that a Fiori app supports work with optimal user experience. Management can more effectively direct employees' working time to creative and important activities.
For a company's IT department, the use of SAP Fiori means that it can make existing functions of the system available to a wider circle of users without additional development costs. Ultimately, this significantly reduces the effort required for in-house developments in the area of user interface design.
- The use of SAP Fiori and Fiori Apps improves the degree of utilization of SAP within the company outside the key user community.
- Operating efficiency is improved and the onboarding of new employees is accelerated.
- Important data is available in real time and decentralized on mobile devices.
- The App Store provides access to proven processes that do not have to be developed in a time-consuming and costly manner.
Stefan Burghardt, Head of Connectivity + DevelopmentDo you have any questions? I will be happy to help you!
+41 41 418 45-24