SAP has been a great solution for many industries for a number of decades now. Whilst the core of SAP has always been strong at integrating business processes, the User Interface / SAP GUI has often been criticised for its complex interface.
In 2013, SAP responded with Fiori as a better, more intuitive interface. Starting with a few Fiori apps, Fiori reached a good level of maturity when it bagged the prestigious Red Dot Design award in 2015.
In 2016, Fiori 2.0 consolidated the interface with a dynamic page layout, optimized page display and many more improvements. With further acquisitions such as Fieldglass, Ariba & Concur et al into the fold of SAP, the challenge of providing a uniform interface across the spectrum has increased.
SAP Fiori 3.0 is SAP’s new target design for all of its SAP products including support to the Intelligent Suite. This Blog article provides a glimpse of some of the features planned by SAP, although these may well change as the formal product releases happen over time. Hence one should look for formal product release notes and announcements by SAP before planning implementations or rollouts.
In the paragraph above, we saw the need and development of Fiori. The following Exhibit-1 summarises the evolution of Fiori in a nutshell:
The Key goals of SAP User Experience in Fiori 3.0 are three-fold, as articulated by SAP. They are as follows:
Let’s look at each one of them below, with the principles applied to achieve them, along with a few sample screens for demonstartion purposes.
Consistency is one of the very important aspects of a successful user interface with IT solutions. SAP has multiple products in its stable (some of which it has acquired), such as C/4HANA, S/4HANA, FieldGlass, SuccessFactors, Concur, Ariba, SAP Cloud Platform, SAP Analytics Cloud. These all had their own approaches towards what an appropriate UI should look like. These customers are now “SAP customers”, who need to have a consistent interface across all the solutions so that they can work in unison.
Harmonised design is an aspect of consistency. This means, uniformity in every visual object such as top band called “shell bar”, background colour, foreground colour, font size and content area. Having flexible structures to fit different contents is another aspect of consistency. This means the display area is clearly positioned in modularised blocks which accommodates different types of contents, for example lists, tables, charts, graphs. These blocks are stable and scalable according to the situation and context. Digital assistant SAP CoPilot is the third aspect of consistency, which connects contents and services from different solutions. SAP’s different product groups such as Ariba, Fieldglass and so on, jointly work together to arrive at the Fiori 3 designs. See Exhibit-2 below for a sample structure:
Fiori 3 screens will uniformly use the SAP Invented font “72 Font” for consistency across all products. SAP is also working on the typography. For example, should the Delete button be called “Delete” or “Remove” or something else. Similarly, whether “X” should be the symbol to indicate remove items or “trashcan” and so on. The Home Page design was different for different solutions and in the process of bringing uniformity, even this has been harmonized. Also, now to accommodate the possibility of data from different applications to be shown in home page, the modular blocks display them distinctly. SAP CoPilot, the conversational user interface is part of the top band called “shell bar”. A sample screen is shown the exhibit-3 below, comparing the existing Fiori 2 screens and the upcoming Fiori 3 screens:
In Fiori 3, Intelligence is provided in three different ways as follows:
- Users can personalize the Home Page with relevant intelligent information that need attention and action. This serves as a kind of cockpit to the user.
- Dynamically computed information in reports and analysis screens
- Proactive “Business Situation Handling”
Home Page: Time critical information can be pushed into one of those blocks on the home page -see Bubble marked “1” in the Exhibit-4 below. Cards containing snippets of information and insights can be shown in the home page. See Bubble marked “2” in the Exhibit-4 below. Notifications can be shown on desktops as well as devices such mobile/tablets. See bubble marked “3” in the Exhibit-4 below:
Dynamically Computed Info: Embedded Machine Learning can be made part of the reports and analytics. In the Exhibit-5 shown below, the Green/Orange/Red scores indicated against each Lead is a dynamically calculated number. The pop-up screen marked bubble “1” and “2” shows the explanation of the score calculation. This avoids time consuming cross-product navigation to find the reasons behind such scorings.
Business Situation Handling: This provides intelligence in the context of a business situation. Let’s look at the example in Exhibit-6 below. Based on a rule and/or machine learning, a condition situation is identified namely as “Expected Material Shortage”. It also provides the context, namely shortage quantity (30k pieces) and the cost ($104.3k US). It also proposes recommendations with a ranking by preference.
Fiori 3 Integrates multiple solutions into a single screen. This helps to see all related information in one single page to help make decisions and take actions quickly. Let’s see some examples from Work Force Management. In Exhibit – 7 below, an employee relevant sample Home Page is shown. One can observe the information from S/4HANA, Ariba, Concur and SuccessFactors are shown in a single page.
Similarly, in Exhibit – 8 below, the sample home page of a Manager shows information from Fieldglass, SuccessFactors, S/4HANA Cloud and so on.
SAP CoPilot , in a conversational way, pulls information from different sources and shows them in a single screen. Let’s see the Exhibit – 9 below, which shows a typical conversation of a user and how SAP CoPilot comes up with a response.
The above is only a small sample of what is being worked on by SAP but it provides you with some ideas of how a better user interface will be available in the form of Fiori 3. This is uniform across SAP’s portfolio of products. It is still work in progress and subject to change without notice but this provides us with a taste of what is to be expected. We shall need to wait for SAP’s official announcement before seeing the final product. I hope this excites everyone and creates more innovative solutions.