Everyone is talking about the fact that Fiori is now free to maintenance customers. Many are wondering about the impact this has on SAP Mobile Platform and other native products. Others are talking about the recent video SAP Mentor Pete Lagana did overviewing SAP Fiori.
I want to point out something a lot of people aren’t discussing. While SAP Fiori is certainly a solution to many mobile challenges, it’s not a mobile platform at its core. It’s a user experience platform with a mobile-first framework. Most people are looking at it as a mobile platform, and while it solves many mobile challenges, considering it just a mobile platform is short-sighted. It doesn’t do justice to the product or your mobile strategy.
Fiori is a user experience toolkit, and thinking about it that way will help you better understand where it fits. As a product, it was designed with the following tenets in mind:
- Role-based (provide simple entry-point for user/multiple tasks)
- Responsive (available on any device with minimal intervention)
- Simple (lots of context based on user, quick to complete tasks)
- Coherent (consistent & brandable)
- Instant Value (make it quick to deliver on user needs)
Now, that certainly sounds like it could be the answer to a lot of things. Yep, could be. It could also fall short in some ways, and it certainly doesn’t fix all problems. Let’s take a look at how Fiori stacks up to other technologies, because before you even think about adding Fiori to your technology footprint, you need to decide if you’re going to use it as a part of the big or little picture.
SAP Fiori as a User Experience Tool
Today when you talk about applications, you’re generally talking about what it does – what the functions are. SAP screens become very complex very quickly because the functionality is so dense. Most SAP products are extremely functional, built to mark the checkboxes for clients and on RFPs and so they become very complex from a user experience standpoint.
So how is this relevant? It matters because Fiori is a strong option to battle the widespread adoption problem, and although SAP knows this, the message has gotten confused.
Fiori is based on delivering tasks to specific roles. Each application is of a module and more like a specific workflow to achieve any given task. Rather than delivering an “expenses module” with many features, there are numerous task-based applications exposed based on their relevance to a user’s role and security. Fiori also gives you one entry point, even if traditionally a user’s responsibilities spanned multiple modules or programs.
A product like Fiori provides a toolkit that you can use to bring on user groups that were resistant to SAP products before. As an example, consider the most resistant staff you may have – CRM users. They may be resistant to CRM for many reasons, not least of which that it’s hard to learn. This is a key group that could benefit from Fiori-delivered CRM features because the users are often diverse with many different roles, and well-defined responsibilities. Often times, these users will also benefit from the mobile-first approach that Fiori brings with it.
To be successful with leveraging Fiori to drive adoption, you’ll need to be very focused on the use case. Think about tasks, not modules. Align each Fiori app you deploy with a specific problem you are solving for the user. Be sure you know if the standard/out-of-box app is going to work seamlessly, or if you will need to enhance it.
SAP Fiori as a Mobile Tool
Though Fiori may be an excellent solution for enterprise-wide user experience, that’s not likely the reality for most. Most companies want to know how Fiori fits as a mobile solution.
In the mobile marketplace, we know that Fiori is best suitable for certain scenarios. Consider Fiori’s core strengths:
- You can derive value quickly with standard apps
- No native development skill sets are needed in-house to support it
- Responsive/Multi-device is a cornerstone
- No need to deal with app submission
- Built to support extending the platform with minimal effort
Overall, Fiori as a mobile solution checks out pretty well. It allows you to develop once for all devices, and extending the product doesn’t require the specialized consultants that other SAP products do. When we compare it against things like the SAP Mobile Platform, it offers superior UI capabilities because of its responsiveness, and equal out-of-box connectivity.
However, we also know that Fiori has some important shortcomings.
- There is no offline support; users must be connected
- Because of connectivity, there are heavy device data processing limitations
- Designed for task-oriented use cases, not as a comprehensive module
If these limitations are important to your mobile strategy, products like SMP and even native applications can fill the gaps. Using a hybrid footprint for your mobile solutions is a very viable strategy and allows you to play to each product’s strengths. However, it also creates some challenges that you’ll need to consider, and I’ll discuss that in my next post on how SAP Fiori fits into your technology footprint.
Looking for more information? Click here to watch the SAP Fiori video by Pete Lagana, or contact us directly.
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