UI5 the Right Way: Long-Term Strategy

December 8, 2016


When we think about past SAP Applications, we conjure up memories of older UIs such as Business HTML, BSPs and ABAP Web Dynpros. While they all had their 15 minutes of fame, it is clear now that SAP is committed to giving the UX of their products a major shot in the arm – not for the short term, but for good.

So it’s out with the old and in with the new. UI5 has been around for a few years, but it picked up major steam in the last couple of years after Fiori was announced as a free part of your SAP license agreement.  Thus was born “Freeori.” So the long-term strategy from SAP is that User Experience is actually really important, more so than ever before.

With the hire of Sam Yen to lead the way through the dark UI forests of the past into the new realm of users’ expectations, he has helped set a path for UI at SAP to lead, not follow.

So how should consumers, users, and technologists of UI5 ilk strategize when it comes to UI5? We take a look into the long-term strategy you should consider moving forward, and how UI5 fits in with your user experience arsenal.

Get Fiori Up and Running

If you are an SAP customer, you already own it. You just need to get it going. For those of you who have already stood it up, read on below. For those of  you who are waiting for the right time, the time is now. You will also have cloud options to get going quickly as an alternative to on-premise if you want to go in that direction.

Customize and Extend

Once you have Fiori up and running, don’t just be satisfied with the out of the box experience.  If you’ll notice, most of the Fiori applications are extremely simple.  They consist of a few screens with more white space than not.  The point is not what is here, but what is not.  The framework of Fiori and UI5 is a blank canvas.  Create. Customize.  Extend.  That is where the magic is.

Use UI5 for Non-SAP Solutions

Many customers we talk to are still looking at this UI5 trend as just that – a trend. But that’s what many people thought about TV. Or the internet. UI5 might not be on the same level, but it’s certainly here to stay whether you have SAP or not. We did a project for a large customer who owned a good amount of SAP licenses.

We stood Fiori up for them.

We customized their UI5 apps to be compelling and highly adoptable with no training.

But we went another step, another BIG step.  We made UI5 work with Appcellerator. We connected UI5 to a JD Edwards back-end system. And it all works offline.

You have alternatives and many technical cross roads. Just explore it. It’s possible.

Overall, your strategy should reflect your mindset. Use what you are given (Fiori out of the box), adjust it to your liking (customize and extend), and take bold steps outside of your SAP comfort zone (use it with non-SAP solutions). This will bring your long-term strategy full circle and open a ton of possibilities to you and your team.

I’ve had a lot of fun with this UI5 topic. Something I couldn’t say for the older UIs back when ABAP WebDynpro was the square peg.  This wraps up the final part of our 5 part vlog series all around UI5.  Please be on the lookout for more blog series coming soon. I’ve been doing a lot of work lately and will soon be comparing UI5 with Lightning… Stay tuned!

Until then, be sure to watch the video below to learn even more about long-term strategy and share your comments on our series in the comments.

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