SAP Fiori is a set of guidelines that specify how an SAP program should behave regarding user experience. It is a user experience concept and not a technology. It only changes the look and feel of a user interface.
What is the purpose of SAP Fiori?
SAP is well known for so many good things. It is a robust application that contains all the major business processes for an organization to run successfully. But SAPGUI (SAP’s user interface for its legacy applications like ECC) is also known for its unintuitive user experience that looks medieval compared to other latest software applications.
The other problem SAP has is the inconsistency of its user experience among the different software applications it offers.
Over the past few years, SAP acquired many software products such as SuccessFactors, Ariba, Concur, Fieldglass, Hybris and many more. They all have been created using different programming languages, and the user interface looks different.
SAP wanted to provide a consistent user experience for its customers among all their different types of software applications and hence created Fiori.
In a nutshell, SAP Fiori’s purpose is to create an intuitive, easy-to-use user interface for all SAP applications. It provides a consistent user experience across all SAP applications, thereby saving time by removing the need to navigate around in needlessly complex and unintuitive user interfaces.
What are the advantages of using Fiori?
Unified user experience – Fiori provides a common user interface framework across multiple SAP applications. This will reduce the training efforts, and the users can quickly grasp an application’s concept and working process from a user interface perspective.
Embedded analytics – With SAP S/4HANA, transactions and analytics exist together in a single platform enabling business users to conduct business and perform real-time analytics on live transactional data. SAP S/4HANA embedded analytics is a collection of analytics features and predefined and pre-packaged self-service data representations (i.e., virtual data models) to derive real-time, actionable insights from the data without worrying about the underlying data structure.
Better user experience – The older SAP GUI user interface was cumbersome to use. It was transaction based and was complex to perform many operations. Whereas Fiori is web-based and includes standard UI components like text boxes, check boxes, radio buttons, drop downs, etc., that users are familiar with. It is simple and easy to use, so users can finish their work quickly, improving productivity.
Is Fiori the primary user interface for S/4HANA?
While S/4HANA can be technically used with SAP GUI (SAP’s desktop client-based graphical user interface), for the customers to take full advantage of S/4HANA’s capabilities, they have to access it using FIORI (SAP’s user experience product). For example, functionalities such as robotic process automation and embedded analytics cannot be used using SAP GUI. FIORI apps are also available for the ECC system, but they are limited in numbers and functionality.
SAP Fiori consists of components that must be installed on the front-end server (NetWeaver gateway) and the backend system (ECC or S/4HANA). The SAP Fiori front-end server is an add-on product for SAP NetWeaver Application Server for ABAP (AS ABAP). It delivers the technology software components for the front end required to run SAP Fiori apps with the necessary stack definition. The front-end server and the back-end system will communicate with each other with the help of OData services.
The OData services are a must for using SAP Fiori apps since they fetch the business data from the back-end system for usage in the SAP Fiori apps. OData is a standardized protocol for establishing and consuming data APIs. OData is built upon fundamental protocols like HTTP and REST. OData is used by the SAP Fiori apps to display data from the back end and to update data back there.
From a technical perspective, SAP Fiori can be deployed in three different ways.
- Embedded model
- Standalone hub model
- SAP BTP model
In the embedded model, the Fiori front-end server is deployed into the AS ABAP of a back-end system. All the required components are deployed in the same back-end system. This model reduces the number of deployed systems, making them less complex to implement.
This is the best approach if you have only one S/4HANA or one ECC system and will not use Fiori for any other SAP on-premises system.
Standalone hub model:
A dedicated AS ABAP front-end server is deployed in a standalone system in front of the back-end system.
This method offers central enablement of OData access for multiple SAP application back-end systems.
You can use one central Fiori front-end system and connect to multiple back-end SAP on-premises systems, thus offering Fiori apps for all the SAP systems in your environment. Fiori Launchpad can be the single entry point for all these SAP systems.
This is the best approach if you have multiple SAP on-premises systems in your landscape and would like to implement Fiori for all of them.
SAP BTP model:
In this scenario, the SAP Fiori front-end server is deployed in the cloud as SAP Fiori Cloud, integrated with on-premises applications using the cloud connector. This option is possible for an on-premises system landscape with all SAP Fiori front-end server components deployed in the cloud on the SAP Business Technology Platform.
These three deployment options have pros and cons, and detailed analysis must occur before deciding on the best possible model for your SAP landscape.
This is a great place to learn about all the standard SAP Fiori apps you would like to implement. You can filter the apps based on the product, line of business, industry, etc. When you select the app you are interested in, it will provide the product features, implementation information and the prerequisites required to implement that particular app.
And in the Fiori apps reference library’s home page, an option to get Fiori apps recommendations based on your system usage is available.
To get the recommendations, download the usage statistics from ST03N transaction from your S/4HANA or ECC system and upload it to this tool. Then it will Analyse all the SAP transactions currently used in your ERP system, map those transactions to the standard Fiori apps available in the library and provide you with recommendations. This recommendation will save you time as you don’t have to analyze the apps available in the library manually.
How to learn Fiori:
There are free and paid options available through which you can learn Fiori.
The first one is OpenSAP courses. They are open-source free tutorials conducted by SAP on various SAP topics. I searched for Fiori, and I was able to find a few classes. It is free for anyone to register and consume the courses. Each course has a test at the end, and if you pass the test, you can receive a certificate.
There are multiple topic pages available on the SAP community website that are dedicated to Fiori. Here you will be able to find blogs, tutorials, webinars, and events that are related to Fiori. You will also be able to ask questions to the community and collaborate with other Fiori developers.
SAP Help Portal is a great place to learn about different types of SAP products. They contain a lot of information in an easy-to-read format.
They also consist of a few learning journeys related to Fiori administration, Fiori cloud and Fiori app development.
Some of the training and courses mentioned in this learning journey are paid and might require a subscription.
SAP Fiori is an integral part of SAP’s user interface strategy. It provides a consistent user experience across different types of SAP products. It also enables the possibility of advanced functionalities like embedded analytics for your ERP system. Fiori is the fundamental user experience for S/4HANA, and if you plan to work in that space, then it is worthwhile to learn how to implement the Fiori apps.
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