Mobile Apps are taking over business
With the advent of apps for smartphones, mobile usage took off. Apps also brought skyrocketing usage for business users with productivity functionalities like time-management, calendaring, note-taking et al.
Over time businesses realised that apps with the ability of upgrading functionality on the fly allowed not just productivity but also business process functionality – which was the holy grail of killer apps in getting laptop/desktop based business processes accessible over mobiles. Every company realised that if they had a dedicated app store for common business processes, their user delight & productivity would skyrocket. Thus the race began to create mobile-enabled real always-on, simple, and more intuitive business apps that provided 10X benefits over traditional business-hour computer access.
SAP came out with Fiori for mobile app development
Developing mobile apps called for new standards, and skill-sets. SAP came out with their mobile app creation standard – Fiori.
Fiori provided new user experience for SAP applications across the enterprise. It provided a personalised, responsive & simple experience that reflected the intuitive way humans work. On top it sought to have a simple design, allow business process innovation, and was built on an open tech framework. It broke the disaggregated software applications like CRM, SCM, HRMS into relevant tasks and activities – providing a seamless experience across devices & Operating Systems.
Users in the past had to go through a long process to do a transaction in the past with lots of navigation. Fiori makes this transaction happen in 2 clicks. For developers, it meant no separate coding requirement for the separate devices or operating systems or screen resolutions. Once you code using Fiori standards, the display adjusted to every device by themselves.
Implication for SAP Fiori Developers
SAP customers & partners adapted Fiori very fast.The biggest power of Fiori – separating user interface from business logic allowed developments in both arenas to happen simultaneously.
However, great power requires even greater responsibility and even greater skill-development. Mobile app screen size meant that what you left out was as important as what you keep in and how you visualise the flow. This created a challenge – of finding those rare coders with understanding of Fiori design + coding standards as well as traditional SAP architecture + ABAP coding knowledge. Cross-training was the only way out – but today with the wide-spread adoption of SAP Fiori, this challenge of mixing the yin and yang of design thinking with programmatic coding skills are still very difficult for IT Services players. Successful Fiori first-time implementations are gaining ground but not majority – and require extensive change management.
Enter SAP Fiori Factory Model
Many SAP Services partners have been working around cresting a SAP Fiori Factory model so as to provide a quick turn-around Fiori app creation process. They have faced multi-fold challenges in doing that:
- Design is a creative process. Factory production required deep knowledge. Marrying the two is difficult.
- Context: Fiori versions came out in waves. Most designers have a lesser understanding of the non-design elements of SAP as well as the incremental + innovative additions in the multiple wave released to create something
- Skillsets: As mentioned earlier – marrying ABAP + Design skills have been a tough task for most
Best Practices in building Fiori Factory Model – Learnings from PEOL:
Factory is made through automation of business processes. And automation comes through mastery. Slowing down first and learning allows you to master and speed-up later. That was our focus. The following things worked for us:
- Building a knowledge organisation is critical: Cross-skilling across SAP horizontal domains (CRM, SCM,…) as well as new & old technologies ( Fiori & ABAP) is the only way forward. You need to know two of OData, Fiori & back-end app and we ensured that our consultants had skills in atleast two of them.
- Be a part of product-development for your most important products: SAP Labs did their own research & experimental projects before they brought the final release. Working with them and being with them on every release – right from the first ’waves’ gave us the context as well as the picture of what to expect.
- Do the hard-work first: Knowing how the business process run in a non-Fiori environment and the Fiori process deep-dive simultaneously helps! Many SAP implementation partners took the easy route – they limited themselves to the UI – they didn’t know the business process at the backend.
Hope this gives you a sense of how you can build your own Fiori Factory. If you have any functional / technical queries around your Fiori efforts, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Author is Founder & CEO of Peol Technologies. He can be reached at email@example.com